Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Some tech, some not. 62 jobs in 40 years.

Raised in Maine
  1. Stocked shelves with Shaklee vitamins for my parents in-home company. They earned a ’81 Ford Thunderbird. $3 / hour income.
  2. Carpenters helper on a new home job site.
  3. Bakery bookkeeper, stocker and cashier at farm market.
  4. Church janitor with my father.
  5. Tractor driver in apple orchard.
  6. Dishwasher at a restaurant.
  7. Lawn mower at a restaurant.
  8. Dock boy at a marina.
  9. Typed up term papers for fellow students on a Mac with Apple’s first laser printer. Did some presentations using one of the first computer projectors. It was all greenscale then.
  10. Yard Manager at a boat sales lot. Included boat and engine repair, sales, hauling trailers, sea testing, creating computer labels for sales, and general computer accounting.
  11. Warehouse stocking in mail order department of L.L. Beans.
  12. Multilevel marketer for water and air filter company.
Maine Lobster from Eric
Maine Lobster from Eric (Photo credit: man pikin)
Moved to Colorado 1990
  1. Ski shop manager. Included driving large U-haul trucks to ski swaps in the mountains to sell the merchandise.
  2. Ski shop manager in Vail, Colorado.
  3. Accepted a job and picked up my uniform to work at Copper Mountain ski resort as a dishwasher, but decided to move back to Denver.
  4. Contract labor for my Architectural teacher while in school.
  5. Car washer at auction site.
  6. Telemarketer for 3 days. Got out of this quick.
  7. Shift manager at Pizza Hut.
  8. Sold some **** for one week. BAD CHOICE. It was the only way I could buy a plane ticket home for Christmas.
  9. Commercial low voltage wire puller in a Denver warehouse.
  10. House painter.
  11. Car repair part-time.
  12. Waiter at 5-star restaurant.
  13. CAD drafter for Eagle Windows & Doors. Also did sales quotes.
  14. CAD drafter for interior design firm that specialized in Fortune 500 office space design in high rise buildings.
Steamboat Springs, Colorado Mountains
Steamboat Springs, Colorado Mountains (Photo credit: DaggieW)
Moved to Florida 1994
  1. Live aboard deckhand on a 92’ private motor yacht. Traveled to Bahamas and up the Eastern seaboard to Nantucket & Rhode Island. As is the case with most of my yacht jobs, duties included washing boat, polishing stainless steel, maintaining the tenders & jet skis, steering and navigating the vessel, maintaining large diesel engines, and computer administrator.
  2. Live aboard 1st Mate on a 95’ motor yacht. Traveled to Key West and the Bahamas.
A yacht in Lorient, Bretagne, France
A yacht (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Moved to Maine 1995
  1. CAD drafter for mechanical and HVAC engineering firm. Created first 3D drawing of a robotic paper pulp egg carton producing machine & 70 foot dryer. I was subcontracted to a national engineering firm to create CAD drawings for electrical, piping, mechanical & sprinkler systems. Subcontracted to hospital to do CAD drawings of water, oxygen, waste & sprinkler piping systems in a new 10 story wing. Developed construction drawings for clean rooms at Fairchild semiconductors, and of paper manufacturing machines at a few of the New England sawmills.
  2. Dispatch supervisor for computer & printer repair company.
  3. Built 2000 micro sized wooden lobster traps for a seaweed food supply company that was selling at LL Beans.
  4. CAD drafter for the Big Dig tunnel project in Boston, MA. Created drawings of all utility lines that would have to be moved for the tunnel construction.
  5. Started computer repair company.
  6. Pizza & sandwich maker at buddies pizza parlor part-time.
  7. Bouncer at a bar.
Moved to Florida 1997
  1. 2nd mate on 162′ private yacht with 8500 hp of jet propulsion. Traveled to 30 islands throughout the Bahamas and Caribbean during my yachting days.
  2. 2nd mate on 146′ mega yacht with helicopter on board.
  3. Various deliveries of many yachts, including a trip up the intercoastal waterway (parallels the Mississippi river) on a 114’ yacht, from Gulf of Mexico to West Virgina.
