Month: August 2015

Vancouver Real Estate Roller Coaster

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Just so you know, like Ecclesiastes and the Byrds said, for everything there is a season and a time.  There is a time to live and a time to die.  A time to sow and a time to reap.  A time to buy an investment and a time to sell it.

And, based on a tear-down 60 year old house in Vancouver selling today for somewhere around 1.2 million dollars, my spidey senses tell me that it may very well be a good time to sell!

Buyers, although I’m sure your realtor will love to grab a buyer’s commission from you it might make sense to wait a month or so.

Another analogy I heard which is great is that this is like a game of musical chairs.  If you were planning on selling soon anyway, heck.  Sell now.

For older people, you may never see a peak like this again.

Until then, everyone strap in and enjoy the roller coaster ride.  Remember, like the famous bumper sticker says ‘cycles happen’.

 

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How to Rotate Permanently All Pages in PDF Using Ubuntu

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If you are too busy to read all my blog articles (say it ain’t so, mama) then you may have missed this nugget of helpfulness.  How often does the realtor or lawyer or such fabulous professional need to slap a confidential stamp on a doc?

However, today I was sent a confidential document that was lying on its side when I opened it.  After about 10 minutes and a screwed up neck I decided that I would not put my potential client through such pain and suffering and would find a way right this wrong.

And I did, praise God.

All you need to do is get setup with the same software PDF Chain (special shout out of thanks to the crew who made it, again) mentioned in the article above.  This time however, the steps are a little different.  Follow along.  It’s pretty easy and works real nice.  Also, if you plan on also stamping a confidential stamp on there, you will have to perform this step *first* anyways or it makes stamping it brutally hard with the wrong orientation.

 

  1. click ‘burst’
  2. click ‘source file’ and go and find your multi-page document that needs adjust ment

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3. Click ‘save as’ and find a place where you wish to save all these individual pages.  I suggest you create a folder for this moment since if you have a lot of pages they are going to end up getting split into individual files as the following shows:

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4. Go back to PDF chain and now we are going to reassemble them as one file and rotate them at the same time by clicking ‘concatenate’.  Don’t worry.  Until I found PDF Chain I also had no idea what that word meant.  Looks like a Spanish festival or something..  but I digress.  What you need to do now is add all those files you just created with the + plus sign button as the following shows:

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5. Now you will note the ‘rotation’ column.  If you click it will give you 90, 180, or 270 degrees.  go through and change each one to whatever you want.  Honestly, I think there might be a bug here because the one I expected to work didn’t and the only one that didn’t make sense made it work… but I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed so maybe it will make sense to you.  Just be prepared to try a different orientation if it doesn’t work right the first time in the output file.

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6. Choose ‘save as’, choose your location where you want the single file to be saved, give it a name and then choose ‘save’.

That’s it.  Now you should have your original file in the orientation you like.

Now, if you would like to go and add ‘confidential’ or other stamps or watermarks to it, go ahead and dive into my original post on the topic and that should work like a dream.  It does for me.

Thanks for showing up.  Here’s a yellow sunshine sticker for you.

ubuntu-pdfchain

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Seriously Moving Artwork for Our Generation

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It’s very rare that I’m moved by art, to be frank. I’m kind of pragmatic and busy.  But this link crossed my path and stopped me in my tracks.

Steve Cutts, whoever this guy is – is simply amazing.

Take a look at each piece of art.  Just let each one sink in and I’m convinced you might start to rethink the way you live a little bit.

Thanks, Steve! Your work is forever emblazoned on my brain walls…

 

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What is an Entrepreneur and Can We Turn it Off?

what is entrepreneur

What exactly is an entrepreneur and is it possible to turn the switch off?  I’ll answer the second question first: No.  You can’t.  You might drop the ball for a long time but you’ll die unsatisfied if you forever stop action towards building something.  Now that we got that out of the way, what is an entrepreneur?

My friend sent me this article today and I had to chuckle a bit.  It seemed in many ways to paint a perfect picture of me, but a few points jumped out where I stood strongly against them.  I’ll only highlight the points that I have comments on or disagree with:

4. You marvel at successful business owners. Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates are just a few of your heroes.

Although their bags of money are impressive, it would be hard to write a list of men I would like to be less than these folks with the exception perhaps of Branson.  Zuckerberg is responsible for the greatest invasion of privacy ever, Jobs was a demonically inspired and a harsh man to people who built his empire and Gates is – well – boring like the government.  Yawn me to death.  I’m sure they all started as entrepreneurs but they seemed to all end real bad.  Hopefully Branson will be exception.

18. You like calling the shots. You like the sound of being a director.

No. I don’t.  The last thing in the world I would want to be is a director.  I want to be a builder and an encourager of talent – somehow.

19. You set goals for yourself. Big or small, goals fill your life.

No. I don’t. And that’s also why I haven’t succeeded yet.

