Last I wrote, I was just about to start my first day at ProSites, my current employer. That was six months ago, and while I had every intention to do a post here and there to comment on my progress, it just hasn’t worked out that way. Instead, I’ll summarize events and provide a few thoughts.
Category Archives: Thoughts
After a little more than two years, yesterday was my last day with Edify. God truly orchestrated the strange series of events that led me there and I am so thankful for how I was able to play a part in the growth and development of that organization. Even in two years, the addition of staff, of countries operated in, and programs offered was great to watch. I can also honestly say that I was part of a family and that I have made some lifelong friends as a result.
Tomorrow, I start my new chapter with ProSites as their IT Director. Like any other new job, it will be certainly a whirlwind of new faces, names, practices, and projects. In getting to know my new boss and some of the upcoming plans, I’m excited to dive in.
So, if yesterday was my last day with Edify and tomorrow is my first day with ProSites, then I guess that means today, technically, I’m unemployed. It’s kind of a strange feeling. I wonder what I can watch on NetFlixâ€¦
Gryphon Software, a fun look back
This past week, I ended up digging through the attic and ran across a box of software from the olden days of my career. Continue reading
Remember your future self
At its most basic, productivity is all about getting as much done as possible in a given period of time. Improving your efficiency is certainly one way to accomplish that; completing aÂ task in less time does let you move on to the next. The problem with that strategy is that you sacrifice the future for the benefits in the present. Whenever I find myself considering a shortcut that I know will have consequences later, I try to think of how I’ll feel and see if it’s still the right thing to do. I refer to it as remembering my future self. Continue reading
The Blessing and Curse of the Zeigarnik Effect
In the early 20th century, the psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik studied what became known as the Zeigarnik effect after her professorÂ noticed that a waiter had better recollections of still unpaid orders than ones that were completed (Wikipedia). In these modern times where considerably more tasks abound, it’s often referred to as ‘open loops’ or ‘dangling threads’ and everyone can relate to one degree or another.
Whether by nature or by practice, I am personally quite susceptibleÂ to the Zeigarnik effect. As an avid GTD‘er I try very hard to capture the various open loops as they come up so I can circle back and address them through providing an update or otherwise following-up. That allows me to provide closure and move onto the next thing. Continue reading
A replacement for CrashPlan
Last month, I wrote how CrashPlan is discontinuing their home service and that I had to find a suitable alternative. Backup solutions aren’t the most thrilling kind of software and investigating and evaluatingÂ the different options can hardly be considered fun. The complicating fact is that I have an atypical arrangement, or I suppose you could call it a specific set of requirements. I have a server along with other computers at home and another server at my mother-in-law’s along with her computer. Since I’m a firm believer of the 3-2-1 backup rules, I wanted to make sure everything is suitably protected.
The Search Begins: A New Backup Solution
This past week, Code42 Software announced they are going to stop supporting their CrashPlan backup solution for personal or home use. That is unfortunate news since I’ve been a customer for over ten years and was quite satisfied and invested in their service. While they have every right to run their business as they choose (especially if the economics don’t work in the long term) the impact to a significant portion of their userbase is not one that will be easy for them to recover from.
My current subscription is only good for a few more months and I now must find an alternate solution that allows my data to be sufficiently protected in a way that is still practical and reasonably priced. So far, the two leading candidates are Arq by Haystack Software and Backblaze. Neither one is a direct replacement so the decision isn’t clear. There may also be other options that should be considered. It will likely come down to the tradeoffs that I’m willing to make. Do I not back up as many computers as I have? Do I no longer also utilize a local backup?
Another possibility is to engineer a bespoke solution by one method or another. That would probably cover my needs better, but would also likely require more upfront effort to implement and ongoing maintenance. Clearly, the classic “build vs. buy” decision isn’t just limited to the domain of business IT.
Peay It Forward
Ok, I admit that the title’s lame, but I thought it was fun. You’re here reading this so I suppose it’s not all badâ€¦
As one progresses through life and their career, knowledge and experience naturally accumulate. As you get exposed to new things and tackle the novel or unexpected, you generally amass a significant catalog of skills, insights, and, hopefully, wisdom. Over time, you consciously (and subconsciously) incorporate those numerous learnings into your day-to-day playbook to make yourself more efficient or effective. It happens almost automatically because nobody wants to spend more time or effort on something if they don’t have to. Continue reading
Not just a team, but a family
Not surprisingly, in working for Edify I’ve learned that life inÂ a non-profit requires being very thoughtful and judicious about how we use our resources and spend our money. Certainly, we could expand our manpower by hiring more staff or simply ‘throw money’ at every challenge that arises. That doesn’t work very well in the long run. In daily practice, the challenge is to find creative solutions or strategic trade-offs to keep our focus on our mission: To improve and expand sustainable Christ-centered education globally.
I’m happy to say that there is one thing, whichÂ comes at great expense, thatÂ is one of our wisest investments of our time and money: our annual team meeting. Each January, our (growing) team gathers to spend time together in fellowship, devotion, training, and sharing. In the past, the meetings have been in San Diego, but this year’s was our first in the field: Ghana.
When you think about all of the effort and expense that goes into flights, visas, lodging, food, and all the related logistics, it would be so easy to for our management to decide against it. Instead, the commitment to the time by our founders and senior management gets stronger each year.
I was fortunate enough to join Edify shortly before last year’s meeting so the one I’m just now returning from is my second. We now total 53 with over a quarter added in the past year alone. As I’m involved in getting each one set up and oriented, I have the benefit of being familiar with names and roles from the start. Hearing their voices on a weekly prayer call or other phone conferences only goes so far to really get to know people. Seeing them in person, sharing a meal, trading stories, is the only way to truly make a connection. That I did at every opportunity.
I can honestly say that my family has grown considerably since I joined Edify. It’s an honor and a pleasure to share my time and talents in service to them and our collective goals.
I have been blessed by the opportunity I’ve had. I cannot wait for us to be together again in 2018!
Old-Fashioned Drone Video
Back in my early Sony days when I worked at RedZone Interactive, a friend and I got into RC planes. Since the rest of the studio didn’t generally roll in until about 9:00 or 10:00, we had the opportunity to take our planes out in the lot behind the office in the mornings while the winds were quite gentle. It’s a fond memory.
About the same time, I saw online a wireless video camera that was about the size of a matchbook and immediately thought of attaching it to the plane to get a cool POV video while flying.Â I should note that this was 2004. GoPro didn’t exist yet let alone theÂ whole ‘sports camera’ category. Neither did drones that are so common nowadays.Â Am I a trend setter? Not really. I just thought it was a fun idea.
Not surprisingly, it was very jerry-rigged. The camera with built-in transmitter was mounted on a stick protruding from the side of the canopy attached to a 9v battery for power. The receiver was on the ground attached to a video camera recording the results. My friend had to spend the entire flight watching the small screen on the camera while constantly adjusting a tuning knob on the receiver to keep the signal usable. The results are pretty poor by today’s standards, but I think it turned out pretty good, all things considered:
Fun times. I still have the plane, though I haven’t used it in years. I just may have to pull it out and see if it still works. I probably won’t bother with the camera.