Lessons Learned in 2018

1.  Cord cutting step 1 – Replace DirectTV with streaming service(s) – As one of millions who decided to ditch cable and/or satellite TV providers, our move to YouTube TV (w/ local channels, 6 accounts and unlimited DVR) was one of the best decisions of the year. While a plethora of options exist for your replacement, be prepared for the shyster-y tactics of the behemoth providers to keep you hooked on their overpriced offerings.

2. Cord cutting step 2 – Replace landline with VoIP – A major benefit of converting our landline number to Google Voice (using ObiTalk) was NO MORE SPAM CALLS! We retained our home number of almost 20 years and now have phones (along with 911 service) in almost every room of the house. As a bonus, our voicemail is always transcribed into an email, and our “landline” can now send/receive texts.

3.  Cord cutting step 3 – Replace security system with Nest – While I shouldn’t be documenting this on the Internet, the Nest experience (Secure w/ Hello) is well worth the extra $$. The camera and alarm combo is quite useful for deliveries and visitors, and the built-in cellular option with battery backup allows operation even if the power and/or Internet are out.

4.  Hanging pictures with ease – The hands-down easiest way to hang something on the wall is with the Beehive picture hangers (available via Amazon). Two tiny screws attach the hanging bracket, and leveling is accomplished by making tiny adjustments of the picture frame. Long gone are the days of tape measures, stud finders and sheet rock anchors as hanging becomes a hassle-free 5 minute task.

5.  Curtailing identity theft – Over the past few years, we’ve had our credit card number hijacked more than a dozen times along with a falsified tax return filed in our name. With a few simple tweaks, we’ve minimized our risk and the associated headaches.

a.  Have you been hacked? Look yourself up and fix your identity on the dark web.

b.  Freeze your credit report at all three credit bureaus. Yes, you can temporarily unfreeze it as needed, and no, it won’t affect your credit score.

c.  Get a separate travel credit card. Use it exclusively when out of the country (or w/ small vendors in the states). First, you’ll have a backup while traveling, and second, there’s no need to re-establish all of those recurring charges on your main card, if/when your travel card gets jacked.

2018 Second Half Publications

My latest postings elsewhere on the Internet from the second half of 2018…

Zenoss Blog

Industry Articles

Notable Mentions / Contributions

2017 Publications

Over the past year or so, I spent more time writing in various forums, and I wanted to find a way to capture these musings in a common place. First, some family and friends have asked to see some of these articles, and second, I wanted to be able to reference this material in a common way. Consequently, I created this follow-up post to provide links to some of last year’s material and plan to make periodic summary posts to capture future writings (possibly quarterly).

Zenoss blog

Industry articles



Social media charter

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been doing a bit of social media housecleaning and really trying to answer the question of what to post and where to post it.  Through the course of investigating best practices in combination with defining some new objectives, the following outlines the latest game plan.

Willemstad, Curaçao


  • Work and industry related, specifically around software and IT
  • Colleague connections and conversations
  • Postings from blogs, if relevant to above


  • Work and industry related, specifically around software and IT
  • Career related
  • Colleague connections
  • Postings from blogs, if relevant to above


  • Still in flux as it’s the grey area between friends, family, work, and career
  • General topics such as tech, career, odd current/local events, etc…
  • Postings from blogs
  • Public photos on topics listed above


  • Family & close(r) friends
  • Non-public photos and comments
  • Targeted life postings based on audience
  • Postings from blogs
  • Non-techie subjects


  • As the title suggests, improvement ideas, suggestions, things that really helped us, etc…
  • Landing/launching point for other social media outlets

Retrofitting existing networks may cause some unintended ruffling, but hopefully, this blog post explains the reasoning well enough.  Honestly, why anyone peruses my content is baffling to me, but having this cheat sheet should provide some consistency and revive my previous zeal to post more.

Uncertainty & Stock Options

Scoring a job online

Are you interested in minimizing your career opportunities? Do you plan on staying at your current position forever? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, there’s no need to continue reading. If you answered otherwise, you might be surprised at how much your online presence is limiting your career and in ways not often considered.