23. You plan everything down to the little details. Plans are a prerequisite for any activity.

Not even close to who I am.  I hate plans. See #19 above.  But systems?  I love systems.  Systems help me not have to plan as much.

29. You’re hyper competitive. You can’t even play a board game without flipping that switch.

Nope. I’m not.  However, I love to build stuff.  I feel that if you build stuff and learn how to build well, like houses, people will buy the product and like working with you.

32. You negotiate whatever you can. Flea markets and salaries are just the beginning.

Nope. I don’t negotiate anything.  If someone wants to write out a contract where they take 80% of my company and I am excited about building it, I’d probably sign it on the spot.  That’s also why I insist on working with logical people.

36. You avoid things that waste your time. You’re immune to mobile games and idle social-media time.

I have to give a big ‘amen’ to this one.  Like a loud ‘amen’.  Freakin’ hate crap that sucks my will to live – like TV.

38. You make rational decisions, not emotional ones. For the most part, you trust your logic over your emotions

No. Not me.

43. You’re crazy about new technology. You’re addicted to learning how new technologies can improve your life.

There it is! woot!

44. You read the news every day. It’s an ingrained habit.
I only read the Good News of the Bible every day.  Worldly news I let others filter and then tell me if I happen to talk to them.

All in all, this is an amazing summary blog about what an entrepreneur is.

To expand slightly, for me, it’s the most incredible thought to think that perhaps I, a grain of sand on a beach, might be able to impact the entire beach if just the right opportunity comes at the right time, and I take the right action with everything I’ve got, with the right people.

It is on this hope that I keep fighting and never give up.

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Who is Bad: Ashley Madison, the Hackers, or the Clients?

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Answer: All three.

Ashley Madison built their empire on the nasty foundation of encouraging the destruction of marriages, their clients took the bait like Adam and Eve, and the hackers trespassed.

But Jesus died for all of them.

What matters most in this story is the theme of internet security.  This article covers most of the key points if you need to brush up, like I did, on what this topic is even about.

Now that we’ve seen pretty much the epidemy of potential personal damages that could result from a digital breach, it’s important to take a very high level look at how we handle our information.  It’s tempting to get very lazy and not consider these things but you must or you, too, will be breached (hopefully not at a website like this, though).

What we all need is a personal audit.  A trusted person to come in and ‘hack at our digital life’ for three hours and give us a report to show us just how naked we are.  I am guessing that 98% of us will be labelled as ‘dancing naked in front of apartment window at night’ under the vulnerability section of the audit.  Some of those questions might be:

  • do you use gmail?
  • do you use Facebook?
  • how about hotmail?
  • do you let your kids use a computer or smartphone alone?
  • do you have apps on your phone?
  • do you have location services turned on your phone?
  • do you have anyone in your life who knows about this crap?
  • do you put incriminating information into SMS text messages?
  • do you have security cameras at your house?
  • do you use windows?
  • do you use apple?
  • and more

And with your semi-annual audit you can reduce your potential breaches significantly.

As a starting point, get to know members of your local ubuntu community.

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Building the ubuntu Brand

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“I run Mac Unix.”

“I run Windows Dos”

“I run ubuntu Linux”

“I run a Ford carburator.”

“I run Android Linux”

What the heck? Come again? None of these sentences should be occurring because these sentences contain significant branding and social fails.

But we are all a little under-educated, so I’m going to go easy on you because many people in the past have gone easy on me – including all the people referenced in this post.  I’m going to put lots of reference links so we can keep coming back here as a one-stop shop.  This can be your ‘Why We don’t say Linux in Social Gatherings’ post.

First a bit of a background.  I have a ham radio license.  That’s right.  A ham radio license.  And I’m proud of it.  I will be able to call my ham friends when all of your telecom is down.  But just because I’m a ham operator does not mean I will drop that info in just any old conversation.  Nor would a lawyer admit that he was a lawyer if he was enjoying a few drinks with normal people.  Get it?
This ain’t the 80s any more.  In fact, it’s not even the 90s any more.  We can drop the L word.  Let’s begin our journey with Randall Ross’ article on exactly that topic.

But it wasn’t just Randall and myself who dropped the L word.  Canonical also dropped the L word from all their material.  So Canonical, who has an actual marketing department, who has made ubuntu the best OS on the planet, and who has build relationships with some of the biggest companies on the planet has dropped the L word.  As per the intro of this post, you don’t see users of other operating systems walking around talking about the core engine of their operating system.  It’s uneeded.  It screws up the brand and the message of simplicity and complicates it.  Still not convinced?  No problem.

