My PC-BSD Experience

I have been using a Linux System for the past 7 years. I’m not a guru by any stretch of the word but I can make my way around the CLI environment. Yes I prefer a GUI but CLI is necessary. I’ve been wanting to do a really geeky thing for me and that is to do a freebsd install. Problem is I know nothing about the “BSD” world. I know its based on the Unix system and its sorta like Linux but different. This will be the beginning of my BSD experience.

I have been a faithful follower of fedora for the last 5 years and 2 years before that was dual booting between Open Suse and Windows. My hatred for the proprietary system had me look for alternatives that were far better than the buggy, virus, spyware, malware infestation known as Windows. I was searching Linux alternatives and came across Open Suse 8 I think it was. I decided that I wanted to give it a real go. I was using a live environment.

Open Suse defaults with the KDE desktop and while it was ok at the time it was reminding me to much of Windows trying to do everything and have a program for everything. While that in itself was not bad I really wanted good cross platform apps that I could use in either environment. KOffice is a Linux only thing Like MS is a “Windows and Mac only thing” I then discoverd Gnome 2. A simple yet elegant desktop that was sufficent for my needs. I found programs like Open Office and VLC. I started learning the Linux way.

I was finding myself wanting to move from KDE and go completely gnome so I tried out Ubuntu and liked it well enough then I went back to something I had used only in a live version a few years before and that was Fedora. I liked it much better than Ubuntu and had decided that it was going to be my distro of choice. For the last at least 5 years it has been so. Fedora 15 introduced a few new concepts that I was not liking 1 was Gnome 3 I really didn’t care for it at first but I allowed it to grow on me and it didn’t bother me so much. Another thing they did was change from /media to now its /run/username/media/mountedmedia I mean really why? I also started just feeling like all the customizations that you could do at one time where being taken away and it started to feel like MS all over again. If I wanted a system to dictate to me I would get Apple or MS.

Fedora is continuing on the road that they are on and I’m thinking this is where I want to get off. I want true choices and the freedom to have it my way. My ultimate goal is to run freebsd however to get me there I plan on keeping up with PC-BSD.  I have already seen some small differences in the way they do things and one which is a small issue for me but something I can overlook for now is a monitor issue. In Fedora I can run 2 monitors and have them as an extention of each other. I can in BSD as well however my resolution for my larger yet better monitor has been scaled down to 1280×700 I’m used to getting 1920×1080. Not sure how to solve this yet I’ll be hitting the forums over there to find out if there is anything I can do. So for now they are just a mirror of each other which is not a great big deal as I only used the other monitor to store some widgets on and Pidgin on. I will live with the realestate change for now. The other small issue I am having is PC-BSD does not have read write support for ext4 file systems. And Linux does not have support for ZFS file systems. So I’m having to copy my home directory from the backup over the network that I have. At 400 gig its a slow process but a doable one.

I have a lot of reading to do for my new OS and a lot of questions to get answered. However I can say that I am so far liking it. I have went back to KDE for a desktop for now even though I can have as many destops managers as I want. I’m sure I’ll mix and match to get the best experience that I can. Yes I could have done the same with Linux to a degree but I want to be able to have it my way all the time 🙂

Stay tuned as I plan on doing my best to keep a journal going of my experience with this OS.

A Dedicated Android System Pt-1

Its been a while since I’ve done anything here. I’ve been busy with life and just being lazy as well. You can relax if you think I’m going to push a provocative thought on you as today I’m just going to really live up to my name and be a bit techy. If techy is not your thing then please feel free to move on. I’ll have something thought provoking for you soon.

This will be part one of a series of post for this subject. This is the overall view and I will be putting together the next view shortly (actually already started) The Basics of this Idea is simple. I want a computer dedicated to my android devices. I want to have an environment that I can use android tools such as adb. I want to be able to have a place to develop the toys I want with my android, such as graphics, notification sounds, ringtones, and alarms. I want a system that I can use dsixda’s kitchen for my “Mods” to ROMS. Knowing what I want leads me to be able to gather all the tools I need to make this a reality. So I need a machine that can handle this kind of work. Fortunately its not intensive enough not to run on an older system. With that in mind I can put together a “road map” of what I need.

Putting this system together has taught me a few things about what I need to do and how I need to plan. I wanted a dedicated system and I didn’t want to go out an buy anything. Which was good considering I already had everything I needed. An old desktop that was just lying around. I knew I was not going to need a power hungry machine for this project.

