Monday, November 23, 2015

Next Up

In a previous post, I posted a random Jumpscare type of game. Well, technically it isn't a game, as there are no points, no rhyme, and no reason to it. My kids liked it and I thought I would share it, even though it's not perfect.

Yesterday, I finally finished it (see it here). Technically, it needs a few more tweaks, but it does contain all of the programming elements for another real game. If you are not into jumpscares, it's probably not a game for you. My kids keep telling me not to advertise that fact, but most adults that read my blog probably wouldn't be too happy if I didn't.

So I have been making a draft list of posts that I plan on putting up soon. Here's a hint (Next Up is this one):

Yeah, I do use the draft feature in Blogger as a sort of "To Do List". The list does go further down, but those titles are for me to know and for you to find out.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

First step to Efficiency

Exactly what I look like when visiting Facebook.
I should know better.

I did a "quick" check on Facebook last night to see if anyone else commented on my last post - and of course, got a little caught up in funny cat videos, political commentary, and funny memes. You know, the usual. The "quick" check lasted about an hour before I realize that I haven't even started on any of my projects yet.

I use Facebook to keep up with family. It's an awesome tool in which people like me, who move miles away for better opportunities, to stay connected with family and friends that otherwise would have been lost.
It's also a great way to stalk look up old acquaintances and classmates to see how they are doing. Reunions are so last century.

Facebook has a downside as well...

I make jokes about the distractions, but they're really true. I start by going through my notifications, (ignoring the game invites), opening each relevant one in a new tab. Then I skim Facebook, opening any of interest into new tabs. At the same time, I may comment on some posts, or watch some videos directly on the timeline.

Then, after spending a good 30 minutes or so doing this (longer if there is a longer than usual video),
I go through my tabs. Some are external links, which also have links that are interesting. Before I know it, the couple of hours that I have in the morning is gone, and all of my projects are postponed until "later", whenever that is. Ethan is now awake and I have other things to do.

I don't want to give up Facebook, but it does happen to be a time leech. Starting right away, I will only be on Facebook on the weekends, since that when more people are active on it anyway.

The only posts that you will see from me will be from my blogs.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Comical Jumpscare

A couple of weeks ago, I was going through some old external hard drives like one would go through their old box of memories. I sorted through 1000s of Pictures, PDFs, text files, HTML files, and my old source files. A lot of memories were in those old disks.

The ones that really caught my interest were my old SWiSHmax files source files. SWiSHmax, a cheaper alternative to Adobe Flash editor, is pretty much obsolete as they hadn't updated the program, or come up with a new product for years. Rumor has it that all of the old developers were bought out by other companies and SWiSHmax hadn't made an effort to replace them.

I reminisced on how much I loved making these files (and video blogging). Life and kids and housework and just about everything else seemed to have gotten in the way.

Or, maybe, I just let it be an excuse to not do more. How many people who have kids and other obligations still accomplish their goals... And their kids turned out fine? More than you think, but probably not as much as there should be.

I started this very blog to accomplish my goal. Use "life hacks" and tech to streamline my life and blog about it, so I can have the time to do what I love doing.

Fast forward a year or two. I still did my blog somewhat half heartedly. I let myself get caught up in useless political arguments, stress out a out useless drama, and meaningless busywork, all the while convincing myself that it was all necessary.

Mike's boss had finally found an excuse to fire  him. Mike was so demoralized by the fact that for some reason this guy was promoted over several more competent and qualified people that he became a little careless and made a few mistakes. Just so you know, Mike wasn't interested in a promotion. There were other qualified people right for the job.

Mike found a job in Texas so we decided to take a big risk and move to Texas, thinking that it would be waiting for us when we got there. Unfortunately, by the time we made it there, the job that he would have gotten, fizzled out as the owner had to cut back some to afford the new health care laws.

We lived on Mike's retirement savings for a year, dreaming to be more independent from the workplace. Unfortunately, bad habits are hard to break and he ended up working for Pepsi in Mesquite. At first, it wasn't so bad. He got exceptional reviews and it looked like we had some breathing room. Then he got a new boss. Turns out that he was like the last one at GE - only competent in being manipulative. Numbers started crashing and this guy was looking for a scapegoat.

The best Candidate? The one who has been proving him wrong the most. Mike is a problem solver, not a "Yes-man." Good if you want stuff done. Bad if you want to please a smiling politician-type saying garbage like "We will work to find the solution to that problem!" without giving any actual answers (keep that in mind you corporate types, if someone below you isn't giving you straight answers, he's probably screwing the employees over for his own benefit).

