I made a quick comment about this on Facebook the other day, but I wanted to formally announce that my time writing for BabyCenter is over.
Normally this time on a Sunday morning, I am searching news feeds for ideas for my (mostly) weekly article about parenting and raising a child, but the pressure is off. After (exactly) four years, I will no longer be writing for BabyCenter.
I have been running out of steam for the last few months… feeling like I have been repeating myself and covering the same general topics. My (excellent) BabyCenter editors are also looking to go into a specific direction and so we came to a very natural parting of the ways.
The editors (past and present) and writers on BabyCenter were kind, encouraging, and pretty darn wonderful. This experience was a much needed change from some of the previous blogging experiences I had at other sites.
From a writing perspective, I learned restraint. I couldn’t rely on my natural tone and had to change my style to match the audience. At times I found that frustrating, but overall, I am very proud that I didn’t follow my more base instincts.
Besides writing, I learned a great deal about operating a blog, getting better awareness for posts, and more than I ever wanted to know about usage rights for pictures (you can’t put the genie back into the bottle).
My main online project The Source has been growing in popularity this year and this newfound “extra time” on Sunday mornings will be spent improving that project as well as creating content for this blog right here (which I have been neglecting).
Thank you for reading and supporting my articles at BabyCenter, I never imagined I would be writing there for four years. Special thanks to Amy H, Amy G, Betsy, and Dina for the feedback and support you provided over the years.
It has been an interesting few months globally and here in America.
The aftermath of the election of Donald Trump as POTUS has resulted in extremely mixed emotional reactions. Recently, there has been news of these reactions taking place in an unexpected setting… white collar offices.
The trend seems to have started with IBM.
In November, after the election, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty wrote a public letter to Trump congratulating him on his victory, providing a few compliments, and offering IBM’s assistance to “make America great again.”
As a result of this letter, an IBM employee, Elizabeth Wood, made national headlines by quitting the company. Some called the move brave, others have questioned her sanity… I call it wisely calculated:
Wood acknowledged that she had experienced frustrations of working in a company as large as IBM but said she had not been planning to leave the tech giant before seeing Rometty’s letter. A writer and “content strategist,” Wood also said she was aware her move had the potential to raise her profile; she has pinned the letter she wrote to the top of her LinkedIn profile and her Twitter feed.
Wood was already frustrated working within IBM and this letter brought considerable attention her way.
Putting aside personal politics, Rometty made the right move by sending the letter. The US government is a major IBM customer. Losing that business would place even more IBM employee’s jobs at risk. The letter also resulted in Ginni participating in early business transition meetings (the only technology CEO in the group initially).
As the weeks have passed, more technology employees are having similar reactions as their leaders engage the Trump administration. An Oracle cloud manager resigned after co-CEO Safra Catz joined Trump’s transition team.
Most of the technology workers criticizing their leaders are concerned with Trump’s social politics towards Muslims, Latinos, women’s rights, and homosexuals. The fact that so many people feel their civil rights are at risk is a massive alarm that needs attention and discussion. But business leaders can’t hide from this administration, they have to engage and steer this ship in the right directions.
“Personally, I’ve never found being on the sideline a successful place to be,” writes Cook. “The way that you influence these issues is to be in the arena. So whether it’s in this country, or the European Union, or in China or South America, we engage. And we engage when we agree and we engage when we disagree. I think it’s very important to do that because you don’t change things by just yelling. You change things by showing everyone why your way is the best. In many ways, it’s a debate of ideas.”
Donald Trump isn’t going to go away. He might not be the person we wanted, but he is the guy we got. The only way left-leaning people are going to keep their social concerns alive is to remain engaged and you can’t do that by quitting or freaking out over a letter.
If you have a need to show your kids these classic games, you don’t have to wait until retailers get them back in stock. With a little bit of time and elbow grease, you can build your own mini game system that does much more than the limited mini (even though that thing has great hardware).