So lets discuss the minimum of what you need. You need at least a P3 processor I would think. Mine has a P4 single core. I have a Gig of memory in my box so I would recommend you have at least that amount. There is never to much memory 🙂 Here is a list of the minimal’s

a. A Video card (basic graphics is all you need)

b. USB Port for each device you wish to connect. (Phone, Tablet)

c. A DVD/CD player

d. A Router or other network connection

e. Monitor, Keyboard, and Mouse

f. A drive for each device plus one for the OS

g. A supportive OS (must have ADB)

h. System requirements for that OS

i. Ethernet Card

j. sound card -(Optional)

My thoughts for the particular setup is something that will run everything I need and want. I have another system for doing everyday emails and surfing and movie watching and the likes. I want my resources to be for my devices and bash scripts I have for them.

Now when ready to set up its always best practice to have everything together and maybe even mark the drives you want for the separate devices. Are separate drives necessary not really but its nice if you have some smaller drives you want to use up. I had a couple of 60gig drives that I use. One is for the Tablet which has a total amount of 20 gig storage. The other for my Phone which has a 32gig micro SDCARD. You can use one disk and just partition the drive however if your not familiar with partitioning then your better off looking for smaller drives. USB ports will be a necessity for this system. You could use a laptop for this system but really I recommend a old desktop that has plenty of USB ports. The one I have came with 6 and I added 4 more via PCI CARD. You want to have each device physically connect to the machine and not through a hub. Now I don’t need 10 USB ports but its nice to have them 😀 Now the hardware need not to be all new If you don’t have a system to do this project look around in yard sales, Pawn Shops, Circulation papers and find a cheap computer (Nothing over a hundred dollars IMHO)

Software that is needed besides an OS is really just ADB and a Sync program if you wish to sync (ADB can do this) A guide or some other form of literature if you don’t know ADB or if your like me just dive in and start using it then you’ll learn. ADB probably can be left out but really why leave out such a power source of software. Rsync (which is part of most Linux distributions) 7zip is recommended but you can very well use tarball (.tar), gzip, or bzip. I like 7zip as its a cross platform app and I can use another OS to unzip these if need be. If your adamant about using Windows, Microsoft does have a decent Copy program called Robocopy (Robust File Copy) you can use a lot like Rsync. I also want graphic programs like gimp and veiwnior. Gimp would be for the creation and modification of files why Veiwnior is more for just veiwing the files.

I have a third hard drive that I use as my /home directory. This gives me a place to store those things like my bash scripts, a media folder for syncing between the Tablet, Phone and Computer. This makes keeping duplicates down to a minimum. Still a duplicate finder like FSLint File Duplicate Finder (Linux)is a good tool to keep around. If your using windows then Auslogics Duplicate File Finder is decent as well. I prefer to go after free programs.

The actual setup isn’t anything complex or complicated and can be done under a few hours. The great thing here is you have what you want and none of what you don’t need. One of the reasons I choose Linux over Windows for this project was the fact I can get a minimal install and just use the stuff I need. I don’t need a lot of programs just a few so I want to make sure that I understand what I want. So the basic idea again is to have a machine dedicated for the android devices I own. So going with that I came up with a hardware and software list that I need. Communication with the devices internals has to be done with ADB so I know I need something that supports it. I also wanted program that can sync files, compress files, and show me duplicates. I wanted to be able to automate the process. I also needed to make sure I had the hardware to support all this stuff. Then there are the developing tools I need and want. Audacity for my sounds, Gimp for the artwork and the kitchen for ROM modification. Now you may have other needs or wants so hopefully this guide will get you started with the basics at least. I am not running anything newer than five years old. Even the drives I have are older. Still good drives but a bit older. I wasn’t looking for super fast but what I have is decent for the needs I have. Now for putting it together and making it work.

