One of the side effects of taking a journey of gratitude, is that all of the trivial complaints and whining around us takes on a deeper contrast. The more that I am thankful for what I have and what is around me, the more the complaints and whining appear in-congruent to my own personal experience. Lately, in a couple of the web communities I belong too, I am noticing that the negativity is jumping up and down screaming to be noticed. Normally, I electronically walk around these comments and obstacles, normally. I thought I would embark on a journey to complain about the complaints. Highlight the negativity and offer a contrasting viewpoint. I took on a slightly more edgy form of communicating from my normal mode. I was not sure what the reaction would be, but in hindsight, I guess things are pretty predictable.
Many folks like the counterpoint to the negativity, we all slide into negative modes of thinking from time to time and a gentle reminder can be all that is needed for a shift in perspective. Some people really dwell in a place of negativity though and their identify is very closely tied to their behavior. For some people, targeting a behavior is no different than targeting them personally. It was an interesting exchange and I learned something from the whole thing. First of all, I just don’t get personally and emotionally invested in these Internet “dust-ups”, it was nice to read and write without having my face turn red and my veins bulging.
I also learned that doing this is not necessarily healthy for an online community. The non-vocal minority does not live in a negative headspace and nor do they condone or agree with the negativity. They simply shake their head silently and move on. Bringing attention to the negativity only shines a light in a dark corner where it is best not to be shined. It acts as a polarizing element and that is not healthy for an online community.
In the past, a brief dust-up on the Internet would have bothered me, in this case, it was a non-emotional opportunity to learn more about the dynamics of a community and how its constituents deal with differing viewpoints, whether they are gently or abrasively stated. Life is one great big laboratory for examining human dynamics and interaction. There is a lot to learn if you can stand back and observe without being personally invested. I am thankful that even in moments of tension and edginess, that I can draw lessons and see patterns that help me understand the world a little better. A journey of lifelong learning means that there are opportunities in everyday situations; it also means I still have so much to learn.
He who strikes the first blow admits he’s lost the argument ~ Chinese Proverb
I have blogged about the SaskGames site in the past, I have also blogged recently about upgrading the Bixby website to version 2.0 of SMF. Today I am thankful for a milestone reached with SaskGames. I went through the upgrade process and got the site up to version 2.0 from version 1.1.14. Along the way, I had to uninstall some mods that were helpful and it appears they may not be coming back anytime soon. In addition to the upgrade, I took the opportunity to restructure the welcome section to be more intuitive and easier for people to get helpful information about the site. We are now over 200 members and it is important to make things as intuitive as possible. Additionally, it looks like we will be better able to commodotize how members and staff contribute content and volunteer their time. A number of doors are opening that will ease my administration burden.
I am glad that many have found this a useful endeavour and it is helping to create awareness for Thursday Night gaming at the German Club and even FRAG events. It is starting to bridge a gap between Regina and Saskatoon as well. Still lots of work ahead, but I am quite thankful to get the latest version installed and configured and configure the site to allow new member registrations once again. (Spambot registrations are the scourge of the internet in my opinion; I am glad this version has increased anti-spam safeguards).
The responsibility of these projects tend to weigh heavily on me and I am relieved and thankful to have these latest milestones behind me.
A journey of a thousand sites begins with a single click. ~ Author Unknown
Yesterday, we gave our home network a much needed upgrade. Removed some old gear with speed and reliability problems and installed some new gear with some more robust features. Our office is now running 1GB instead of 10MB. That includes my laptop, Kathy’s laptop, and more importantly, our Synology Server. A new wireless router was installed and configured. It is fast, has a strong signal, and is very secure. Additionally, we put in a 16 port switch to power all of the RJ45 outlets in the house. Everything works well, speed is good, and it is a much cleaner configuration. I just like it when things work well and consistently. We mostly want signal strength for streaming music to any room in the house, gots to have our tunes.
The Synology box is now web enabled so I can start to explore using it remotely to access my files. This will help me significantly with logistics. Eventually, I can set up music playlists as radio stations that can be accessed from anywhere. Cool features.
I am grateful to get this project completed and very thankful for all of the help from Jason Husbands (Tafari Consulting). One more project off the to do list. On another note, we got some more work done on our fencing project this weekend. Kathy and I are pretty much done with the demolition and removal and Rob Mann is plugging along with the construction. We are glad he is doing the construction and not us, he obviously has done this a time or two.
We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. ~ Carl Sagan
This will seem like a simple thing to feel thankful for, but I accomplished something significant yesterday. Well, significant in my eyes. I own and administer two set of discussion forum websites. Both of these sites are running SMF (Simple Machines Forum). Both of these sites also are hosted at GoDaddy and were setup using their 1-Click installs. Over the course of running the forums, I have been keeping them up to date by running the 1-Click package updates to apply the latest patches and updates. The whole things has been quite simple and both my forums were running version 1.1.14
Along comes version 2 and there is no 1-Click option to upgrade the forum. I had to dig into a more detailed process for the upgrade. Long story short, I upgraded the Bixby forums to version 2.0 yesterday. It is running well and has some new anti-spam features that will make dealing with the annoyance of spam accounts much easier. I am actually quite pleased with myself and the outcome. I now have to plan the upgrade for the second and larger set of forums. Looking at the suite of open source software I currently run, I have three websites, two SMF discussion forums, two WordPress blogs, and a Coppermine image manager. I enjoy working with the software and can see all sorts of practical applications for these tools.
I suspect another facet of my gratitude has to do with the responsibility I feel to the communities I have created. I asked people to come together to form a community, they have joined either or both sites. That instills a responsibility in me to look after the care and feeding of the site and software. I did not realize how much I was concerned about this latest upgrade until I went through the process. I am glad that a milestone has been reached, sometimes I bite off a bit much with these projects and these little successes help to keep me motivated to forge ahead.
There are two ways of constructing a software design: One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies, and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies. The first method is far more difficult. ~ C.A.R. Hoare
There is a certainly freedom that comes from being open. I have typically been a person who is very open with my hobbies and activities and very private about my struggles. Pride I guess. This blog entry is about open disclosure.
I do not have a devout following for this blog, I do not have a large readership. I am not trying to write catchy witticisms so I can attract a following. I am not trying to be viral in any way. The internet is full of people much wittier and funnier than I. They have that niche. So why blog? Why not just write in a journal? A guy at work told me that he would never blog and was surprised that I did.
I started the blog in December of 2007. Mostly, I started the blog to explore what it meant to blog. I did not write often, just an occasional entry. Over time, the blog began to take the form of a journal. A place for me to take some time to articulate my thoughts and feelings on a particular subject. It became a great way for me to explore some of these things in greater depth. I like this open format. It can be difficult to be honest with myself and the blog forces me be more thoughtful of what I write. I am forced to dig a little deeper to find the core of things. I have a couple of friends that check into the blog from time to time. It kind of surprises me really. I mean, this isn’t exactly riveting prose. It is silly, but knowing that there are one or two people out there that might read what I write is a catalyst for deeper honesty and sincerity in my words. I have to be accountable for what I write. I needs to truly own my words, thoughts, ideas, emotions, and forms of expression. It becomes easier to write after awhile. It becomes easier to face foibles and flaws. It is easier to be human.
There is a gentle transformation taking place for me. I deeply believe this exercise of daily gratitude is starting a fundamental shift in how I process and reaction to situations. I am very glad to be taking this journey. To the one or two of you that come across this blog entry, thank you. You are the subject of my gratitude today. It is in knowing that you might read the words I write that I derive benefit. You have helped me be more sincere about my efforts and more honest with myself.
A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world. ~ Blogger