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?


bill-shockDear Reader,

I wound up switching from an unrestricted Internet Provider to a restricted plan because I needed a better connection.   For the first time I encountered datashock.   Once I called up my provider and increased my data for the month, I had to figure out which device was the guilty party and how to manage my errant devices.  For those of you who don’t know data-saving tactics, here is a brief run-down:

  1. Close all your apps. If they are left running in the background they will use data while you are not watching.
  2. For a machine running Windows 8, you can set your metered data settings. Tutorial available here.
  3. Windows 8 also has a built-in function to show estimated data use.  Pull up your networks in the charm bar, right click your network and show data use :Screenshot (19)
  4. For Mac users, its a bit more elusive.  Groovin’ on apps wrote a great post here.
  5. There are a couple free apps in the Apple store Mac users can download to monitor data usage including Onavo:

Screenshot (20)

  1. Make sure apps are not updating automatically if possible.
  2. Video streaming of any kind is your worst enemy.
  3. Make good use of public networks if possible.  Now is the time for a coffee shop or restaurant with free wifi.   The price of the meal is less than your data plan.

Happy surfing!

Dear Reader,

Baseball and baseball players equate to hope ….  an American institution …  personal difficulty doesn’t stop them from playing, personal injury doesn’t stop them from playing and war doesn’t stop them from playing …  and we have hope.  They are good for us.   We are going through a recession about as bad as the great depression and we can get away from it all by going to the game and having a hot dog….

But what do I do now?

Rhode Island has the worst economy in the 52 United States.  Enter our hero, Curt Schilling with his company 38 studios to revive Rhode Island!  Right in downtown Providence — I walk by there.  It’s right near the library.   It’s right near my favorite restaurant,  The AS220.   Right in my backyard.   We loaned him money we didn’t have to spare… $75 million dollars because our hero Curt Schilling would have created 450 new jobs over the next three years as well as bringing untold revenue into the state.

My nephew’s education would have been in much better shape.   My bus trips to and from the job I just got would have been more secure.   People could have received much-needed state-assisted training to meet the needs of employers. The revenue from 38 Studios coming into Rhode Island would have benefitted us all.

But this is where reality diverges from the fantasy of the heroes of movies.   The business failed.

What does the news from 38 Studios itself say?  A Twitter post on May 23, 2012 reads: “RT @ghrig38: Reckoning, 38 Studios first game, has outperformed EA’s projections by selling 1.2mm copies in its first 90 days”  There is a competed game and it will sell. When he was building 38 Studios, in his own blog, Curt Schilling commented on our economic crisis, “I also think there can be no question that it falls on us, the individuals, to find a way out of our own personal crisis, as we can.”  Was that advice only good when directed at others?

If someone takes out a loan to buy a house then loses their job — the house is foreclosed on and the bank gets it back to resell.   In this case, how do we recover our money?   Are we just left with more debt to bury ourselves and Mr. Schilling just moves on to his next project and says, “Oh well.”?  Do we get tied up in litigation paying lawyers more money and never getting ours back?  What does this mean when the individual in question is responsible for so much?  Starting a video game company for fun is a great idea!   But people’s lives and livelihoods were becoming involved in this.   It grew to something more than leisure.

So what now?   Does our hero come through for us?   Or do I tell my nephew that Curt Schilling, like so many others, was ony self-serving?   Do I tell my nephew tha38Studiost his hero was only in it for the glory or it mattered in the long run?

The test of character is what happens when you can get away with anything.  Curt Schilling has the money and fame.   He does not have to be a good guy.  The bulk of the press is on his side, the laywers are on his side, and his former employees are on his side.  I know it is painful to have a vision… a dream … fail.   It must be painful for Mr. Schilling.   This was a dream of his.  This can’t be the first failure he has ever faced.   He became a world-class ball player and that doesn’t come without hard work and some setbacks.  All I ask is please pay Rhode Island back.  Do what any hard working person with integrity would do.   If you don’t have the money up front, set up a payment arrangement over time and pay us back.   Or make whatever business arrangment makes the most sense to get us our money back and benefit us in the long run the way you would have.   Please don’t default on our hopes.

I do not share Forbes’ “silver lining” theory about defaulting on a loan to the state of Rhode Island.  Although Forbes gave a great analysis to why the business failed, I don’t know any bank that would willingly write a loan on what might happen.   “My business failed and I didn’t pay back the loan, but all my employees will find other jobs so its good for the state even if those jobs are in other states.   Can I have more money to work with?”  It doesn’t take an Ivy League education to know that not paying a loan back is a bad thing.

