Master vanity renovation

I replaced the old, nasty vanity and sink in our master bedroom with a new (to us) double sink. It took me forever to do, since I’m not so great at texturing and plumbing, but my wife was understanding with the slow progress. 🙂

I had gotten quotes from a few vendors and contractors and was finding this job would cost at least $2500!

So I scoured Craigslist for a long time until the right one popped up. The seller was about 2 hours away from me and needed to get rid of it ASAP. They informed me that it was going on the curb for free a few days after I inquired about it (they had a move-out deadline).

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The broken engineering interview process

Imagine yourself in an interview, sitting in front of 5-10 others of your field. Midway through, the group’s questions drift from the personal and work experiential to the assessing and cross-examining.  They ask you to step up to The Whiteboard, marker in hand, and prove what you know.  Never mind that you’re not fresh out of college and that you haven’t taken a formal test in some time. Gone are the days when a good professional portfolio and list of references, along with a teamwork-minded personality, can get you a job.

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The Benefits and Drawbacks of OEM Partnerships

Written in collaboration with Mary D.

Every company wants greater, better and more business coming their way – and partnerships are often a necessary and fundamental way to getting there. OEM partnerships are a way for companies of all sizes to team up and focus on one particular product. Many of today’s most successful products would not be what they are or nearly as successful without the invention of OEM partnerships.

As with any partnership, certain matches will work out and others will not. Recognizing and considering the benefits and drawbacks of an OEM partnership will ensure that both parties set specific goals and go into discussion with some background as to what they should expect from one another.

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Redesigning our family finance

The art of personal finance has been a topic of interest for me for most of my adult life. Some people feel strongly about it, choosing all manner of tools, software, processes, etc.; while others employ no real system at all, opting for a more intuitive sense of financial decision-making. That’s a wide spectrum of fiscal personality, but make no mistake: family finance is a deeply personal experience. It’s no wonder that there tends to be a lot of emotion tied up in our financial lives.

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Ukrainian Outsourcing

I had the most bizarre confrontation last year in my gym locker room — a place that is supposed to be a bastion of privacy, comfort, sometimes camaraderie — from which I haven’t really recovered.

Charles is a jovial sort of guy.  He’s in his mid to late 50s.  He’s gregarious and extroverted, often seeking out quiet-type guys to chat up. I don’t doubt his sincerity and desire to connect with other men; in fact, it’s a quality of which I’m somewhat jealous, simply because it doesn’t come naturally to me.

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The mystical comfort of music

Immediately following the 2016 US presidential election, the very last place I wanted to go to for comfort was my church.  I’m not alone in this.  I attend a fairly-conservative, mostly-white Republican Evangelical church in a similarly populated town.  As a registered Democrat, I suddenly felt politically and ideologically “naked” among my fellow parishioners like never before.

Weeks before the election, while explaining to my first grader the simple first-grade ethics of mutual self-respect, gender equality, compassion for the indigent, I was struck by how these ideals have somehow been lost on a host of the very people that espouse such virtues from the pews.  The mantras of “build a wall”, “lock her up”, “grab them by the pussy” and other patently anti-Christian bully sentiments surely are at odds with the core beliefs of my fellow churchgoers.

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Cloud Computing: Myths Vs. Reality

Written in collaboration with Mary D.

Cloud computing has accelerated communications and the exchange of ideas, bringing the level of interconnectedness to unimaginable heights. This was also made possible thanks to innovative advancements in the A.I. technology sector, which have provided Cloud services with the capability to extract and condense information that can help a business overcome competition and reorganize its organizational infrastructure effectively so that ideas can be continuously recycled and perfected to the benefit of customers, clients and partners—including participants in other even peripheral areas of industry that can benefit indirectly from this inter-change of information. It is the very fact that it has encouraged an inter-disciplinary approach which makes Cloud technology so important to the general public and business/industry in general. But despite the great opportunities that it brings to job seekers in general, there subsists the myth that it cuts jobs, while in fact, quite the opposite happens to be true. In the cloud industry in particular, the demand for cloud computing experts significantly exceeds the supply, meaning that there are a lot of unfilled diverse job positions only in this industry.

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Customizing Chrome’s “new” tab

Ever bore of the new tab screen in Chrome?  It’s what you’re presented with after doing a CTRL + T.

Well, with the magic that is extensions, you’re free to change this.  There are a host of replacements available on the Chrome Web Store.  But I’ve always appreciated a low-tech, unobtrusive approach.  I’ve used the Google Art Project screen, which puts a new great work of art on your new tab.  For days that I feel overstimulated, I’ve opted for simply a blank tab.

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Email, the new Todo

Shockingly, over a year has elapsed since I last spoke about my digital life-hacking.  That’s a pretty terrible commitment to the discipline of writing and contemplation.  I can blame that on so many things: raising small, needy humans; steadily growing home-improvement lists; active social calendars; too many screens and not enough books.  But the truth is, writing is hard.  And everything else can be easy or more immediately fulfilling.

But here I am again, ready to get back into the work of expressing myself… and getting more organized.  The upshot of the rather long hiatus in this series of articles on productivity management is that I have this nice big data-set from which to draw my conclusions.  Which is rather rare for me.  Typically, when I find some “new solution” to an old problem, I’m too quick to conclude that the new is better.

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The king is dead, long live the king.

What I’m reading a lot on social media is a very determined effort to falsely equivocate either Obama or Hillary Clinton with Trump (whether their characters, their campaigns, or their future presidencies).  In my view, this is particularly disingenuous.  To put Obama’s presence and stature or Clinton’s experience and dignity up against Trump’s impulsiveness and braggadocio and call them basically the same thing just isn’t being honest with one’s self.

This, I think, is probably the most insidious choice that voters made because it assumes a “pick your poison” baseline, that both are bad.  Further, a vote for what is “lesser of two evils” excuses all the other bad traits about Trump.  It essentially doesn’t matter how bad Trump was, is, or will be: at least he’s not as evil as “that nasty woman.”

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