Category Archives: Personal

Positive Motivation

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and by the time you left that conversation you felt… energized?

At work I have a job.  I “head” the technology office.  I’ll spare the exact title, but that’s what I do.  I have a job description, with various responsibilities and tasks.  But what I am at the core is a resource.  And I feel like I’ve been doing a poor job at making myself available.

Part of the problem is, with me and my two coworkers, there’s three of us and about 350 staff members to support.  Most of my “direct” resources go to Administration.  That is, after all, the building that I’m assigned to.  But I feel like I’m not “out there” enough to really feel what the needs are.  I have my work order portal that tells me where the big problems are, and what to prioritize, but I don’t interact with people much.

Should I? Can I? How do I make the time for that?

This is going to be a tricky balancing act.  But again, after the conversation I had (that concluded just a few minutes ago), I feel like I can make a difference.  I should be working harder.  I have more that I can give.  I don’t know when I can do it… but I really feel like I can help more people then I currently do.

It’s 2 AM… And I’m Up

T’was the morning before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except me. Boring me. You see, I tend to suffer from self-inflicted insomnia.  It’s not persistent, and not chronic (thank goodness).  But about once or twice a week I get stuck “on” and can’t seem to shut off my brain.

Here’s the funny thing – I’m stuck thinking about something fun.  This isn’t typical.

Since we last spoke (more then a year ago…. wow….) I’ve taken on a very large, very time consuming and very difficult project.  It’s enjoyable and rewarding when everything works as intended, but it has pretty much taken up all known free time.  Personal programming projects, my NJ Devils empire, and things like video games and model trains have all taken a back seat.  Even home improvement projects have been pushed aside.

But not today.

You see on Monday I did a bit of work around the house.  Tuesday I did work at my parents house.  So Wednesday, I devoted time to play with my trains.  And now… my brain is stuck on trains.  Which is silly because in a few days I’m going to go back to my time consuming side project and not touch the trains for another 6 months.  But it’s nice to step away from it and get stuff done on the ol’ layout.

So what’s keeping me up?  Control.  (Train geeking out will begin in 3…. 2…. 1….)

I’m not interested in DCC (that’s where you can control each engine individually, wirelessly, remotely).  I like the standard throttle at a control panel at the front of the layout.  It brings me back to when my Dad had a layout and I would work on it with him (or, more accurately, I would mess with things and then he’d have to undo it all to make it work again).  So far I have the yard wired up, the main line and one spur wired up, and now I’m wiring up the turntable, spur that leads to the turntable, and 6 tracks off of the turntable.  I even bough a fancy momentary double throw switch to operate the rotation of the turntable.  Of course during the cutting of the hole to fit the switch in, I stripped some paint off of the control panel so I had to dig out the can of paint and touch it up.  But while the paint was drying I ran some new cable out to the second spur, wired it up, and labeled many of the controls with a P-Touch labeler.  OCD? Absolutely.

Okay, so it all sounds good, but now I need to wire in some power.  Currently I have an old MRC Tech II power pack handling the power to the tracks.  And I bought some laptop power supplies that will provide power to the switches, turntables, and accessories.  My problem: because of the space problem I have – which is I have 5′ x 9′ of space and so I made a layout that takes up all 5′ x 9′ – I have a control panel that swings out and can be “put down” so it lays flat against the side of the layout.  This lets me pull the control panel up when I want to play and lower it when the trains are “put away.”  (I also put casters on the legs of the layout I built, which I’m still proud of, as it makes it a cinch to wheel out and work on the layout!)

Now here’s my dilemma – I can’t mount the power pack to the control panel because, well, the control panel swings down and the power pack will just fall off.  I also don’t want it to stick out like that since I need to walk by that area to get to the other side of the garage.  My intention was to abandon the power pack control and just use the laptop power supplies with a custom built knob to control the train’s speed.  The problem?  I’m not an electrical engineer.  And the “simple” controls I found online look like this:

Since I’m using a laptop power supply, I think I can cut off everything to the left of C1, and because I’m using an Atlas controller which contains direction switches, I think I can cut off everything after R5.  It’s all the stuff in the middle that I don’t really know what I’m doing.  Like what’s that icon that repeats at the bottom over and over – it looks like an antenna or something.  Is that ground? Isn’t ground that round third prong of a plug? Or is that neutral? Or are those AC terms but this is a DC diagram?  Oh, and what happens if I short out the track?  I know that’ll happen because, lets be honest, I tend to short things out.  On the good ol’ power packs, there was a little red light that would light up when I shorted it out.  And in a few seconds, if I removed the thing causing the short, the light would turn off and the world would return to normal.  If I do this fancy circuit above, what happens if something starts to short out? Do I create a meltdown?  The laptop power supplies I bought say they have overload, over voltage and short circuit protection, but is that good enough?  Will it protect the circuity above even though that circuitry is after the protection?  And if it does work, what happens after I trip the short circuit protection?  Does it reset after a few seconds like my good ol’ MRC power pack?  Or once it trips, it’s fried?

