Dear Reader,

This sounds great on a resume!  “A lifelong learner with a demonstrated to quickly adapt to new technologies.”  What better to ComputerWomanUsingLaptophave on your resume for the IT field?

When I originally found that phrase and added it over 10 years ago, I may not have realized how accurate it would become.   In my chosen field, it’s a good thing I enjoy learning!  In addition to my ongoing work for New England Give Camp (six years and counting!); I just dove headfirst into becoming a certified full-stack web developer through the use of an awesome new program dubbed “Free Code Camp“.

Why not?  Does it mean a few extra hours after work at my computer?  Yes.  Do I hate it?  No.  In fact, it’s hard to tear myself away to get sleep.  Thanks to the information from a colleague at New England Give Camp, I found this awesome free program!   I just have to work through the coding homework.   I get to build an online portfolio of my work and at the end I can collaborate on projects to get work experience.

The best part?  Free Code Camp IconThe work I do will continue to benefit more non-profits.   This  program proves that the best things in life really are free.  The hardest year for me at Give Camp was the year of the Boston bombings.  Give Camp was scheduled a week afterwards and I was taking the Commuter Line into Cambridge about a block from where that had happened.  There were at least 100 people doing positive work that would immediately impact hundreds, thousands and eventually hundreds of thousands.  Little children working with Catching Joy decided that the ugliness in the world should not be allowed to continue and immediately took action to fix the world they found themselves in.  I learned that those two bombers did much less damage in proportion to the great deeds of kindness and positive things the volunteers did.

Every time I see some act of cruelty, terror, or horror sensationalized on the news, I remember the overwhelming number of people actively doing positive things that are NOT in the news.  Thanks to Free Code Camp now, I can make a difference more than once a year.


Dear Reader,

To my great shock it has been over a year since my last blog update.   My return is inspired by my ong12191934_10207654778633334_5611895828087000928_noing volunteer work with WelcomeNew England Give Camp – aka “How 100 Geeks Form A Perpetual Motion Machine”  Six years and going strong!

This year I had the opportunity to work with The Mystic River Watershed Association! untitled Additionally, I had the distinct privilege of serving as project manager again.   I had an awesome team to work with and they deserve mucho kudos!  Nothing is more rewarding than being able to contribute to the ongoing work towards recovering and preserving the Mystic River Watershed and having a dedicated, talented group to work with.

It was a wonderful weekend filled with hard work, education, and inspiration.   The hard work speaks for itself.   I learned a lot about our natural river watershed in the process and some of the flora and fauna.  Until this weekend, I thought Alewife was the end of the line stop on the Red Line in Boston.   An alewife is a fish and its common name is said to come from comparison with a corpulent female tavernkeeper (“ale-wife”).  My inspiration always comes from the dedicated non-profits we work with.   They devote themselves all year long to work that I’m unable to do myself.  Knowing that I am able to make a difference to them and to those they benefit is reward enough for a weekend out of my life.


Dear Reader,


My fifth year as a volunteer finds me as a project manager for Transition House at New England Give Camp 2014. Screenshot I feel honored to be able to  serve with an incredibly talented group of individuals – developers, graphic artists, and non-profit organization.  By the end of the weekend, we hope to have a new website built in WordPress and updated with a more modern look from when the site was first created five years ago.  Thanks to my awesome teammates, we are quickly working together to meet our common goals.

imagesCA34F538Dear Reader,

At the start of my career in 2010 I wrote a blog post, The Insouciant Life in The Bit Bucket, wherein I wondered if  “… I have to abandon everything I care about for the practical reality of earning a paycheck?”   At the time, I was yet to land my first full-time job in the field of technology.   I was fortunate to have embarked on my career in the company of individuals possessed of high integrity and character.

Now, working that full-time job as a successful technical professional, I can answer my own question.   No, I do not have to abandon my principles, ideals, and cherished values to earn a paycheck.  “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”  Matthew 16:26.   This principle which dates back to approximately 70 – 100 A.D.

As I have been in our very competitive workforce, this principal has become very clear to me.  My relationships with my colleagues and my personal integrity are more important to me than money.   There, I’ve said it.   I’ve committed modern heresy.  I knowingly run counter to our modern culture where the pursuit of money is the all-encompassing god of our time.  We worship it, sacrifice for it, and do whatever it takes ethics-and-complianceto have more.  You need to do whatever it takes to get money.  After all, greed is good and generosity is for suckers.  Or is it?

When I began my career I was openly jeered at for my work ethic.   I was called a “sucker”.  I was told that hard work was for suckers and the key to getting ahead lay in taking advantage of others.   However, I believe in the timelessness of ethics more than public opinion.  Three years later, I find myself ahead of most of the United States in terms of employment and lifestyle.  I do not have anything I did not earn by hard work and integrity.

So am I writing this merely to brag or be self-aggrandizing?   Not at all.   I’m writing this to assert that contrary to popular opinion, ethics and success are not mutually exclusive and it can be done.   The other advantage is that it brings long-lasting satisfaction and true happiness.   I have my self-respect because I never compromised my personal ethics or integrity to get where I am.  Regardless of the road you take in life there are sacrifices to be made.   I chose not to make the sacrifices of our current culture – that of using others to get ahead at the cost of personal relationships.

Related articles

Dear Reader,

Exploration and Innovation have previously been the domain of Universities and Governments marshaling their collective resources.  How does humankind’s drive to colonize Mars in the digital media age take shape?   In the form of a reality show.   Yes, you heard right, Reality show.