When I got all the hardware together which wasn’t hard It was just a matter of plopping them into the CPU. I had three physical internal hard drives and 1 external hard drive that I put with this system, 1 hard drive for the OS, 1 hard drive for the /home folder, 1 hard drive for the Tablet, and the external for the Phone. I had a layout in mind for all my partitioning duties. I wanted for the OS drive to have a boot section (grub) and a swap section. Plus whatever wasn’t being used for general use. I did find in my collection of parts a 4 HUB USB PCI Card. The system has 6 (2 up front and 4 in the back) I decided to add the other in case I need them for other drives/devices. The last thing I really wanted hardware wise was to have an Ethernet card. Having the system on my home network makes transferring files much easier, than having to use Flash drives or worse yet Optical

Having all the components put in the computer and having everything work only left the software side of things to do. Software is pretty straight forward but again you must think of your needs and your comfort level. As stated I prefer and recommend Linux. Why? well Android is built on Linux so its natively supported which saves you from having to install all kinds of drivers and stuff because its already in the Linux Kernel. Also Linux has better resource management than Windows. Now if you have a Mac then I would suggest getting a pc for this project. I need to make sure that the OS I want to install will support all the components and software that is needed. Most Linux distributions come with a “Live” disk that you can burn and run this creates a test environment that is dead as soon as you shutdown. However it lets you know if your going to have any issues or if something isn’t supported. Now with this system not only do I need tools to communicate with the devices and tools to copy and save, I also want the ability to use some diagnostic and recovery tools. Again free as in “free beer” being what I’m after I’ll use PhotoRec and Testdisk. Two powerful command line utilities (Donations to the Developer are appreciated and help in sure the longevity of the app).

There may be things that you think of later that you want or need so you want to make sure your System is expandable. Make sure you leave room on the OS hard drive for updates/upgrades and for those programs you find that you just cant live without. Now hardware wise I’m not going to have to do much until the programs just wont work anymore then by that time I should have another old system I can use. The best plan is really one that you can keep up with. I’ll be using Fedora for my OS and the reason is, is that it supports all I need. Now some may use Ubuntu, Linux Mint or even just sticking with the already familiar Windows. What ever OS you use make sure you know how to use it and make sure you have the apps you need for it. If it doesn’t support a must needed app then its not going to do you much good. You can fortunately do this in a Live environment from any computer. If your going to use Windows then you’ll either have to get ubcd4win or install in your normal system or another “test” system. I have some bash files that I just can’t seem to want to live without. These mostly are for backup purposes but are definitely not limited to this.

You can have a dedicated android system in no time with very little out of pocket expense. Its limits are only what you decide they are. Putting everything together and installing it only took me a few hours. Most do to the fact that I wanted to make sure my mount points were correctly identified and that my apps and all where working as expected.

Where is your heart?

Sorry its been a while since my last post. I’ve been busy with life and when I’m not I’ve been lazy and that laziness has prevented me from keeping up with this blog. That is the only thing I’ll apologize for with this post. The rest of this post is going to speak truth. That truth some may not be ready for. So proceed at your own risk. Today I have been struggling with Who and What I say I am. I announce that I believe in God and that I am a follower of God. I am vocal about being a “Christian”. I don’t care if someone accepts that fact about who I am or not.

Being a Christian, I am part of a Small Group that I love. I have not only been blessed with a wonderful family but a wonderful set of friends as well. When I see them at church my heart beats just a little bit stronger. They have given to me so much more than they will possibly ever know. But, is it all real to me? Am I being the man God want’s me to be? Or am I living a facade?

God has really pulled my heart strings today with some very basic thoughts that have made me question everything. I woke up this morning about usual time for me 3:30. I got on the computer went into the android forums and ended up helping someone out. Nothing unusual for me on a Sunday morning. During this time God placed a provocative thought in to my head. The though is based around the question Why do you go to Church? Before I went and laid back down around 6:00 I remember saying to myself that I go to learn how to be who I am supposed to be. When I got up an hour later to start getting ready for Church the question was still there. I had thought I had a good answer however God wanted me to really get it.

On the way to Church I thought about the question more and where I fit into the Church. I serve when I’m able / available to. I participate in Group, I smile at people and tell them good morning. Heck I’m already feeling better and loving the intelligence God has given to me. I get to church and God lets things rest a little however, the question is still burning. Then I get a message that really just drives the question from the brain straight to the heart. One part of the message that God had drove my heart inside out on was the fact that He is the Great I am and there is nothing else.