Download the Win32DiskImager program so you can install the software on the SD Card
I built a few of these devices over the last few months, and it has become so much easier to get them set up in the most recent 4.1 version. I should also warn you – you will need a USB keyboard to help with the first configuration.
You might be asking, where do I get the games? If you search the term “Nintendo Roms” you will find places to get them. Emulator ethics states that you should own the games in their original format before downloading a copy.
I cut the cord this week and said goodbye to Comcast television and phone.
I am going to tell you how I did it and the services I am using to replace what I eliminated. But first I am going to tell you why…
People like to scream about how terrible Comcast is as a company and from a customer service perspective, but I can honestly say whenever I had a problem in the 8 years they have been in the house, they fixed it pretty quickly.
So if the service wasn’t bad, why did I cancel a bunch of stuff? I was paying $222.21 per month.
I do not live in an area where I can get another internet provider. I would be stuck with DSL, which is just unacceptable speed. I can get dish TV or something like that, but Verizon Fios isn’t an option in my area.
I had TV/internet/phone with 3 cable boxes, a cable modem ($40 in equipment rental fees), and I subscribed to the DVR service after a promotion that “saved me money”. I started with a triple play package at $99 per month and over the years it inflated to well over $200.
I called Comcast two weeks ago to negotiate and reduce my bill. They took $20 off (which was not a victory in my book), but later in the day, I found out they cut service to one of the televisions in the house. When I got it fixed, the bill went back to the starting price.
I don’t really watch much television. I would rather be reading, writing, and making stuff. My son is an avid user of Netflix and Hulu. My wife was the biggest issue as she is a content grazer and channel flipper. I walked her through my plan and she eventually got on board.
The biggest selling point: I went from $222.21 to $87(ish) per month (not including the streaming services).
Products I am using:
I decided that one clear method to save is to stop renting equipment from Comcast, including the modem. For my home and the setup that I prefer, I needed a modem, a router, and a streaming device for every television. I was thinking about buying a Ooma for phone, but my friend tipped me off to another device that I will get to later.
Router: ASUS RT-AC66U ($132) – I already have one of these routers in my home, I installed a 2nd router a while ago to ensure I have great coverage throughout the house. I thought about getting Google’s On Hub, but it was more expensive and I would have to get a small switch to network all of my back office devices together. Important to note that both the router and modem support gigabit networking.
Streaming Device: Roku 4 ($133) – If you have a preference go with it. I selected the Roku 4 because it supports 4K streaming and is provider agnostic (works with Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, Google). I also like that it has an optical out to support older audio equipment that might only have HDMI pass-through.
Streaming Device: Amazon Fire TV ($85) – I could have purchased 3 Roku 4s, but I wanted to try out this device and it was on sale.
Phone Service: ObiHai 200 ($48) – My buddy Gorcka suggested this device after I expressed an interest in an Ooma. The cool thing with the ObiHai is that is connects to Google Voice/Hangouts. So instead of having to give out a new number, my house phones will ring with my Goolge number. There is a drawback to this service, you cannot dial emergency numbers. But it nice alternative to nothing and I am not even paying the $4-5 per month in taxes that you would with Ooma.
As you can see in my chart above, I was already paying for Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu. Since it is April and Game of Thrones is coming back, I didn’t want to be without HBO, so I signed up for their HBO Now service for an additional $15 per month.
A service that surprised me was Sling TV. I thought it was a part of Sling Box, which lets you stream your existing TV service via equipment… Sling TV is not the same product. This is a service from Direct TV that gives you live streaming cable channels like CNN, AMC (Walking Dead) Food TV, HGTV, and Cartoon Network (20 in all).
I always joked that I would miss HGTV the most if I canceled and now I don’t have to. The service isn’t perfect, you can only watch on 1 television at a time and there is no recording service. I haven’t completely made up my mind about keeping Sling TV or HBO Now but it is nice to know I have the option.
