Any Regrets?

What if today was the last day you had on this planet?

Would you have any regrets?  Anything you left unfinished?  Some dream you had when you were younger?

For me, I don't necessarily have any unfinished goals or dreams or anything like that.  I'd look back and say you know what, I had a good life.  I tried new things, I learned a lot, I met some nice people and did the best I could.

There were some good memories.  Like growing up in New York.  Playing tennis in my teens.  Dating in college.  Working my way up the career ladder.  Getting married.  Getting back into tennis in my mid 30s.

Any regrets?  Sure.  I probably should have gotten bar'mitzvad at age 13.  Probably should have taken a tennis scholarship in college.

I think the positives outweigh the negatives.

But if today was my last day on the planet, I'd say my life was pretty damn good.  Hopefully I'm at the midway point with a lot of good years left.

How about you?  What's your story?

Don't get old, if you can help it

God help you if you ever have to get involved with the medical system.

We have a loved one residing in an Assisted Living Facility.  For those of you not familiar with the aging of relatives, let me tell you, it's a maze of bureaucratic logistics devoid of any caring.  Rules.  Regulations.  Paperwork.  Authorization.  Fees.  Lots and lots of fees.

Now here's the question.  Are the elderly cared for and treated with dignity and respect.  There answer is minimal.

If you don't have a lot of money, don't expect a lot of care.  Even if you have money, don't count on it.

When you become old, you are a giant floating whale at sea, drifting with the currents.  And all the fish come along to take a chunk out of you, financially.  You continue to drift until there's nothing left.  The end.

It's quite a sad, morbid story, but if weren't true, I would write about it.

They keep you around to drain your accounts, when there's nothing left to drain, see ya.

I've seen gross negligence first hand at the assisted living facility.   There's one guy in there, who destroyed his liver from alcohol.  I witnessed the staff give him minimum 6 glasses of beer during a party for the residents.  Same place, I saw an elderly woman ask to go back to her room, several times, to the nurse lady, who promptly ignored her and told her to sit in her wheelchair in front of the television until she was ready.  Later, the lady fell out of her wheelchair, hit the ground, I screamed downstairs for a medic, soon the residents were told to stand back, an ambulance arrived, the nurse was nowhere's to be found.  Sheer neglect.

Most residents have to share a room.  Many have dementia.  Many have anger issues.  Many roam the halls in zombie state, ignored by the staff.  And I'd guess in many places there is actual abuse of residents.

Its a damn shame what these people have to go through.

Truth, Liberty and Justice for all.

Are You Rich?

What does wealth mean to you?

Having multiple houses, a jet, helicopter, own several companies?

Depends on what your definition is I suppose.

When I got out of college, worked temp jobs, I was wealthy, because I had no debt, no expenses and my take home was more than my outgoing.  Yet I didn't have many assets, so my net worth was low.

When I started my part time job at $7.50 an hour, I purchase a car, for $12k, saved up a $7k down payment, monthly payments were $128, which I paid bi-monthly.  So now I had a monthly debt.  And I moved out of my parents house and got an apartment, so I have another debt.  And electric, sewer, internet, my the debts pile up fast.

So at that point I was not wealthy, no asset, just liability, and not much cash left over after bills were paid.  So I found a new job.  And another.  And another.

Soon I accumulated assets, in the form of cash, equity in the house, paid off cars, so my net worth grew.  I had money left over after bills were paid, so my discretionary income went up.  Which allowed me to save.  I sold a few houses, cashed in the 401k, I would consider that wealthy.

And over time, salary increased, more assets and savings, not much debt but increased monthly bills.

Do I own multiple houses?  No.  Helicopter?  No.  Jet?  No.  So perhaps I'm not rich.  But then again, 
I could probably purchase anything, most likely for cash, but I simply don't want anything.  My desires are low and I don't like paying retail.

I'm hoping to have the house paid off in 4 years, perhaps sooner.  Maybe purchase a new car in a year or two, hopefully pay cash.  Take some vacations.  New laptop.

It doesn't matter if you make minimum wage or $250,000 a year, that doesn't determine if you are rich.  If your spending is less than your monthly wages, if you have more assets than liabilities and no debt, I would say you're rich.

Saving for retirement?  Would be nice, but I think retirement for my generation will not happen.  Work till you croak.

And there you have it.


No More Secrets

Some food for thought.

Obviously you know that your cell phone carrier provides your usage patterns to big bro.  Who you called, how long, etc.  Did you also know they can turn on your camera at any time, listen to your calls, and oh yeah, they can listen in even when you're not on a call.  And when the phone is shut off.  They can pin point your location, triangulate your location at any time.  They scan you data usage, where you went, what you did, it's all accessible.

Huh.  Kind of scary.

And just about anything that crosses the internet is potentially viewable as well.  I saw some cool videos from defc0n where they connected to a wireless hub, and were able to listen to other people phone calls.  And they could take over your phone, and dial outbound numbers and of course record everything.

