Well, I’ll Have Some More Free Time Now

Seven-hundred and fifty-nine. That is the number of stories I published at BestTechie over the past two and a half years.

759.

Some received few visitors. Some received many. Some generated great discussion. Some brought out the trolls.

Some made me feel, for just a second, that I actually might not be bad at this. Interviews, for instance, or any post where I got even slightly ranty. Others made me feel doubt. Like, how do I interest people in a story about firewalls and… yeah, see, I’ve already lost you.

This past week, we were informed that BestTechie would scale back so that more resources could be devoted to KYA. Long story short: Mr. Brian P. Rubin and I (the only two left) would no longer be paid writers at the site.

I was (extremely) part-time — so I will be totally fine. Brian was, too, and he actually writes quite a bit for ReadWrite now. So you can go check him out there.

It’s been such a blast, honestly.

I have to thank Jeff for keeping me around for so long, and thank everyone who ever wrote at the site at one point or another (Brian, Landon, Cassie). We also had some pretty cool ladies at Knock 2x helping us out with some things. And to the countless PR folks who took the time to learn what I liked to write about and didn’t send me the same pitch five times a week… thank you. :)

I’m not eager to give up the title of “tech blogger” just yet, by the way. That’s not a thing that’s going to happen. I will still be keeping an eye on the space, and I will still write about stories I like, or that I feel should be fleshed out more. Those posts will show up here for the time being.

There was a podcast idea kicked around, as well. That was originally going to be hosted on BestTechie, but I’m still very interested in doing it.

Anyway, that’s all. When I know more, so will you.

Onward.

A Relaunch, of Sorts

I last published something to this blog on December 5, 2012.

Since then, I’ve barely stopped by to blow away the dust, much less share anything with the world. I do plenty of writing elsewhere, but that’s a poor excuse to let the cobwebs creep in.

So here I am, broom at the ready.

I’ve made a few changes to the site. I’m also working on an “Disclosures” page that lays out past tech-related employers/clients and the devices I use personally. It’s just a good thing to do, and I’m a bit late to the game in doing it.

The content here will be mostly tech-related, though I reserve the right to venture off topic occasionally. And I’m sure some of you are aware that covering tech isn’t my only job — it’s actually not even my full-time job. Forty hours of my week are spent working with intellectually disabled adults at CPARC, and I plan to help push that organization’s message somewhere. Just not here.

Now, let’s make this place look less abandoned, shall we?

Life & Time

This past Saturday, I spoke to my grandfather on the phone about how he could fix up one of his websites. Each time we talk, whether it’s by phone, email, or in person, these lines usually work their way into the conversation.

“Hey, you know what you should do? [insert seven or eight business ideas here].”

They’re always unrelated to the Web or to tech in general, so they’re not really up my alley. But the constantly turning gears always inspire me.

Decades ago, my grandfather started a lapping company called Lapco, which he later sold to a German company called Stahli. I just know that, if he had seven or eight more lives to live, he’d try to become successful in seven or eight other industries. An entrepreneurial streak runs through that side of my family, and I’m pretty certain I inherited it.

This, of course, has made working for another company quite the challenge.

A flaw of mine is that I feel the need to put my stamp on everything, so to speak. I’m certain I have driven my bosses mad by trying to change things that have been in place for years. But that’s just me. Even outside of work, I enjoy meddling in things that aren’t my specialty, but are still things I think I could positively impact in some way. You might say I’m unfocused. I disagree. At the end of the day, we each have one life to live, and doing just one thing really well seems like an unsatisfying way to live it in my eyes.

A legacy means nothing to a dead person. Money means nothing to a dead person. If you ask someone slipping away on their deathbed what they wish they had more of, the answer you’d probably get is “Time.” What I want is to adopt the perspective of someone who wishes they had done more while I’m still able to do more.

So, from here on out, that’s the plan.

New Job

(Typing this on my tablet, so I’m sorry if it’s boring to look at.)

On Wednesday, November 16, I will officially become a part of the WebDrafter team. Job title is still undefined, but I will do many of the same things I’ve done as a freelancer, and handle some other marketing-related tasks. My conversations and meetings with the team have me incredibly excited to get started.

Accepting this new role left me with an interesting decision regarding Convoh. Obviously, I will no longer take on independent projects, since I would essentially be competing with my employer. I’ve decided that Convoh will live on as an umbrella for any new ideas I’m kicking around. The “Services” link and the connected pages will be killed off shortly.

A poet once said, “I want to be the very best, like no one ever was. To catch them is my real test. To train them is my cause.” I am confident that this move will help me become better at what I do, and I’m thrilled at the opportunity to help WebDrafter grow.

Resolutions

This year, I thought I’d handle my resolutions a bit differently: by being a bit less specific. Instead of setting an exact goal, I’m focusing on a few areas I’d like to improve in. Getting better across the board is more important to me than hitting a few particular milestones. Wanna steal one? You’re more than welcome.

  • Be More Healthy. Make more of an effort to exercise on a daily basis. Try not to eat as much junk.
  • Be More Brave. Do new things. Go to new places. Do not be afraid to move on.
  • Be More Intelligent. New competitors are coming and they’re learning everything. Don’t shackle yourself to your old information and ways of thinking. Embrace the new. Be a student for life.
  • Be More Original. Don’t just echo someone else’s thoughts, ideas, research, etc. – create your own. Easiest way to become lost is if you bring nothing new to the table.
  • Be Less Negative. Anyone can complain. Do it out loud a lot less. This also goes for snark. Not everything in the world requires your witty response. Know when to be quiet.
  • Procrastinate Less*. You work longer nights and feel more burned out because you don’t stick to a schedule. Less screwing around, more doing.