  4. Started a computer repair and CAD drafting company. This is where I did my first network wiring and wireless network setups.
  5. Website designer and server administrator for a friends online sports/concert ticket company.
  6. CAD drafter for landscape engineering firm.
  7. Driving luxury vehicles between Florida and Cape Cod. Assisted these clients with moving their computers and home offices for the summer.
  8. Computer and printer repair technician for national company. Provided assistance to the Office Depot headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida, and the West Palm Beach Clerk of Courts.
  9. Started yacht software company, which my partner took to fruition.
  10. Cleaned various other yachts while in school for my US Coast Guard Captains License.
  11. Wrote a business plan for a contractor website (very similar to Wrote business plan for online used book sales company. Never got to start either of these business’s.
  12. CAD drafter and 3D drafter for renown Architect.
  13. CAD drafter and designer for another architect. He asked me to become a partner.
  14. Training for road bicycle racing. Career ended with catastrophic bicycling accident on 9/1/11
Moved to Maine for the summer. 2002
  1. House painter.
  2. ‘Playboy’ with the money from my bicycle accident insurance.
Moved to California. 2002
  1. Carpenters assistant and airplane polisher.
  2. Designer, engineer, installer & programmer for home automation & home theater company. Server administrator. (Clients were mainly Fortune 1000 execs and celebrities with the home automation companies.)
  3. Home automation engineer and lighting design CAD drafter. Server administrator.
  4. Head of tech support department and builder of multi TB video/DVD servers.
  5. Technician, designer, programmer at another home automation company that was owned by Best Buy. It wasn’t Magnolia.
  6. Technician and programmer for home automation company.
  7. Beta tester for home automation software company.
  8. Started computer/network service, home automation and home theater company.
  9. CAD drafting part-time for renown Australian architect.
  10. Office manager and now partner at Chiropractic practice.
  11. Started children’s play structure and outdoor apps company.
English: Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, USA
English: Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I do understand that there is a negative connotation associated with not keeping a job for a very long time, but I wouldn’t be able to come up with my play structure and app designs if I hadn’t have had so much hands on experience in so many fields.
A couple of examples:
I had to design a smart heating/cooling system for a mega-mansion in Carmel, California. Using my knowledge of architecture, HVAC, home automation, windows and CAD drafting; I was able to develop a system that would decide whether to use the costly air conditioning system vs. natural outside air cooling, based upon the outdoor temperatures. If the temperature outdoors was cooler than the indoors, the main gallery 2nd story skylights would open automatically, the HVAC system would switch the damper to pull in outside air, and the system would turn on just the fans to circulate cool air through the home. If the outside temperature was higher than inside, the skylights would close, the damper would switch to re-circulate mode and the normal AC system would cool the home.
I was also asked to design a scuba diving room on one of Paul Allen’s yachts, Octopus. The room was on the side of the yacht with a large door that opened downwards to create a platform to enter and exit the yacht while diving. The room was used for holding all the diving gear, and re-filling the compressed air in the scuba tanks on-board. I used my architecture, 3D modeling, piping engineering and scuba background to design a room that was well-organized and optimized for diving storage.
I know a couple jobs are missing, and I’m sure they will come back to me in the next few days. The only things I haven’t done are being a politician, a doctor, lawyer or porta-pottie cleaner. :-)

