What’s unique about me

Interviewing for a new job after several years of being on my own caused me to consider the question, why should anyone hire me. Part of the answer is that I have a set of excellent skills and talents, and that I’m collaborative and focus on relationships. Other fine folks have these attributes too, so the specific question is “why am I different from other qualified folks.” I think that employers, like shoppers, look often look for the unique person that isn’t just like the rest. They look for the basics but want diversity of thought on the team, and perhaps they want the satisfaction of discovering someone or something that no one else has. That means the employer wants to find some unique folks. (This also sits comfortably with me because I’ve never been a square-peg type of person.)credit: http://www.myconsultingcoach.com/case-interview-mece/

So the question is really “what’s unique about me.” To answer the question, I’ve assembled a list that feels complete in a MECE way. Read More

Assembling Linux Permissions one block at a time


Permissions– the settings that govern who can make changes to files in which circumstance– is not an easy concept.  The confusion starts soon after the experience of seeing a file you created is suddenly not editable by you after you put it on the network share.   Today I learned that Linux permissions are assembled from different sources, and understanding how these pieces fit together has helped me create the environment I need.  Here are the basic blocks: Read More

Android Apps to automate life

I use my phone as a PDA more than anything else.  I want it to help me remember things and to remind me of things, and I like apps that help me automate simple routines so I don’t have to think about them.

  • AutomateIt.  This app allows you to create rules which are pairs of Triggers and Actions and is a lot easier than Tasker.  It has several pre-built and many available from other users, like Volumes off at 11pm and Volumes on at 7am.  Here are mine:
    • Speak an alert when disconnecting from my car bluetooth.
    • Start the application Screen Filter weekdays at 11pm. This dims my screen for bedtime reading.  I also have the Rule to kill the application at 7am.
    • Speak the words “Please plug me in!” when the battery gets below 10%.

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VOIP at Home and $250 in your pocket.

A while back a friend asked me how I did this so he could too. For cable modem subscribers, the savings is about $250 per year. You also get greater control over blocked numbers, forwarding, and voicemail.  I purchased an Obihai VOIP router on Amazon for $40 to get started.  If your home network doesn’t have an extra ethernet port, you there’s a version with an integrated router.

Obihai VOIP Router

Here are the rest of the steps:

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Build a server from a broken PC

 markfern.me markfern.me

A friend gave it to me. The PC wasn’t really broken; the hard drive had died and the cost of a new drive was more than an older PC was worth.   It just so happened that my old, tired, loud, big sever really needed to be replaced.  The PC is an HP tower and about half the size of that old box.  The internals are an AMD 64-bit chip with 4GB RAM, and a CD/DVD Drive.  It has ports for USB, SDcard, and ethernet. It even has wifi.

The project took a bit of ingenuity and work but the result is quite satisfying. It sits on white wire dish shelf from Amazon, and under that is the UPS. The silence in our office is quite golden now. Read More