Don’t get me wrong I always have known that you do not place other gods before God, however it really just didn’t sit like it did today. What really made it sit was a better and clearer understanding of what sin is. Sin is separating God from your life. Sin is determining that something else is more important than God. Don’t know about your walk but mine just took a stumble of biblical proportions (pun intended). I love God and want him to be in my life and it doesn’t mean he takes a back burner to anything. I struggle to give my tithe but ask that he bless it and use it to enhance his kingdom. Learning to die to my wants to get this or pay on that is a life time commitment that must be renewed every pay day. Honoring him with my first fruits is a hard thing to consistently do. I then have to look at the church and how they have helped hinder my thinking. Not that the church set out to do so just in the focus of what they have had to do since people stopped going to church. The church needs to finance it’s independence and help support God’s Kingdom. God’s Kingdom doesn’t need money but the money is needed to reach those who are not given the same opportunity as many of us are given. The Church has pushed “ten percent” unfortunately many people associate the “10 percent” as what they are to contribute on every aspect of “Christianity”

We go on the perception that well because I went to church Sunday I have placed God in my life. Or because I gave some time to help with this ministry or that ministry, we have “added” God into our life’s. The problem here is many people will never get beyond this type of thinking. Most Churches will not think to encourage going beyond that kind of thinking because it has become a custom to which most Churches live.

Jesus came and changed perceptions. He challenged the thinking and the lifestyles of the leaders, followers, and everyday common people. The rich and the poor. He wanted us to really understand what it was to follow God. When we look at his life we see what it means. Most of us though, do not really understand what it means so we end up living a facade and thinking that its real. But God doesn’t want what we think, he wants us to think how he wants. You see,when we look at the life of Jesus and that of the remaining eleven apostles we then start to get a picture of what God wants. Jesus gave one hundred percent. Not ten, not fifty, not even ninety nine point nine percent but One Hundred Percent. That is what God wants from us. That is what he Expects. To follow God does not mean sitting in a chair or a pew it means giving up everything else for his greater good. When the first church started after Jesus they understood this fact and they gave all they had to God and he multiplied their numbers daily. What an awesome time that would have been to live in.

As I was coming home today I remember just reflecting on the thought that it means giving God 100 percent of me. Where do I stand now? How does this information change my perspective? Most importantly is How will I use this information to align my heart with Gods heart. Do I continue to walk this out in my life or just give up? Me I decided to share the insight God has blessed me with. Can I give God 100 percent. I do not know. I know I want to and I know that I should and I need to but honestly I don’t know that I will leave this earth having given God One Hundred Percent. What I do know is that God loves me One Hundred Percent and has forgiven me not being able to give him the same. I know I want to have God incorporated into my life. I’m still struggling with inviting him into my finances. So my prayer is for me to learn how to give him what he is deserving of. Because God deserves 100% from us all not the measly little ten that we struggle to give. Thank you God for Loving me with 100% help me to love as you love. May God not be something you do but someone you love and praise.

How much more can we, will we take

Ever since I can remember we have been told what we need, what we have got to have, where we need to go, how we need to dress, what we need to read, what we need to watch, what we need to listen to. Really it’s been quite a lot of telling us what, how, and why we should live and look a certain way. These marketing groups have taken over every aspect of life we can imagine. Every where you go there is an advertisement for something. Rather it be on the radio with some guy screaming about a sale we should not miss as this one is really a once in a lifetime event. Or we have the beautiful women on TV telling us that they only date guys who drink this beer. Ok maybe not the so much “saying it” as implying it.

Women are left to feel like if they can have their hair look this marvelous then they can be sexy, seductive women who will have men falling all over them and its just not targeted to Women of adult age but to the teenage girls as well. If you use this makeup or this whitening toothpaste, then your life will be better. You can be everything you secretly desire to be if you conform and buy our product. Advertising is everywhere. It targets everyone. I see a commercial on the TV of a young kid riding in something or playing with something and guess what my kids want. Advertisers use every method possible to get us to buy their products or to purchase the things we will buy at their store. If you didn’t get it from us you paid to much.

False promises and in your face, hmm sounds like a Politician to me. Hmm I wonder if they both use the same writers. Anyway back on track. Our culture is being determined by what they can sale to us next. I mean everyone wants some kind of iPhone, iPad, iPod, or iWontHaveit kind of thing. We are living for the next smart phone that can automatically change to the touch we have. Or the next Game that is going to take us to all new levels where we are actually inside the game. Corporations searching for a way to keep us focused on those things that really don’t matter in life.