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Are your guests having a hard time with the TV remote?

There are at least 2-5 remote controls on the coffee table of most of my clients. One for the TV, one for the cable box (which is suppose to control the TV also), one for the Roku/AppleTV, and one for the DVD/Blu-Ray player.

A ‘smart’ remote is one that is programmed by an installer, or a consumer**, when you only want ONE remote to control all of your home entertainment equipment***. A real home theater uses a Surround Sound Receiver to send audio to 5-13 speakers within your room.

You might be use to turning on the system with many remote controls, but a typical powering on process is like this:

- Turn on TV
- Turn on surround receiver
- Turn on cable/sat box
- Make sure TV has booted up (all home entertainment equipment takes time to turn on, like a computer) before sending the command to change your HDMI video input
- Surround receiver has to be booted to send the command to switch from watching Cable, Blu-Ray, Roku, Xbox, etc
- NOW you are ready to watch TV, but why is there no volume? This can happen when the last person left the system on a low volume or because the TV can see the image but your surround receiver is behind a door so you do not know if it turned on.

This can be a frustrating process, especially for guests, your parents or grandparents, and especially for AirBnb or vacation renters that are only there for a few days trying to decipher your ‘How To’ sheet to turn on the system.

If you are a household that has a cable or satellite box, and are using the smart apps built into your TV, you probably don’t need a ‘smart’ remote. Either you are using the TV speakers, or have a sound bar connected to the TV, and therefore only need one remote.

** We highly recommend an installation company, like Technical Visionaries program your remote as Infrared/IR can be very finicky, and there are a lot of tricks to overcome issue’s with equipment behind cabinet doors.

*** Only equipment that came with a remote control can be controlled by a smart remote, and in very rare cases, that equipment cannot be controlled, like tape decks and turntables.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Do you really need that Internet speed?

Comcast is trying to sell you on their 200-500Mbps Internet speeds and the homeowner is not aware that this speed is overkill.

  • 5 Mbps or less: Basic Web surfing and email
  • 5–10 Mbps: Web surfing and email, with occasional streaming and online gaming, shared among a few connected devices
  • 10–25 Mbps: Moderate high-definition (HD) streaming, online gaming, and downloading files, shared among several connected devices
  • 25–40 Mbps: Heavy HD streaming, online gaming, and downloading, with many connected devices
  • 40+ Mbps: Hardcore streaming, online gaming, and downloading, with a large number of connected devices

Many businesses only need 50Mbps to run a company of 100 employees, so why do you need over 100Mbps? You don’t.

If you take a look at Netflix’s website, this is what they recommend for streaming their video.

  • 0.5 Megabits per second - Required broadband connection speed
  • 1.5 Megabits per second - Recommended broadband connection speed
  • 3.0 Megabits per second - Recommended for SD quality
  • 5.0 Megabits per second - Recommended for HD quality
  • 25 Megabits per second - Recommended for Ultra HD quality

Not every TV in your home is going to need or view 4k/UHD content, and any smaller size tablet won't need that kind of high resolution.

Your internet provider won’t be able to handle the bandwidth that 8k UHD video content requires until they gave a backbone of fiber to each home. Currently, only 25% of the homes in America gave access to fiber. There is no need to do purchase a large plan at this time. I would recommend 50 for family if 2 and another 25 for every other occupant in the home.

Here are some great websites for calculating the speed that you and your family will need for all of your Internet usage:

Take a look at the current speed of your home Internet with these useful tools:

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Stick it to the 'man' and get Free TV!

I've recently had rave reviews, from several Sonoma residents, when I was able to get them 66 channels of FREE TV, including 22 in stations in high definition and all of the major networks (ie ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS) A lot of people are extremely upset at what they pay for U-verse, DirecTV or Comcast. The typical bill for TV, Internet and Phone can run close to $200 with at last half of that being the TV fee’s.

30 years ago, before the proliferation of Cable TV, we all had antennas mounted on the TV or the roof and received free programming. Today, the terrestrial antenna that mounts to your roof or the nearest tree is the same VHF/UHF antenna we used 30 years ago to. Most of the Bay Area programming comes off of Sutro Tower in San Francisco, but there are also transmission antennas in Sacramento, San Jose and Santa Rosa. The key is finding the antenna that will provide you the most stations. (see link below to help with this decision)

The addition of network Apps, like HBO, Showtime, Lifetime, etc., allow a household to get the free network stations via the antenna and then use these Internet Apps to add to their existing streaming services like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon for content. Most flat panel TV’s come with these Apps installed and also a connection for an antenna.

Most installations are simple as we can use the existing wiring in your home to connect the antenna. If you are a DSL Internet customer, setup is very easy. If you are a Comcast Internet customer, we will need to add an extra coax cable from the exterior of the house to your Internet modem’s location. The caveat is that unless your house has extra wiring, or we install additional technology, you can not have terrestrial signal, and U-verse/Comcast TV services running on the same wiring.

Turn off your providers TV service and the installation pays for itself in 6-12 months. Residents who rarely watch TV and/or are retiree’s are especially appreciative of this technology. The antenna range is up to 80 miles depending upon geography features and there are many types of antenna if you are concerned about their looks.

You can learn more about terrestrial antennas at Wikipedia:

Here are a few links to find the stations you can get for free, depending upon your antenna placement and the city you live in:

This link gives you approximate signal strength but the strength is completely reliant upon the type of antenna you install.

This link is created by a company that also sells products.

Some tech, some not. 62 jobs in 40 years.

Raised in Maine Stocked shelves with Shaklee vitamins for my parents in-home company. They earned a ’81 Ford Thunderbird. $3 / hour incom...