So that’s why I can’t sleep…. And I am not posting this to really get any answers, but just because I have this stuck in my brain.  I think, though, after penning this post for the last 45 minutes, I’m going to try to go back to bed.  It’s 3 AM and I had ambitions of getting up at 9 so I could do more work on the trains before dinner with my family tonight.  Anyway, if anyone reads this, have a Merry Christmas!  I hope to post more than once in 2016…

Headed Down The Shore

I don’t have time for this! It’s a strange sensation.  I know I need to step away from my work from time to time. But I get an anxious and stressed out feeling immediately before and afterwards. Is it worth it?

Hello, my name is Kyle, and I’m a workaholic.

I am not sure where I went wrong here.  I know in High School I had difficulty saying no. Now I head up the Technology Department at work and it seems as if all I do at work and outside of work is work!  Granted, this time of year and for the next couple of months is really our busy time.  And don’t get me wrong, I love the work I do.  There’s just so much of it.

i had a conversation with someone the other night who told me how he wanted his tech people at his work to share information, processes and knowledge with each other so that not one person kept this information to themselves.  That’s great in a Pollyanna type world, but I can’t seem to a) find the time to accomplish  a task like that, and 2) everyone else in my department has their own nonsense to take care of.

For now, I’ll just keep up the had work I guess!

Lets bring back AIM

For those of you who are too young to know… or too old… funny how that works.  Sorry- squirrel!

Anyway, For those of you who aren’t ages 25 through 40, AIM was perhaps the most popular way to communicate in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  Before (The)Facebook and before MySpace, before texting and Tweeting, people had conversations online.

It’s a strange concept today.  You see, somewhere along the way, people stopped listening.  But since we’re obsessed with just blurting out everything about our lives regardless if someone is actually paying attention, services like Facebook and Twitter have become increasingly popular.

Alright, I know this is a bit of an exaggeration.  In fact, I know for a fact that at least 35% of people[404 citation not found] don’t actually post on Facebook.  Take my wife (please – ha!), for example.  She doesn’t actually post on Facebook, she just reads what everyone else is posting.  And today she’s started Instagram-ing.  Sort of.  She hasn’t posted a photo yet!

I actually don’t have any social media accounts.  I had stated once at a class reunion, “By golly, I wish I conversed more with these here folks.”  (Apparently in my memory my reunion was in the deep south.)  “I should get that there Facebooks so I can talk to them friends again!”  Later, I was informed that that’s not what Facebook is for.  You don’t have conversations, really.  Just post stuff about you, and then if a friend found it worth reading, they’ll “like” it.  And if they were really jazzed by what you said, they may even post a comment.

Oh! And it’s also used a lot for posting “Happy Birthday” to to your “Friends” once a year.  Facebook should come up with a way to auto-schedule that.  It would save a lot of time!

So going back to my original problem, I think we need to talk again.  Not to 1,000 of your closest friends, but to individuals.  And if you’re really feeling ambitious, start a group chat!

Oh screw it, I’ll just sign up for Google+: The Social Network for Anti-Social People.

Who is that up there?

Just as an aside, if you are looking at that big photo across the top, that’s Pyper.  I’m one of her slaves; she’s in charge.  If you’ve ever had a cat, you know what it’s like.  And chances are, you’ve grown to be okay with that fact.

Hello world!

Most people delete the first post WordPress creates by default.  I think that’s rude.

Hello world! Gosh, every programmer in the world probably started by learning how to get that to pop up when they ran their program.  I suppose it’s dull, but it was so exciting to think you can control the 1’s and 0’s.

Well, anywho, Hello!  What is this place? You see, I don’t have Facebook.  I don’t like Facebook.  No, I’m not the kind of person who believes Facebook is out to get me. What company is trying to learn everything about me and and use it for evil purposes?  Google? Facebook? Microsoft? Answer: D) All of the above.  But I’m okay with that. Really. I’ve grown to live with the fact that privacy means nothing as soon as you connect to the Internet.

I just don’t like Facebook because I see what it has done to my Wife.  Seriously, I watch her get sucked in to it, and get so enthralled in other people’s business.  That can’t be healthy, I figure.

So here’s where I’ll post my musings.  Things I’m in to, things that catch me as funny, and it won’t be lumped in to “walls” or “news feeds” or able to be “liked.”  It’s just here. You can read it if you like, or you can leave and never come back.  There’s no obligation to be my friend here. And I won’t be posting pictures of food either.

Welcome to my personal corner of the web.

Oh, and so it’s understood: On the sidewalk of life, you’re going to step in some poop.  You just have to ignore the smell and keep on walking. ~ Me, circa 1999