Many people who don’t drop the L word are called ‘1337’.  Don’t ask me.  Apparently this is not the numbers 1337 but instead means ‘leet’ or ‘elite’.  In essence, it means ‘I’m arrogantly higher tech than you.’  Joe Liau wrote extensively on ‘1337’ here if you’d like to learn more and laugh a bit.  It would be perhaps someone who is a ‘geek and proud of it’ in all the wrong ways.  Perhaps it would be the guy who brags that he’s missing the party to go to the computer club in high school.  Not cool.  It’s cool that you are going to the computer club but it’s not cool that you are missing the party and it’s even more uncool that you are bragging about it.  So, people who say ‘ubuntu Linux’ are technologically arrogant.  Perhaps another analogy would be the two guys talking about the latest Porsche engine components or the details of the baseball players batting average.  It’s obvious that very few people in front of you are going to know or care about the lingo.  Engaging them in lingo you know they won’t know, you are wilfully looking big in front of someone and showing off perhaps to compensate some other insecurity.  You’re disrespecting them.

Now for you folks who say ‘ubuntu is linux’ – no.  It’s not.  Linux is a kernel.  It has taken me a while and a bunch of emails back and forth to cement this and be able to talk confidently about it but here is the analogy from a few friends of mine:

1. Linux is a kernel, not an operating system.  Go to www.linux.org, get a copy of Linux and try to boot it on your computer.  Hint: good luck and make sure you pack a lunch!

2. Saying “I run Linux on my computer’ is analogous to saying “I took my carburator to work.”  Yes, the carb was under the hood and part of the engine that got you to work, but it was the rest of the engine, the design team on the body, the seatbelts and airbags, and stellar surround sound stereo with lots of bass that got you to work in style.

“Linux is the ‘carb’.  Ubuntu is the ‘car’.”

And you can quote that and give me zero credit if you want because the revelation was built on the back of many.   Although I’m very thankful for the carb, I don’t ever talk about it unless I’m at a mechanics shop or with a group of car enthusiasts out of ear shot of anyone who wouldn’t give a crap about car talk.

If you really want to see ubuntu become greater, you’ll need to take an active concern about changing some habits.  We’re all guilty of misrepresenting someone or something at some point, including ubuntu.  But this ain’t the 80s or 90s any more.  Ubuntu is mainstream.  Let’s take ubuntu from mainstream to all stream by becoming better ambassadors for the brand.  For ten simple tips to improve the way you represent ubuntu see this series by Randall.

Final note since we’re talking about brand: I started using lower case ‘u’ for ubuntu since I’ve noticed that’s what the brand does.  Unless it finds itself at the beginning of a sentence in which case I feel it deserves a capital.

One last time, class:

“Linux is the ‘carb’.  Ubuntu is the ‘car’.

And just to be clear:

ubuntu is a Ferrari.  The rest are just Pintos.

 

 

 

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Ubuntu becomes IBM’s Go-To OS for Mainframes

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As reported here by Randall Ross it is official that IBM has chosen Ubuntu to run their mainframes.

You might have heard fanatics like me talking about Ubuntu and how great it is but you’ve been too caught up with your current operating system.  The reason why you haven’t changed your OS to ubuntu, by the way, is because of one or more of the following reasons:

  1. You are too lazy to change
  2. You fear change
  3. You find change inconvenient (similar to #1 but a slightly difference nuance) and have accepted a life of mediocrity and wilful slavery
  4. You like to pay more for less
  5. You love gaping security flaws so that outsiders can prance in and violate you in their free time
  6. You simply didn’t have someone educate you that there was a better option out there for free.

I’m assuming that most of you would fit into category #6.  I also used to be in that camp. I used to think ‘What is this ubuntu thing? Why are these guys so amped on it?  Why does it matter to me?”  After some quality time I learned that it does matter, and it does affect me directly in my very personal and intimate life.

Perhaps you were waiting for a day like this when ubuntu was accepted by a ‘major player’ to help you legitimize your decision to deviate from the crowd and make a right decision in your life.

This is not unlike topics like fluoride.  I didn’t know that the toothpaste I was brushing with contained poison and that my girls were using it too. I thought fluoride was *good* for me.  I was dead wrong.  And my whole family’s health was suffering because of it. I also didn’t think that meat was a potential danger until someone showed me how most of the mass produced meat is produced.

Thanks to the power of information being at our fingertips, the time for change is now.  You don’t have to wait.

Find your local ubuntu group.  If you can’t find one, then go to Mars

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Who is Spying on your Children?

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Spying on my children!!?  That’s NUTS! That’s SICK! But it’s happening.  Right now.  And you are letting it happen either because you are unaware or because you are lazy, or both.

I don’t want to be harsh on you but I just can’t find a better way to say it.  Your non-chalent attitude towards protecting your digital life could cost your children dearly.  Yes, I’m mentioning your children because you have proven for years that you don’t care about yourself.  You say “I’ve got nothing to hide! Spy on me! No problem!”  But how about your daughter?  While she’s alone in her bedroom.  How about that?  Is that ok?  If it is, just go ahead and close down this browser window because you are a lost cause.  If it’s not ok with you and something inside of you says “I should probably learn more and take action” then read on.