One of the greatest times of the years has become a cheap mockery of you must have this and you must buy that. Your child will love you more if you buy them or your wife will shine for ever with these diamond earrings. I love Christmas time as it is a time of giving and sharing and loving that has been cheapend and its not the only one. They have targeted all holidays. Including Memorial and Veterans day. Days that we shouldn’t be thinking of a cheap sale. But day’s that we should be honoring those who gave us the freedom to have a cheap sale. Men and Women who were not worried about what the latest trend was or is. Only worried about surviving, all to defend the idea of Freedom. But how free are we? Everything cost. I don’t go a day with out spending some kind of money for something. Whether its just the lights I turn on to see or its the water I get from the faucet. We are slaves to a society that has made money the most important attribute in life. And advertisers eat it up. Corporations are selling us out and were buying right into it. How many people realize what a trillion dollar debt looks like. Most of us can barely handle a few thousand dollars of debt. These Corporations don’t care if we use money we don’t have just as long as they get what they are after. The tighter your budget the more they advertise.

And why is this? because we have allowed it. Magazines, Radio, Television, Cars, City Buses, Billboards, Phones, Computers, Internet, Newspapers, and our ignorance had led us to this point. Stores start advertising the next big holiday and we haven’t even gotten through the one yet. We have been taught and are teaching our children that holidays are nothing more than an opportunity for us to go into bigger and deeper debt. We do this in the name of “I want my kids to have more than I did” Why? I mean really I am very thankful for what I have. My kids on the other hand have grown to expect it and its just not my kids I hear the stories all the time from other parents. Mom we need to buy me this. Like how they add themselves to that as if they are working for the money they expect us to spend on them because some advertiser has convinced them they need this new iGaget thingy that all the other kids have.

We have created a monster that is so ugly that we are not paying attention to what its really doing. We have closed our eyes and held out our hands. We have become a nation of luxury. We quit caring somewhere. We bought into a lie and we are paying dearly for it. We no longer are Free instead we are slaves to what we think we should have or even deserve because we listened to the lie so much that now for us its truth. And what I’m seeing for the next few generations is a road so destructive that there will be no way for them to survive it.

We need to start a work that will not benefit us but will allow our children to truly have what we don’t have and that’s a real Freedom. A Freedom that was paid for in blood. Our Solders should not return home to their children saying look at this gadget or this new really cool phone, but to their children and their Nation saying we love you and missed you oh so much.

For those of you whom have served rather alive or dead I want to say Thank you for your service for my freedom. May the rest of us spend as much time keeping it and fighting those who threaten to take it away here at home as you did over there away from home.

How you liking it so far?

Well it’s a bit over two weeks in the New Year. How are you doing on your Resolution? Is the year turning out how you expected? What plans do you hope fruition?

 

Seems like every year I ask myself these questions. Well almost I don’t have resolutions. I just simply don’t believe in them. Why wait to do something I need to do now? I do have hopes and plans for the year as I am assuming all of you do as well.

 

So how is it going thus far? Can you say that you are as excited about the “new” as you were two weeks ago? Or has the excitement started to dissipate. I can say for me I never really got that excited to begin with. However that is not a negative thing. I believe I have maintained if not even excelled some of the excitement I came into the New year with. Why? Well its simple I put my expectations into reasonable, graspable things. First I just want to be able to help people in the ways that I can. And I have done that. Second I want to grow even further in my relationship with God. I feel this is a never ending task so as long as I am pursuing I am successful. And after all what is Success? I’ve heard it defined as “Outlasting your Critics” I’ve also heard it as “Being able to see what you have achieved” however I feel those are wrong I believe success is defined by the levels where content meets comfort. This means that if I am content and comfortable with the state I am in then I am successful.

 

I have also sat down this year and started thinking of some personal goals I would like to achieve not resolutions but goals that I can strive for to better myself and my family and hopefully those around me. I have a few ideas that I am wanting to run with. One is to keep this page going. I really want to share my knowledge, Wisdom, and maybe my soul a little.

 

Remember Life is what we make it. If we want to have a good life then that is a choice we will have to make. Keep in mind that until you have reached content and comfort you have not reached success. Enjoy what life gives you and keep in touch I’m sure it’s going to be an interesting year.

A Magical Time of the year!

So what makes this time of the year so “Magical”? Its Christmas eve and I’m more tired than magical. My Wife works in retail and she isn’t feeling so magical either. People are being rude and wondering why the store does not have this item or that item any longer. They have gotten mad at my wife because she can’t just run into the back and pull out one that doesn’t exist. They leave the store throwing insults out like a ninja throws razor sharp stars.