It is possible to think that television has been lost in the sea of digital media, but apparently not.   From its inception, television has been leveraged to communicate, bring us together as a digital society, and socially engineer our future selves.   Presidents became closer to mainstream America, we share entertainment, atumblr_mqxvemvpsO1r01w8mo4_1280 (2)nd we witness events as a nation. We all held our breath while Apollo 13 was clinging tenaciously to life.  Broader still, other countries share our adventures into television media.  Although television now has rivals in the Internet, Cell Phones, and Tablets, television has grown to be a dominant force in our global community.

Television with the onset of reality programming has provided  Mars One‘s entrepreneur,  Bas Lansdorp, with the means to finance his dream of colonization of Mars.  Mars One is a non-profit organization working towards the goal of colonizing Mars with the first four people by 2023.   Working within our current technology, Bas, is currently seeking volunteers to go on a one-way trip to Mars.   If anyone ever told you to “Get Lost!” this is the way to do it.

As immediate as 2016, the project will be capable of unmanned demonstration.  The Mars One website showcases a complete list of FAQ’s including the business model, cost of the project, and its feasibility.  Its creator has managed to recruit an incredible amount of support including a Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist, and world-wide suppliers for all the technical resources they will need.

The Journal of Cosmology said, “…, to attain it [an outpost on Mars] would require not only major international cooperation, but a return to the exploration spirit and risk-taking ethos of the great period of Earth exploration, from Columbus to Amundsen, but which has nowadays been replaced with a culture of safety and political  correctness.” in an article exploring the proposal in 2010.   That article goes on to analyze the potential challenges faced in such a venture.

NASA’s footage of Mars Moons passing each other from the Mars surface is beautiful.   There are individuals willing to take the risks involved in a one-way trip to Mars to be able to witness this firsthand:

This will be an epic media event.   mars-one-childrens-t-250The entire worldwide community will watch these events unfold.   Bas Lansdorp has thought of everything.  Where would any pop media event be without T-Shirts?

NewDirectionsInSensoryDeprivationDear Reader,

I often wonder what the introspection of a 20-somthing in the technology age looks like.  Lindsey Arsenault realizes the experiences of life provided by technology pale in comparison to those experienced in reality put her reflections in a recent blog post.  She coined the phrase, “Sensory Deprived Existence” while reflecting on the place of technology in her life.   As an artist, she is a self-proclaimed “raw emotion addict”.   Perhaps its the drive for experience that reinforces the dichotomy of real vs. virtual to her.

40sAs a 40-something adult who remembers rotary dialing telephones and 3 tv networks, technology is not foreign to me; but I conceptualize life as defined by real interactions with people.   When I was 20-something; life consisted of time with friends, family, and real experiences.  For myself, technology is merely a supplement to enhance relationships and my journey through life.   Its a tool not an end of itself.  Even so, there are times that the sensory-deprived existence threatens to encroach on the fullness of days lived out among others.   How often have I been guilty of saying “yes” to the sensory-deprived existence when my love of all things digital takes over?  Saying Yes to a Sensory Deprived Existence.

cloud-computing (2)Dear Reader,

I remember when the internet was on college machines, text-based only, and you could go get a cup of coffee while your conversations scroll up the screen at 1200 symbols per second (baud).  At the University of Rhode Island, if Brown U was down so was URI.   Human nature then was what it still is today.   Remove all the flash and dazzle of parallax scrolling, quad core computing and terabytes of information, and you still have people at the heart of the machines.

So it came as no surprise to me that people tried to hack each other’s accounts, tried to phish for information, blackmailed others, took down servers, or otherwise tried to commit mayhem on a digital scale.  Technology was advancing, not human nature.  The thing with technology crimes is that generally they require more intelligence than a hit-and-run robbery making the criminals more difficult to catch.

For quite aimagesCAMYXG9Nwhile,  I believed the cloud culture to be more fluff than fact – inherently prone to data break-in and server crashes resulting in data loss and unreliable services.   Something for large companies to take risks with for business needs and  Cloud Computing News has extensive articles examining ideas crucial to businesses in the cloud.   Then I got a smart phone.   Between the phone and my home computer, the value of the cloud became apparent.  For a techy, I’m a bit of a latecomer to the cloud.   However, coordinating across devices IS a problem without the cloud.   Some have USB ports, some don’t.  Some are not compatible with others or your friends’ or colleagues’ machines.   He has an Apple … you have a PC ..  they have a Galaxy …   You have an Android tablet … and so it goes….

Apple has iCloud to coordinate, but it doesn’t play well with others – if at all.   To be honest, as I’m becoming more than passing acquaintances with my iPad I’m wondering how Apple gained the popularity it did.  (Anyone feel free to comment here on their behalf)  You can barely multitask, there are bugs just as with any other piece of equipment, and the security is a poor step-child to PC security.

PCs have a variety of cloud applications to coordinate – DropBox, EverNote, and software to create and run your own personal cloud Tonido.

As time has gone by since I’ve been active on the internet, I have realized that the amount I’ve been hacked has been extremely scarce.   One of my accounts was hacked and spamming friends.   I changed the password and solved the problem.   That was it.   Any viruses I caught was from downloading torrents.   I grew tired of repeatedly fighting off viruses especially after I caught a rootkit.  However, its under my control.   Run a good KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAvirus protector, create complex passwords, don’t put identifying information on the internet such as social security numbers, birthdates, and the like and you will most likely be fine.

So the old girl has learned new tricks.   I’m a fan of the Cloud after all.  I may even work to set up my own Cloud for fun.


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