This post on this blog found by my good friend inspired what I’m writing here.  I am a busy person.  Perhaps one of the business people I know.  However, I absolutely make sure that I’m spending time learning how to improve the protection of our computers.  Don’t be deceived into thinking that there is nothing you can do.  You can make your digital life nearly *bulletproof* if you put in the time and learn.

I think what’s missing is community around this stuff.  Randall Ross is always preaching ‘community, community, community’  for the Ubuntu world.  His point is that without a tangible face-to-face community that all this stuff becomes an isolated remote experience.  I agree.  Unless you knew the 17 year old victim girl in that post, it would likely have not reached your priority to-do list.  However, if we had a community built, we would not only know her but be able to react.  Had she been part of our local Ubuntu community, she would have fared much better as she would have had a group of people she could have contacted – not just Josh.

I am not perfect. I’m far from it.  However there are some basic steps we need to be making or the problem will get worse before it gets better:

-Get involved in our local Ubuntu community.  If there isn’t one, start one.

-secure our computers with Ubuntu

-secure our phones with Ubuntu

-put PGP on all our email communications

-educate our friends and family and don’t be nice about it.  How would you treat a drunk person about to get behind the wheel of a car with his family in the back?

-stop making excuses like ‘I’ve got nothing to hide’.  You have your vulnerable daughter to hide if you don’t respect yourself enough.

 

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Google’s New Daddy Alphabet and Why You Should Care

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Whether you are a conspiracy theory buff or not, it’s probably a safe bet to say that you think Google is a big and powerful global company that has the potential to do some ‘serious stuff’ if they wanted.  Well, today marks a new day in history when you might want to amplify your efforts to withdraw from their ever-reaching tentacles with Google’s announcement of its ceremonial install of it’s new parent company, Alphabet.

First, what’s in a name?  The word ‘alphabet’ comes from ‘alpha+beta’.  On  a surface level, you could say it’s the ‘AB’ of the Greek “ABC”.  Alpha means ‘first’.  No matter what, it means ‘beginning’.  But, it also means ‘God’ – as in the God of the Christian Bible.  In the book of Revelation, Jesus Himself says this “I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty”.  It would have been too obvious for Google to make their parent company “alphaomega”, or perhaps they tried but they didn’t like the way the two vowels ran together in the middle… but I digress.  Point here is that ‘alpha’ has a fairly well established meaning of ‘God of the Christian Bible’ or ‘Jesus Himself’.  But, it doesn’t end there.  What does ‘beta’ mean in our modern world?  Way back it was just equivalent to the “B” in the Greek alphabet but in our world in which Google lives, ‘Beta’ means ‘testing’ or ‘the nearly-finished final product stage’ of a software code release.  See this longer definition.  I can’t help but reading into this new name as ‘The final stages (beta) of establishing our false position as the all-seeing eye of a god in the earth”.

Do take some time to read this fresh news release and let it sink in.  One of the highlights for me was the section of the article under the heading ‘What will it actually mean?” and the response was ‘It is unclear.”  Well, it’s not unclear at all.  A Korean friend of mine found an article where the direct answer from Google as to why they are doing this is ‘to reduce risk’.  They have created a ‘ghost company’ that will be run by the then-current selected leader who will thus control not only the current form of the company and it’s subsidiaries as we know them, but also any future venture that should fall under their interest radar.

And with ‘less risk’.

Which begs the next question: What is said protection for? What risk?

Answer: Risk of something bad happening to them.

Question: What bad thing?

Answer: They would probably say ‘bankruptcies’ but the truth is ‘a lawsuit of a very severe nature’, of course.

Question: But we can still sue the Google corporation if they do evil works, can’t we?

Answer: yes, but the people who are really responsible are now hiding behind the legal shield of ‘Alphabet’.

Question: No further questions.

This announcement is, in my opinion, the news article of the decade and its repercussions will ripple into your life if you don’t take urgent action today to free yourself from their grips.

I thought I had written some articles on this blog about de-googling your life, but apparently I hadn’t.  There are some good articles out there that I followed which helped tremendously.  I’ll do my best to publish stuff on this topic when I have time but take the responsibility yourself to start the job today.

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HAHA While I LOL in Your General Direction

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Finally useful information from the Facial Literature company.

The first time I saw ‘lol’ it was from a grown male and I was very sure it was an abbreviation for ‘lots of love’.  It was quite bothersome when he did it a few times during a seemingly normal conversation.  I later found out it means ‘laugh out loud’ or something.

Then I realized that over 94% of the time I wrote LOL that I wasn’t even laughing, let alone ‘out loud’.

I always knew that LOL sucked but here is the data from Vator to back up the feeling.

 

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