His blog spoke to personal responsibility.   Well, after finishing school, I went through three years of unemployment and plenty of mounting debt.   When I got my job, I began paying off my old debts and not financing new dreams until I could afford it.   Businesses were put out becaue of my financial hardship and they deserved to be paid back.   The reasons for my financial hardship were immaterial — the fact that I wasn’t working had an impact on those around me.  Even though I still qualified for money from the state I did not take it.   I paid out of my salary because I would not futher contribute to the problems in Rhode Island.   I suffered setbacks and failure.   I overcame and found a full time job in an economy where there are almost none.  I did the right thing and I’m not a world-class ball player.   I’m just an individual doing my part.   This is the standard I set for my nephew.

We believed in you enough to finance your dreams.   Please don’t crush ours.

Dear Reader,

The trials of adolescence meet high-technology to pixelize a teenager’s face!

Ugh. | Left-Handed Toons.

Dear Reader,

In my last blog entry, I posed a puzzle that would have challenged Solomon himself.   I had three webpages built in Dreamweaver CS5

all with the same .css attached (see last post for definition of CSS).  I had added images to each of the web pages – different images – all found in the same directory in my website.   When I launched the browser – IE9 in this case – to test the website, the first two pages displayed as expected and my hyperlinks worked as expected.   When I navigated to the third page, the images were missing although the styling from the CSS was there.

I began investigating as I described in the last blog entry.  After being stumped for a bit and figured that my PC was playing a Halloween prank on me.

I looked at the URL that displayed in my screen and noticed something odd.

When I began developing the site, I had created the home page then the css then added the new folder to hold the images.  I proceeded to add a couple more pages.   One of the new pages accidentally wound up in the images folder and I wanted it in the root folder for the site.   So, I moused over it, clicked, and moved it.   Instead of moving the page, I had created a second one by making a copy in the root folder.   The hyperlink was pointing to the page with no image on it and the other page with the image was open in Dreamweaver.   Once I found the problem, I deleted theoffensive page, added the image where it should be, corrected the hyperlink and everything now worked out fine.

The Devil is in the details — or the ghost is!   Happy Halloween!!

Dear Reader,

My latest project is to expand my creative side in internet land.   So… I am working on a demo website to showcase the artistic side of technology using Dreamweaver CS5 and Gimp.     I create my home page and a nice .css[2] file to format it and provide the same look across the website.   So I happily add the images I’ve been editing using Gimp (for those of you wondering why I don’t use Photoshop, more information is at the end of this article.)  I added a couple buttons and links to go from one page to the next.   The home page worked just fine.   The next page after that worked just fine.   The third page… oddly enough… no images!  WTF?!?  I closed the browser and went back to the IDE[1] where I had the page open.   The image was there on the page.  The .css stylings were showing ok in both the browser and the IDE.  Instead of starting at the home page, I loaded the individual page into the web browswer using the F12 key to do it.   The page displayed just fine.   Images and styles from the .css.   So…. I hit the F12 key from the home page… followed the links… my images were gone… but the styling was there… HUH?!? Having hand-coded all my websites, I wasn’t sure if the .css connection was messing up Dreamweaver.   I separated the offending page from the .css.   Ran it the same way I just described and got the same results, but without the .css styling.   Images haunting my webpage in honor of Halloween!

I will be posting the answer to this in the next couple days.   Have fun if you want to take guesses at this one!  I will also post the link to the finished website once its published on the internet.


1.  IDE means integrated development enviornment.   Link throughfor more info atWikipedia.

2. .CSS is a refrence to a cascading style sheet.   A cascading style sheet is used to apply formatting to a webpage to control the look and feel of it for the user.   Link through for more info at Wikipedia.

My budget for my small one-person startup, Livant Enterprises, does not allow me to purchase the entire Adobe Suite of products for this kind of development work.   It’s not that I would not like to use the products.   I was fortunate earlier this year to run across a kind investor who was willing to purchase Dreamweaver and donate it to me for my development work in recognition of my hard work.   I also refuse to use pirated or stolen software in my business.   It has cost me business I could have gotten otherwise, but my ethics matter to me.   My company is comprised of soley myself and my reputation is the only one I have to work with.

Dear Reader,

You all have patiently read my posts for the better part of a year now.   For a bit of a change, I am happy to announce that I will have some guest joining my blog writing posts of varying topics!

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