Leaving the store the other day and I had pulled out into the “Suicide Lane” and was trying to get over. There was a SUV coming and there was nothing in the far Right lane however instead of pulling over into the lane so I could pull out. This lady just kept chatting on her phone. I saw this as she passed me. I thought to myself,We can’t be courteous to each other if we are too busy in our own worlds. After all isn’t that supposed to be a part of Christmas. That we stop our busy lives long enough to think about others? That would be magical

People seem to care less for others than we did just a few years ago. I remember when I was growing up it seemed like to me people were more willing to take time to help each other. Maybe it was just my perception but then again I guess we were not as worried about someone cutting our throat for a few dollars. I can remember helping people put the items in their car’s. Taking just a few moments to help out.

We used to say thank you and God Bless when someone did take out the time to help us. Now we still say thank you but its geared more toward not hurting me and taking my stuff. We are just more worried about others motives than their acts. Easy to understand people just don’t seem to do things out of the kindness of their hearts anymore. There is this over lingering expectation that now that I have done for you, you owe me.

I don’t know about you but really that is not what I want my children to be like. I want then to want to help others. I don’t want them just worrying about themselves. I spent to many years doing that and was very empty inside because of it. That’s the real tragedy. Today we are just empty. We don’t feel connected anymore. It’s what our children see and they think that’s how they are supposed to be.

So what’s makes this time of the year so Magical? It’s us changing our attitude towards others. Its us teaching our children how to put others first. It’s us living in peace with good will toward all man. Now its up to us to make that happen. Will you?

Tis The Season

I received a phone call the other day from the School. It was one of those announcement calls that they send out when they are going on break or some other kind of information they think you should be aware of. One of the Last things said was have a Good winter Holiday. I thought there for a moment, Winter Holiday, its not Winter Holiday its Christmas. Of course I had to think about why the change. When I was growing up and going to school, we said Merry Christmas to everyone. I remember running down the streets and people wishing a Merry Christmas to each other. Not one person I ever remember hollered out “Happy Winter Break” in fact had they I would have stopped dead in my tracks and wondered how this alien made it to earth without someone knowing about it.

The thought of Winter holiday would not rest in me. I am a Christian American Male. I was born and raised in this country. This country that used to believe in one Nation under God. We used to Say Christmas and not worry if we had just offended someone. We were not really all that “Politically Correct” back then nor did we worry about such nonsense. We were a Proud Nation. However somewhere along the way that all has been lost. In fact we have even lost Christmas.

We started not wanting to hurt others feelings so we started to become “Politically Correct”. No longer was an “Airline Stewardess” a Stewardess, she was now a “Flight Attendant” I personally have never seen the difference. It became a way of life. We tip toed around everyone making sure as not to “Offend” them. We were told that prayer in school is not allowed anymore. Now we should instead observe a “Quiet” time. No longer in the Country where we are “One Nation under God” can we even practice our right to Freedom of Religion and pray to our God at school. We as a nation have been so worried about others feelings and beliefs that we have trampled all over the Christians feelings. Not worrying if we Secluded those who are professed Christians. As long as we don’t hurt anyone elses feelings.

Earlier I had stated that we were a Proud Country. Proud of our heritage. Proud to be know as Christians. Proud to Celebrate Christ. The Core of Christmas is in fact the spirit of Giving that Christ has. I am not talking about some kind of cheap over priced gift that has seem to become more meaningful than the actual holiday. I’m talking about Love. Giving to those who have nothing, while not wanting or expecting anything in return. Feeding the hungry, giving clothes, money, and most importantly hope. Hope that things will get better. Faith that our fellow man won’t leave us to fade like a snowflake under a flame. It was about helping each other. It was about making sure no one went without. It was not about making sure we had the latest hi tech toy. Or that our children have the top of the line clothes. It is supposed to be about Giving as Christ Gave to us. Unconditionally, and Freely.

We today have corrupted our selves and our children. We have gotten so far away from the true meaning and now have entered what I would call the Merchants illusion. We have allowed media and retail stores to tell us what we are supposed to be doing. How we are supposed to make sure we get the latest and greatest at such an unbelievable price. We now have created a new low in humanity and we call it Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving. A time when the Merchants take their overly priced items, that we have allowed the media to convince us we need, and mark it down to what it should actually be selling for so that a few “Lucky” people will get the chance to get the limited amount they have it stock. People have begun fighting, shooting, and even Pepper Spraying to get these “Rare Valuable Commodities”.