*I procrastinated writing this post. True story.

Social Sabbatical

Don’t get me wrong — I love social networks. I tweet. I lurk on Facebook. I peek in on my FriendFeed pals every now and again. I check in on Foursquare. I browse through my groups on LinkedIn. I’ll join the latest thing Mashable’s pimping. I…

Well, I’m sure you get the idea. Do enough of this and it starts to feel like work. Add that to the fact that a large portion of the work I do revolves around this space and I guess you could say it is work.

So I’m pulling the plug for two weeks. Just like any job, sometimes you need a vacation.

I’ve did this almost six months ago (June 2-16) and I definitely recommend it. Believe it or not, it’s very possible to be too connected and too reliant on those social feeding tubes. When you take a step back and allow yourself to go a few minutes (and then days) without checking Twitter on your phone, the world slows down a bit.

I just wrapped up some work and don’t plan on putting anything else on my plate until the 21st. And, since I don’t anticipate someone inquiring about a project a few days before the holiday, I suppose that means I’m effectively done for the year. But I’ll let myself hop back into the social mix on the 21st.

See you in two!

Finally

After a painfully long week, the previous tenant canceled his Comcast service today. I will give the Big C a little bit of credit — they did come offering to help get the service shut off, though it was about an hour too late.

I’m not even going to bother going through this with Verizon. That can just stay there. I don’t care.

Now let’s see how quickly they come out here to hook me up.

Comcast: Let me pay you money for your service, please

“Keep walking. Yes, that’s it.
You’re so close to being Comcastic!”

Comcast, you are so dumb. For real.

I’ve talked to countless specialists over the phone. I’ve had live chats with two reps in the past 24 hours. I’ve even taken a copy of my lease (with photo ID so that you know I’m actually who I say I am) to the local service center here in Harrisburg. What do I have to show for it?

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

This is the sign of a monopoly, folks. When you exhaust every option the company gives you and they still continue to give you the run-around, like they really don’t care if you’re a customer or not. I’ve been trying for almost a week now to get Comcast here and, judging by the way things have been handled so far, they aren’t interested.

A rep told me late last night to take a copy of my lease to the local service center and that would definitely take care of things. And by take care of things, he meant they’d have someone disconnect the previous tenant’s service ASAP.

That didn’t happen.

Instead, the woman at the counter (who seemed to hate life) told me there was nothing she could do. The previous tenant wasn’t late on payments, so the service couldn’t be disconnected. Baffled, I stated the obvious.

“But he doesn’t live there. I do. It’s just me. That guy is not there.”

“It doesn’t matter.”

Before my head exploded with such force that a mushroom cloud would be seen from Colonial Park, I left.

Comcast, seriously, you’re screwing up. Open up my novel-length case file and see how many reps I’ve talked to. Get someone out here to disconnect this crap OR THE BLOG POSTS WILL CONTINUE (cue dramatic music).

The telcos don’t want my money

As some of you know, I spent this past weekend moving to a new place in uptown Harrisburg. The move went well except in one, glaring, circle-it-with-a-red-marker area.

The previous tenant never disconnected his or her telecom utilities. Both Comcast and Verizon.

When I discovered this, it didn’t seem like a big deal to me. Comcast or Verizon could simply cut the service off for the old tenant and hook it up in my name. That’s how I thought it worked. I was wrong. So very wrong.

Service reps from both Comcast and Verizon told me that I have to wait for the previous tenant to cancel their service or have it disconnected if the bill is unpaid.

I suppose the reasoning behind this is to ensure that I’m not the same person trying to establish new service while escaping the older bill. However, if they’d send someone out here, they’d very plainly see that I’m a totally different person. I look different. I have a different name. I have a lease that I signed at the end of October. And, probably the most damning evidence–I DON’T HAVE ANY TELEVISION OR INTERNET ACCESS.

So here’s the deal. I need cable and I need the Internet. I’m missing football and tethering my Android phone isn’t going to cut it much longer. For television, Comcast is pushing me dangerously close to cutting a deal with DirecTV or DISH. For the Internet… well, I’m screwed. That’s what happens when two companies own the area.

If a rep from either company could come and cut the old tenant’s service off, it would be much appreciated.

Thousands of other roads

Let’s take a look back at some of my goals for 2010:

  1. Write at least one blog post per day.
  2. Write a full-length novel.
  3. Attend at least three tech conferences/unconferences.
  4. Shape Abuzz into a must-have search application.
  5. Pay off at least half of my student loans.

It’s safe to say that I have accomplished zero of these goals during 2010. My blog post count is sad. I never found the time to write that novel. I did attend two unconferences this year (BarCamp Harrisburg 2 and PodCamp Pittsburg 4) so that one isn’t too bad. I ran out of time (and resources) for Abuzz and decided to sell the source code and let someone run with it. And my loans? HAH.

Goal setting can be a double-edged sword. It can motivate you to knock out those tasks/dreams you’ve always wanted to take on but never did. It can also crush your spirits if you fall short. Fortunately, I’m the type of person who doesn’t get down in the dumps too easily. The way I see it, it’s never too late to start.

Starting last Friday, I’ve started to put up a blog post daily. I’ll at least start on that novel–it is National Novel Writing Month, after all. I’ve adopted a new side project, one I’m going to plan a bit more carefully. And my loans? I’ll set that same goal. Half of the amount left knocked out in 2011.

If you’re driving toward your destination and take a wrong turn, there are thousands of other roads that can take you to where you need to go. Slowly but surely, I’m learning that.