Goodbye Google

Over the last 10 years I've been a big consumer of Google services. First it was Gmail, then Google Voice, Calendar, Currents, Latitude, Keep, etc.. I very quickly became invested in the Google ecosystem. However, I've always been sensitive about my privacy which made me a bit nervous about paying for these services with my private information, particularly my browsing/search habits. You won't find me on many social networking sites and when you do the details you find will be very vague.

So when Google started forcing Google+ on people I became even more dismayed. I tolerated it at first and then to use my favorite apps like Latitude registering for G+ was required to use and then reviews in Play required G+ membership. And then came the new tabs in Gmail, notably the "promotions" tab. Great, forced SPAM that I can't opt out of and still get the value of this new feature. So these events spelled the beginning of the end for Google in my life. Combined with my sacrificed privacy really started the search for alternate services.

House Pics - Before

I bought this house in April of 2014. It was a HUD home and in need of many repairs. Over the past months I have spent some time remodeling the home and shared those pics with many of you. (I'll also post those pictures in another gallery as I get time.) Even though I am nowhere near being done with the remodel I've noticed some pretty big changes for the better. So I thought I'd share with everyone what it looked like in the beginning.

Security Update

Well, it's been a dangerous world out on the interwebs lately; first heartbleed and now shellshock. According to my status dashboard, there have been over 113,000 spambot attempts that been blocked... about a dozen have gotten through my defenses, not bad odds at all. Combined with spam comments I've also had a jokester (I know who you are, I have your IP address) make some "funny" posts. Because of all these things, I've made some changes to the website.

My First Six Months

This past week marked my first six months at a new company and I took a few moments to think about my experiences so far. Most importantly, did I make the right decision to leave just about everything I knew behind, move all the way across the country to live in the alien culture that is the east coast?

Let's start off by looking at the situation I left behind. I worked for a small company that had no processes and had a strong-willed CEO that micromanaged just about everyone. At a management meeting he responded to a query about empowering employees to their jobs with, "I don't empower incompetence." I think that about says it all. He also told me on multiple occasions he had no idea what a product manager did... then proceeded to tell me how to do my job. I can say the company had a some great people and, of course, some bottom feeders. Unfortunately the company had quite the turn over of high performers (voluntary and involuntary) yet the bulk of the bottom feeders seemed to stick around for years.

Core Values

Tether Friendly Prepaid Mobile

Without a doubt I am a proponent of prepaid wireless service. Any way you do the math, it just doesn't make sense to get a free or discounted phone and then pay $100 plus a month for service. You can buy some very capable smartphones now for less than $400 (Nexus 5 and Moto X, for example) with no contract. The same phones are $100 or so with a two year contract. The average prepaid plan is about $45 vs. comparable contract $95 plan. It takes 6 months to recoup that extra $300 you spent on the full price phone. That leaves 18 months of cheap mobile service for a potential savings of $900 over two years. That's a lot of lattes.

Make Gentoo Easy to Install?

So this morning I came across the following post on Twitter...

Please note: These are my opinions and my opinions only. They are not representative of any distro, distro developer or maintainer.

Also note, I've never used Slackware or Arch. I used Gentoo as my daily driver for about two years and Sabayon (a Gentoo derivative) about two years prior to that. I currently use OpenSUSE exclusively for reasons I'll touch on later.

So this invokes several thoughts and emotions. So let's make one thing clear up front... Gentoo, Slackware, and Arch are *NOT* Ubuntu. I can't speak for the developers and maintainers of each of these projects but I'm pretty sure their target market is not those using (or looking at) Ubuntu or Mint. These distros have a completely different market and purpose. Let's walk through this for a second..

Thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy S4

I've been using the top selling Samsung Galaxy S4 as my daily driver for over two months now. I thought I'd take a few moments to share my thoughts on this phone.

For background, I upgraded from the Samsung Galaxy S. Yup, the original. I used the T-Mobile variant called the Samsung Vibrant. I unlocked and rooted this phone about two years ago and installed a custom ROM... only days after the warranty expired. Occasionally I had phone envy but this phone pretty much suited all my needs (except the GPS never really worked right) so I never bought a new one. The S4 was provided by my new employer at no cost to me.

So it's been awhile...

So the last time I wrote about anything was in 2010, shortly after my move back from Europe. Due to spam, moving hosting providers, having paying clients and a general lack of interest I shut down my person website in 2011. I always had the intent to get back and revive it but never did.

I recently moved from the west coast of the United States to the east coast. I have a new job with one of the world's largest software development companies. I truly love my new job. It's great to work for a company that trusts me to do my job, excites me about my job and have most people around me be excited. It's also nice to * NOT * sit outside the C-suite and hear profanity being screamed to whomever is in the office or on the other side of the phone. My new employer encourages employees to being "social media active". That includes tweet and blogging. So I though, "why not?". So now I am bringing back my personal website. I'm not much of a twit, although I do have my moments, so I probably won't be too active on Twitter. I do enjoy writing so I'll try to inform and entertain to the best of my ability. No promises, though.