I think it's safe to say that privacy is completely gone, as your every action is trackable, traceable, recordable, and oh yeah, archived indefinitely.

They can access your banking info, credit card info, credit reports, utilities info, gov't data, they really do have access to practically anything.

So why am I writing about this?  Just something I've been thinking about lately.  And keeping up with the current trends.  And because all of this can occur, and does occur, on a daily basis, in the name of protection, you know from the bad guys.

Technology is springing forward at enormous speeds, no question.  Data is also being captured in massive scale.  Soon devices will record just about everything.  A world of transparency.  No more hiding places.  The eyes have ears.  And the ears are listening.  They're listening to you.  And like Santa Clause, they're keeping track of who's been naughty and who's been nice.

No more secrets.


My Intro to PowerShell

I grew up on DOS back in the mid 1980's, PC-Dos, not MS-Dos.

So I've heard of the language called Power Shell, but never got around to learning.

So at the SQL Saturday over the weekend in Tampa, #326, I bumped into Max Trinidad, a Microsoft MVP for Power Shell.

We spoke about the power and awesomeness about Power Shell and I attended his session.  He showed how to incorporate Power Shell into SSIS using the Execute Script component.  Said you can administer services in Microsoft Azure, create exe files as well as Debug scripts.  You can also write Power Shell scripts within Visual Studio using a plug-in.

So today, I watched an Intro to Power Shell video on YouTube.

And I found a TechNet article on "Overview of Cmdlets Available in Windows PowerShell".

I knew you could perform database backups, move files and create scripts., but I did not realize that the entire set of commands runs on the dot net framework.  So that means that anything you can do in c# or VB, you can do in Power Shell.

I also watched this video "Basics of Power Shell"

And "Learn Power Shell in a Month of Lunches"

It seems to be that it's all about learning how to use the "Help".

It's funny that we started at the command line, went to windows, and now back to command line.  Full circle!

New stuff.  Lots to learn.  This well is deep, but powerful.

At least we're off and running~!


What's for Lunch?

Working with code, we tend to deal with logic, cold hard facts.  And as programmers we are comfortable with logic.

That doesn't necessarily mean our thinking ability rolls into our daily lives.

Life is not as clear cut well defined black and white.

I always found it ironic that many IT professionals, who are very very smart, can not decide where to eat lunch on any given day.  You would think such an easy task could be decided by a few highly intelligent people.

It's simply not the case.  Lunch is a very difficult decision, there are many factors to consider, pros and cons, location, price, variety, day of the week, etc.

I think there needs to be an app on the smartphone to randomly pick a lunch venue based on a series of parameters.  That would sure speed things up.  And if the place sucks, you can always blame the app.

This would speed up the process for finding lunch and allow more time for programmers to do what they do best, apply logic in the form of code.



Back Home

I'm back home a day early from the two week stint in Orlando.  Much of the project going forward can be done remotely.

I sure enjoy being on the road.  Away from the daily grind of responsibility and chores.  But I did miss the wife and dogs and morning workouts.

It's good to get away from time to time, see new things, meet new people, different scenery. 


Which Lane Do You Drive In?

Politics are a delicate subject.  Some people are democrats.  Some are republicans.  Some independent.

It seems politics has divided and segmented society.  Nobody can seem to get along or agree or let alone work together for the common good.

If I had to summarize the current state of affairs, this is what I see.

Democrats drive in the slow lane, in a car that's not new, most likely a used mini van.  They drive the speed limit, yet complain they aren't moving as fast as those in the fast lane.  Yet they remain in the slow lane and complain of the slow speed.

Republicans drive in the fast lane, they don't pay much attention to the speed limit, and they get to where they're going a lot faster.  Occasionally they get a speeding ticket, but they can afford it because they're going faster.  They typically have newer cars, sportier too.

Ultra rich 1% take a helicopter or private jet.  They simply don't have time to sit and wait the common folk, too busy counting their cash and making deals and rubbing shoulders with the other 1%.

Lower Income level people, they take mass transit.  Perhaps the bus, trying to reduce costs on autos, gas, insurance, maintenance, etc.

I used to drive in the slow lane.  One day I realized, I don't have kids, so why complain about underfunding schools.  I won't have an abortion, so it's not really a problem for me.  I don't plan on having a gay marriage so no win for me there.  Right to life, I'm not having kids so it's a non issue.

All the main issues on the table to determine what team you root for don't matter to me.  I wouldn't call the issues trivial, except the issues should be related to things that matter, that have substance, real impact on the survival of our species.  They give us these low hanging fruit to divide and distract us from the real issues.

I believe all people who want to work should have the opportunity to work.  Which mean we need more jobs, not necessarily full time jobs, but a way for people to survive and pay their bills.

If one day we woke up, and schools got funds equivalent to the war machine, that would be great.  If gay marriage was legal, that would be great too.  If women could make decision about the birth of their child, without being harassed by picketers at the abortion clinic, stupendous.

So if you see me driving down the street one day, check out which lane I'm driving in.  Just be sure to watch for the blinker from time to time.