JeffHendricks.net Born-Again Techo-Geek Renaissance Man

15Dec/140

Corporate Emo Poetry Monday

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

coffee

The bitter cold snaps through my thinning exterior
As I spend another day on my posterior
Crunching through numbers and tables and graphs
When I should by out cycling I sit on my... plush office chair.

Forever ago when I still knew my name-ish
I swore that I wouldn't become what I came-ish
Now to my chagrin I am choosing to sit
And listening to people who are all full of.. non-value-added information.

Yet even with corporate methodical junkle
I know deep inside their theories are bunkle
That someday I'll willingly fly from this dirge
And fly south for the winter: corporate life's for the birds!

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13Dec/140

Relationships In The Age Of Social Media

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

walking_away

After a particularly good day of relaxing, I found myself feeling bad about not spending enough face time with my wife. There's of course a limit to that, but my Attention Defecit will not allow me to just sit for any significant length of time. This causes all sorts of relationship problems for me. Because people talk small talk, and I just tune out. I'd rather be blowing up aliens, or hacking the Matrix, or skydiving, or... something. Not fixing a broken shower head or remembering to feed the cats.

But we are happier when we have face-to-face interaction with people. Isolation draws us inwards, and if you stare inwards _too_ long, you won't like what you see. The reason for this is that we're our own worst critic. We are intimately familiar with our own failures and shortcomings, and we know exactly where they are. We put on a facade of "cool" to convince people we're not as messed up as we are, but the truth is, everybody's messed up- and we know it all too well.

12Dec/140

The Merits Of Sacrifice

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

P1011578

If there's something that become endangered in the last two generations, it's the idea of sacrifice. We went from being the most respected and feared country in the world, to being the laughingstock of even third-world countries. I think this came about, largely, because of the elimination of sacrifice in America today.

Sacrifice /ˈsakrəˌfīs/- An act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.

Think about it. How can you sacrifice for something "regarded as more important or worthy" when the most important thing in your life is your own comfort? When we value comfort, laziness, and entertainment above all else, we turn sacrifice into a mockery. There is no reason to give anything up.

By definition, there must be something more important and worthy to sacrifice for. We must intentionally choose what things are noble and worth pursuing. Otherwise, we fall into the default state of "whatever." People who have changed the world did it because they had a perspective for something bigger, something greater.

8Dec/140

Of Men And Music

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

Sinfonia

"No man is more unhappy than he who never faces adversity. For he is not permitted to prove himself." -Seneca

There is so much more to being a mature man than being strong and wealthy. And I'm not just saying that because I'm relatively weak and poor; the truth is, I have been able to objectively look at my life through the lens of time and see where I was wrong. I spent a lot of time in my youth chasing dreams that were a wisp of smoke, and trying to get away with things I knew were wrong. I was full of myself, full of energy, but had nowhere to apply it. I had no Great War to serve in, had no Mission to accomplish. Nowhere to prove myself that I thought mattered.

Somewhere around 1993, when I was 19 and in the throes of self-discovery, I was approached by a man in his 20's whom I respected a great deal. He was a musician, someone who always seemed to have his act together (which is rare for musicians). He asked me if I would be interested in starting a fraternity chapter for men of music. Like-minded men, who were young, but wanted to be involved in making the world a better place through music.

5Dec/140

State Of The Blog Address

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

Jeff_Matrix

This past November (2014) was the lowest month for page views I've had in more than two and a half years. I've had to look through my logs and see why, but I think I've finally figured it out: I hosted several photos here that I linked to from discussion forums (mostly computers, bikes, cars, music). These count as "hits" without people actually visiting the blog, which throws the numbers off quite a bit. Going through my 404 logs, I can see where people are still linking to photos I used, and in some cases, someone linked to it from somewhere I didn't even know existed. This might be part of the cause. (Taking three weeks off to write a major article didn't help, either!)

I need to go through and clean these loose links up. It will 1. help clean up the traffic stats, and 2. ease some of the load on the server.

There are also plenty more things I have in development, but they will have to wait until Christmas break, when I have time to devote to them. Hopefully you'll think they will be worth the wait! I'm also going to be working on setting up a new website for musicians using Linux, which sadly, there are far too few of (people using Linux, and websites for them).

I'll also try to incorporate a Twitter feed in the sidebar, which I've tried previously, but dropped because 1. the embed code sucked, and 2. I didn't use Twitter that much back then. Both have changed now, so I will give it another shot. I've had this website up and running going on TEN YEARS at this point, so there's nowhere to go but upwards!

I got more in me. Let's do this.

Filed under: Signs Of Life No Comments
2Dec/140

6 Free Fitness Tracking Apps Reviewed

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

MS150

NOTE: If you've noticed you haven't heard anything from me in the last 3 weeks, it's because I was working on this article!

We can't escape it, we're in the digital age. Companies are all about Data, and we as consumers have followed along. With the rise of GPS-enabled devices in phones and bike computers, almost anyone can now track their cycling and running statistics, complete with geolocation and tons of other stats. This of course allows us to not only track our ride history, it allows us to compare information and apply it different ways.