What are we doing? I would ask, have we lost our minds? But the answer is to obvious. We are teaching our children that its more important that “I” get rather than “I” give. We have allowed these tycoons to take away that what was once sacred and pure. We have allowed them to change us from a people of giving to savages. We have turned our backs to the real reason we celebrate to begin with. To give freely as God has given to us. To let those less fortunate know that they matter. To include everyone.

Its time we stop this madness and get back to the root of what life is supposed to be about. Not a “Season”. We are supposed to be celebrating Christmas all year. We should always be eager to help someone who is less fortunate. We should be giving our time and efforts to make sure those around us are being taken care of. We need to give back instead of hording for ourselves. We need to teach our children how to do the same. Because whether you believe in God, Allah, or the Fatted Calf, we need to be making sure we are moving in a direction that will allow our children to grow with a sense of security. Knowing that a sacrifice is so worth the massive return that is obtained from such a selfless act.

So this Christmas as you watch your children destroy the paper that covers that “Oh so eloquent” gift. Think about taking some time afterwords to teach them what Christmas is really about. And how about next year you decide to make sure that someone who doesn’t have receives. Allow your children to understand what real Joy is. Happiness only last a few moments but Joy will last a life time. Its time we quit robbing our children and time to start really giving to them.

May God bless you and yours this Christmas and New Year. May we as a community learn to bring back the Joy of Christmas for all. And may it last through out the year and not be limited to a Season. After all this is the most wonderful time of the year.

ReOrgaNizing

Recently an event happened in my family that changed the dynamics of it. My Oldest Daughter moved out to go and live with her boyfriend. Obviously things had to change at home. One of the changes was the chores. No longer did we have four people to do the chores now its only 3. Dinner Proportions don’t need to be as much as we had. Children arguing with each other has halted. Now Mom and Dad automatically know who did it. A extra room in the house that must be filled with something. Furniture rearranged to accommodate the bedroom that had to be filled which is now an office.

Of course before we could make it an office we had to strip wallpaper (remnants from the owners before) Plug holes in the walls, Sand, Paint, and cleaning all had to be done. Then you have to figure out the layout of the room. Where desk will sit, printers, file cabinets, and etc. Shutting down of home networks to move servers and computers into their new home. Rerunning network cables to connect computers back to the network / internet. Then adjusting to the new order of the house.

All of this is done to fill the void that was once occupied. While the office will create more room, especially in a congested bedroom, The void is still very noticeable. We look forward to our children growing up and moving out on their own creating their own family’s when they are at home living with us. Then something profoundly devastating happens. They do it. Not only are the family dynamics changed so is your life changed.

You hope that you taught them all the things they will need. Of course you hope that they actually listened. You pray that they will be ok. And you hope and pray and hope more that they do not make the same mistakes as you made while at the same time not to make worse ones either. Hoping they will keep in touch either by calling or texting. That you will be able to see them on holidays. Trying your best not to “interfere” in their lives.

Christmas is just around the corner. Kids got out of school for a 3 week vacation. Our oldest will celebrate Christmas with us this Tuesday. Christmas is Sunday. And While I look forward to the youngest one ripping open her gifts and I look forward to going to church on Christmas day. I know its not going to be the same and because of that I loath the idea of it coming. Not the idea of Christmas just the idea that it will not be the same. The void will be there unmistakable, and undeniable. Now we must learn to accept the changes that have been layed upon us. To fill the void by reorganizing our lives. To accept the things we cannot control.

A new way of learning

Today when we need information all we have to do is find the forum. Forums have become the new support system for many products. Companies benefit from the customers that are willing to help others.  Let’s not forget the friendships that are formed from the forums.

I am a member of a few forums. Most of them are dealing with some sort of technology. I have accounts with Fedora for the laptop, Android Forums for my HTC EVO.  This one I practically live at. So when we need information we find a forum. Why you may ask ,and the answer to that is simple. We get answers quicker and generally more accurate than from the Company’s own support team.

Ofcourse companies benefit by having “free”technical service by allowing users to help users. This should help save the company thousands. Most of the time you can get your questions answered in a quicker response time than going through all the company channels.

When you help someone or guide them to the people that they should be talking to they seem to very appreciative and generally remember you when they come back. I personally have built up some friendships that I hope to continue through out the remainder of our lives.

So next time some gadget gets you in a bind remember to check for a forum.