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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?

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DSCF7321Dear Reader,

Here it is, the last day of Give Camp.   We have approximately 4 hours to finish up our work…  much like Celebrity Apprentice or Face Off! some of us are frantically coding DSCF7320and putting on the finishing touches of our work in the final 4 hours.  It’s been another crazy, while awesome adventure as always.  What is different than other years is engaging in this event in the shadow of the events of the Boston Marathon only a week past.  The impact on our non-profits and this event has been profound.   Profoundly good.   In addition to our technical work, we have raised funds for the victims of the bombing and for Sean Collier.   Catching Joy spearheaded creating cards for all the wonderful protection and support people of greater Boston.   Catching Joy’s growth as a non-profit has been skyrocketed this year with an overflowing of interest from children wanting to better the world and not knowing where to start or how.   TDSCF7336hey will be holding 26 special events during the coming year in anticipation of the next Marathon and in memorial of this last one.  Catching Joy’s entire impact will be on the very young children of the area and growing them into adults who know how to redirect the negative back to the positive.

There were two terrorists for those events.   Give Camp had 23 nonprofits + approximately 150 volunteers + many corporate sponsors.   Although the impact of the terrorists was profound, our impact will be greater.   I always tell my friends that this weekend is good for my soul.   It refreshes my humanity and reminds me of the beauty of the world around me.   No year has this ever been more true than now.


Dear Reader,

I used to pat myself on the back…   I was an intelligent user of the internet!  No viruses for me!   I ran antivirus, didn’t download, didn’t visit online porn….   Until…..
It attacked from out of nowhere…   eating up my resources, my drivers, my operating system…   Ok evil enemy of users everywhere…  I’m technical and I can rid myself of this menace.   So…  I ran all my scanners and virus removal tools… to no avail!  This one was stubborn!   With my work schedule I did not have the time to fix this… so I finally admitted defeat and took my computer to a specialist… a friend of a friend… that kind of thing…   turns out I had a rootkit virus, which I kind of figured.

For those of you who don’t know, a rootkit virus attacks computers at the operating system level.   They put themselves on your computer at the lowest level and take over and do all kinds of horrible, awful, yucky things.   I had thought of just backing my information up and then reloading the operating system.   The problem with that was I had no way of knowing if I would also back up the virus and then reload that as well!

Plus I was hoping to save my existing system.   Dave (from D.A. Computer) dug in and removed the virus… ran in-depth scans to fix the computer and make sure it was ok, paid attention to his intuition when he knew something was still wrong, and fixed my computer!   Horay!

The moral of the story?   Run antivirus, don’t be an idiot, back up your system, and go to an expert when you need one…


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,

This year 30 non-profits benefitted from the hard work and dedicated volunteers who gave up a weekend to devote themselves to improving the world.

I saw some old friends from the previous two years — RESPOND, Catching Joy,… and made new friends this year …  besideds my own group, If I Were President ….

In these final hours of New Englad Give Camp 2012 my team, “Team Invincible”, wraps up all the hard work from this weekend.  We created a new application for The Covenant Shelter in New London, CT.   It’s called CARE and for a brief overview, the 5-slide Powerpoint is on YouTube below.

Left to right, back row:

Shawn (developer),  Olivia (organization), Lee (organization), Dan (developer)

Middle row:

Phil (technical team lead), Evelyn (me – design), Chris (developer)

Front row:

Kara (Phil’s Daughter, Data entry, SCRUM assistant, cheeerleader, gopher, and future dev)

Although I have lots of experience with PowerPoint this was my first attempt at publishing on YouTube….  Its a little rough, but very viewable…


Cranky Woman Waking Up

 

Dear Reader,

Pre-dawn and coffee usher in the beginning of the first full day at Give Camp…  my cot delivered a decent night’s sleep…  Green Mountain delievered fantastic coffee as always…   The first stages of our project was worked on until the wee hours of the morning to gear up for a full day of coding from all of us… including our team lead’s 11-year-old daughter who is serving in some criticial functions as gopher, post-it maker, and data entry clerk!

“I love it when a plan comes together!”

The only flaw —  I left the battery charger for my digital camera at home and now the battery is dead.   No photo album this year. 

 


Dear Reader,

I was working with a new client who has his own business from home and has a home network setup.   He needed an extra pair of hands integrating his new computer running Windows 7 into his existing setup with an older XP computer.   I was fighting with some odd behavior, hidden issues, and lo and behold the new compuer connected wirelessly and printed!   He was thrilled and so was I.

That hairy problem having been resolved after much fighting and frustration, we were moving on to other issues.  All of a sudden, nothing was responding!  Ugh!!  My worst fear… did I accidentally mess something up on the new computer while I was configuring everything?   It seemed to straighten itself out very slowly.   I subscribe to a few professional blogs.   I logged in the next day to learn that the Internet barfed  at the very time I was working with my client.   That’s my official technical diagnosis.  It barfed.  For more, read the article “Who Broke The Internet?”  Probably the same practical jokers who found it funny to crash the computers in school while I was working on my final project.

What are the odds that the day I’m doing intensive Internet work, the Net actually dies?   Urgh….

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