I've long been a fan of GPS technology, and so naturally I migrated to using GPS to track my bike rides and commuting miles. But there are so many choices out there! How's a person to decide what's best for them, except try them all? I even made a poll in the G+ Bike Commuter Cabal community!

Poll Results

Fear not, for I've already used them all*, and my findings are here to help you make a decision on which App is best for you and your riding style.

We're going to look at the top ones, and also include Google's newcomer "Google Fit" to the mix, just to see how it stacks up against apps that have been on the market for years. I started off using a 7" Samsung Galaxy Tab, and recently got a Motorola Moto G, which is what I'm recording rides with now. All app data and screenshots are from the Moto G. The apps will be reviewed in the order I tried them, nothing special about that.

Criteria:

  1. App itself (quality, reliability, features, ease of use, accuracy)
  2. Accompanying website, features, ease of use
  3. File Formats import/export
  4. Paid features (if available)
  5. Score/uses/thoughts
17Nov/140

The Things I Want Are Not Things

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

Bling-Glitters-3

(This article was originally written in July, on the 3 year mark from my accident.)

Today is the first time in a long, long time that I've been in any kind of pain. Normally, my surgical implants don't bother me much. Every now and then I might get a twinge, and the scars itch a lot. But I haven't had real pain from it in probably a year.

My work schedule is very sporadic. I spend most of the year doing documentation, gearing up for that short run where we go into production for a few months. We're in that production run now, and I'm spending 11 hours a day on my feet, running around helping people. I actually like my job, quite a bit, and I like to think I'm pretty good at it.

But regardless, I didn't wake up one morning and decide "Hey, I want to become a technical writer for a farm equipment factory." It's a job. I ended up here by the grace of God, and I'm thankful for what it provides me.

But in the end, it's just a job. It's not my life's calling, any further than I'm called to provide for my family.

14Nov/140

Linux Screencasting

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

linux-logo

I finally figured out a screencap program that works in Ubuntu. I had tried RecordMyDesktop, but had no success. I tried several ways to get it working, but it never did work correctly. (To be fair, it might not be the program's fault... it just didn't work on my system running Ubuntu Studio 12.04) After some searching, I decided to try Simple Screen Recorder, and after a few tweaks, I got it working.

For my system, I had to use Jack audio. For some reason, it just wouldn't record anything from Pulse Audio (no shock there... Pulse's reputation isn't the best). So with a hacked .asoundrc file to channel Alsa to a Jack sink, it finally worked!

With this setup, I'll be able to record some of the guitar and audio software I'm using, as well as games and such. (recording games on Steam requires some tweaking, too). So here's a short demo!

Filed under: Linux Continue reading
12Nov/140

The Ministry Of Criticism

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

critics

As human beings, we are inclined to complain. The Israelites did it, even when God was providing for their every need, and had just delivered them from Egyptian captivity. It's in our nature to complain, argue, be offended, and critical. I mean, really, we've pretty much perfected it.

Unfortunately, this type of behavior is completely unproductive. You would think that people would learn this eventually, but the truth is, we just shuffle it to another location.

NOTE: I'm talking specifically about people's thoughts, and actions as far as they're not physically harming or illegal. We can and should criticize criminal activity. But what I'm talking about here is the "grey area" stuff. You know: the Thought Police.

Let's say I'm offended by bad drivers. (That's a stretch, right? Lol) I feel guilty when I'm always criticizing bad drivers. It doesn't fix anything, and only makes my mood worse. I'm still going to act accordingly, of course... I drive defensively because of it. Because I can't control how others drive, even if it's stupid and borderline illegal. I've done my fair share of stupid.

But the irritation has to come out somewhere. Our very natures are full of selfishness, which is the root of the problem. If we can't let it out on other drivers, maybe we take it out on our kids. Or our spouses. Or random people who are too dumb to realize that the express checkout line is not the place to be asking questions about what items qualify for a certain discount. *Sigh.*

8Nov/140

The Homeschooling Dad’s Expectations

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

woman-nagging

Some of you may be familiar with the fact that my wife and I homeschool our kids. As someone who was bored stiff in public school (and still struggles with "ADD" to this day) I was perfectly fine with our kids receiving individualized schooling and delight-directed learning. It seemed like such a natural idea to me, it made me wish I'd been able to do it when I was young. Alas, I managed to survive institutionalized learning, and in the process, I even learned a few things.

However, I've come to realize that most men aren't like me, and don't really understand the benefits of schooling their kids at home. Some of them are pretty hostile to the idea, in fact. At first, I was completely befuddled by this. I mean, why wouldn't you?

But then I started seeing why, as I learned more about how other men saw things. I spent time reading story after story about men who didn't have a clue about the basics of education, or why certain things work and others don't. It's not that they were stupid, they just assumed (incorrectly) a lot of things about how learning actually happens. When you throw that in with an over-inflated sense of discipline, you get a train wreck of confusion and misinformation.

So I'm writing this to help clear up some confusion, and possibly shed some light on the subject for those who either 1. don't get it, or 2. are trying to get their spouses to get it.