The thing I want people to understand is that it costs money to get off of cable. It is a huge savings for me because I subscribed to many of the streaming services BEFORE I cancelled. That made it easier for me to make the decision (because I knew how much we were watching on normal vs. streaming).
I laid out $628 in equipment for me to feel comfortable getting off of Comcast. It is going to take 6 months for me to break even. With that said, I feel very good about my decision and it was fun setting everything up.
So far so good… I will write an update in 6 months.
It is clear is that the city of Philadelphia wanted to ensure the Pope’s safety. This is admirable. But the end result is that major roads are closed. Bridges are closed. Business are closed.
The people who live in the city have fled.
There is a reason Philadelphia was selected for this visit. I don’t know what the exact reason is, but it is safe to assume it was because the city was evaluated in a positive light. The people who work and live in Philadelphia define its character. They are the people leaving.
What is left is not a reflection of the city. Yes the buildings and the restaurants are open (I think), but what makes Philadelphia not New York and not Washington DC – they are elsewhere this weekend.
This isn’t a slam on the Pope (as far as Popes go, he seems like an alright guy). This isn’t a slam on the thousands of Catholics converging on the city. This isn’t even a slam on the officials who planned it.
This whole thing played out the way it should have (for logistical and security reasons), but it is a shame that the people who live in the area couldn’t actually appreciate what was happening.
After getting called out by almost every presidential candidate and elected Republican (except Ted Cruz, who is clearly looking to court Trump’s supporters when he inevitably drops out), Trump proceeded to publicly disclose Sen. Lindsey Graham’s private cell phone.
Between his controversial statements about Hispanics, his treatment of other politicians (on his own side), and exhibiting behavior not fitting the POTUS – this guy is clearly not trying to win an election.
I have no idea what his end game is. Winning the Republican nomination, let alone a national election, is not his objective. The Ann Coulter method is not going to get a person in the White House (or even an invitation to visit).
He is going to make more money out of this situation, that I have no doubt.
People who don’t know me personally are probably not going to care about this one – looking for some feedback on sound quality.
My podcasting goals took a leap forward over the weekend. I was annoyed at myself for not producing anything and concluded that I needed to find a means of getting guests to participate remotely (because nobody wants to do it live at my house).
Long story short: I figured out a way to record guest via the phone or Skype/Google Hangouts (with decent quality).
I am not going for goofy content this time around. There is a very specific goal in mind and I am lining up real guests now. More to come.
Here is an equipment test. Forget what I am saying, just let me know if it is too loud or not loud enough. Also let me know if Allison’s call is clear enough that you would actually listen to this call quality in your car.
Ellen Pao resigned from reddit today by mutual agreement. I’m delighted to announce that Steve Huffman, founder and the original reddit CEO, is returning as CEO.
We are thankful for Ellen’s many contributions to reddit and the technology industry generally. She brought focus to chaos, recruited a world-class team of executives, and drove growth. She brought a face to reddit that changed perceptions, and is a pioneer for women in the tech industry. She will remain as an advisor to the board through the end of 2015. I look forward to seeing the great things she does beyond that.
Pao’s resignation comes after last week’s massive user and moderator revolt. Moderators locked down reddit threads due to the termination of employee Victoria Taylor.
Taylor was a moderator and coordinator of Reddit’s popular “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) sub. The poorly communicated (and still unexplained termination) was seen as the final straw for some users who have been displeased with the direction of the site for several months.
With Pao’s resignation, Reddit hopes to get the community back on track by announcing one of Reddit’s founding-fathers Steve Huffman as new CEO.
As a daily reader (lurker) of reddit, I was on the site as the lock out went down. As the situation unfolded, it became clear that the company is incapable of managing the community or leveraging their own (well developed) communication channel.
I spent the next 24 hours thinking about my browsing habits and how I have become very attached to Reddit. I decided to dust off my RSS reader and update the news sources. I don’t plan on abandoning Reddit, but I feel that it is important to nurture other viable news and information sources and never (again) rely on once source too heavily.