When the boss started to give him a moving target, making it impossible for Mike to succeed, we knew it was a matter of time before he would lose his job again. Proof that competence has nothing on good looks, a flashy smile, vague answers, and deflecting responsibility (a.k.a. "finger pointing"). Just look at our politicians who, for some strange reason, keep getting elected.

One month later, as predicted, Mike was suspended from his job... So far, HR hasn't called him to say he was fired. If Mike wanted unemployment, it won't be until 6 weeks AFTER he was fired. If he's only suspended, then those weeks he doesn't get paid, doesn't count.

Mike doesn't seem too concerned. As a matter of fact He seems relieved and happy. At the moment, he has been working for a few jobs and it seems that we may be able to sell our house before the year's up. We might even have property soon as a trade for his services as an electrician for a remodel. Life is hard, but there is hope.

In the meantime,  I have been brushing up on my programming skills. This brings me back to the hard drives. I found what I was looking for. My old source files.

I wanted to check my .swi files out, so I would have to install SWiSHmax. Since I replaced my laptop, I didn't think about installing it until now.  I still have my old license for it, so I downloaded and installed it on my new laptop. Then I took a look at my old files.

Ahhh, the flying smiley faces. I remember those. For the fun of it, I tweaked it a little, adding a jumpscare. Sarah wanted to make the creepy smileyface, so I let her. I wasn't able to embed a flash file in a blog post, so I decided to put it on my own server, on the future MOMĒTEK website that I may get around to finishing, someday.

Then I thought about it. Not only was it fun creating the simple "game," I came to realize how much I miss doing that.

So, this week, I plan on finishing the new MOMĒTEK website and I will be gearing it towards apps. I will also be blogging on streamlining your life again. After two years of losing my focus on what I love doing, I decided that there are no more excuses.

Here's the app: It is a bit lame as far as jumpscares go, but my toddler found it hilarious. I do plan on tweaking it more before I create another. I'm using it as a way to refresh my memory.

I'm back, and it feels great!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Windows 10 - Con(s)

Since Windows 10 is new, there are a lot of bugs, however, I won't mention them here. As we all know, Microsoft sends updates frequently. Considering Windows 10 is fairly new, It's likely the bugs I mention would have already been patched.

There are, however a couple of serious annoyances that Windows 10 considers as "features". Perhaps it's just my opinion, but I doubt I'm the only one who sees this.

First, the accounts. Out of all of the annoyances, this is the worse. I have six kids.  While most of them use the desktop, I use my laptop to let my youngest son, the two year old, watch videos while I cook.

He somehow manage to open and change the setting one day. I figured it's time to get him his own account. Preferably one that doesn't have admin rights.

Well, you can't just set up a simple account. They have to have an email account. That's right. It's doesn't matter if he's two. He needs an email account.

What on earth does a two year old need an email account for?! To send emails to potential preschools? I guess if they want to get into a good college, I suppose.

Seriously, It would be cool if I can set up an ultra-restrictive account for toddlers. Then I would install some basic educational and video apps, then like android, allow only these apps to display onto the kids screen. They wouldn’t allowed to access any other app - or settings for that matter. He shouldn't even be able to turn off the Wi-Fi.

But, Windows didn't do that and if I want my toddler to have an account so he wouldn't accidentally delete some rather important files, or maybe add his two cents to one of my text documents, or maybe turn the screen upside down.

If you were trying to get the tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist to dump XP or maybe not install linux, this wasn't the way to go. I won't get into the data collecting that goes on either- but believe it or not, that has been happening since Vista, so it's old news. Perhaps, maybe there are some new data collected from the voice recognition program, this can be turned off. 

The other, not half as annoying but still a problem is how Windows handles Wi-Fi. I'm not sure if this is a bug, or something someone didn't think about.

Of course, it may not be so annoying if I hadn't had to reset my Wifi a lot during the day, thanks to the fact that the waypoint is a bit far making it a flaky. Sometimes the antenna doesn't connect and sometimes it won't even show up.

I sometimes will have to use a range extender to reach a working waypoint at the campground as the ones locally don't always work. It doesn't show up in the main window. If I wanted to manage the connection, I have to right-click on the WiFi button and then settings. After that, however, it is easy to manage the WiFi Connections.

 I mentioned a built in store for Windows 10 in my last post on Windows. Well, it turns out that it could be considered a con as well. Instead of working on this post, I was browsing the store and marveling at all of the free programs on there. I know, I shouldn't have excuses... but they're FREE!

Or maybe it isn't as much of a bad thing. I certainly have a lot of fodder for this blog, and I think it's about time  I updated my "Free Stuff" page.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Windows 10 - Pros

My last post onWindows was about the installation. I'm sure that everyone would like to know the pros and cons of Windows 10. This blog covers the Pros. I'll be doing the Cons in my next post.