Over the past six months, I’ve read no less than five different Web articles preaching about how individuals need to spruce up their Internet persona, but most of these suggestions seem to be written by someone who hasn’t hired someone in the past 5 years or who just recently discovered the Internets. These warning stories often focus on the need to avoid and remove embarrassing pictures, comments, or opinions that might hurt your chances with certain employers. Sure, this is sound advice, and if your heart rate is increasing just reading this, there’s no better time than the present to start thinking about the permanent nature of posting something to the Web.

For everyone else who realized the naked keg stand pic probably shouldn’t be in the public domain, the problem is much more subtle (or not subtle in some cases). Over the past several weeks, we’ve been trying to fill a software development position and during this time, I’ve been amazed at how many people have compromised their chances in the search pool due to their online apathy.

No Parking

Here’s a sampling of my favorites. Granted, none of these would necessarily constitute a candidate veto; however, first impressions are still valid even in the cloud age.

1.  Profile picture is the Geico caveman. The software craft is creative and all, but I have to wonder how many serious companies are looking for a senior caveman. For those Gen-Y’ers who are thinking “the codger doesn’t get it”, I challenge you to consider a few things. First, for every hiring manager that thinks this is clever, there are ten that wonder if this is a serious candidate. Second, if personal expression is the intent, I recommend something that exhibits originality a lot better than a plagiarized advertisement image. Advice: To create a connection with someone beyond what a boring resume can provide, upload a decent head shot of yourself.

2. Personal Web site has more broken links than a bicycle in a blender. For those in the more technical fields, this is a great way to immediately impress an employer with examples of your best work, and it’s a free advertisement for your ability to “get things done right”. Advice: Simply stated, your site needs to work, or it should be taken down.

3. Objective statement says NASA, but the work history says Sizzler. Shooting for the stars is admirable; however, making the move from part-time Frisbee golfer to senior VP of anything is likely to take more than one step. Advice: If you don’t like what you are doing, start a new career or create your own company, but if you want to progress in the same field, choose an objective that will convey that you understand your current skill set.

4. Where’s Waldo? If you have a name like “John Smith” or “Brad Pitt”, it’s understandable why you aren’t anywhere on the first two pages of a Google or Bing search. Typically, just being part of a couple of professional directories such as LinkedIn, Plaxo, or an up-n-comer like Brazen Careerist is enough to get the search engines to make you findable. Many readers will use the excuse that this will cause them to be spammed or have headhunters calling, but my many years of Internet transparency and exposure disprove these myths. Advice: Use the Internet as a tool to better your chances of being discovered and contacted by adding and maintaining a profile on one or more professional social networking sites.

5. You did what? Does that job at the global waste management company mean you were lifting trash or running the company? It’s always confusing to see a list of company names with no job titles or descriptions, especially when cut-n-pasting the information from your resume is so simple. Advice: Add job titles and some information about what you did at each job.

6. You are busier than every other busy person in the world. Having a subpar public profile is not helping your chances, but violating the rules of common Internet etiquette will absolutely destroy your chances now and possibly in the future. For instance, responding to email is the electronic version of shaking hands when it comes to building professional relationships, and this applies to the messaging systems that Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites use. Frankly, I’m always flattered if someone sends me a message via a comment on my blog or my Twitter account, so I do my best to always acknowledge this with a simple reply. Advice: Even if the job doesn’t interest you, the response and networking opportunity should never be dismissed. Also, confirm that you will be notified via the right email address or text message when people use the proprietary messaging systems used by social media sites.

While writing this post, I often received feedback that someone shouldn’t be excluded for one of these reasons. Sure, there’s no doubt a superstar candidate will overcome many online flaws, but the process for finding superstars is indeterminate. I was tempted to use cleaning up a house to be sold as an analogy for how to approach an online presence, but selling a house only happens a couple of times for most of us. Selling yourself, on the other hand, is a never-ending process, especially with technology allowing someone to market himself or herself globally, 24 hours a day for almost zero cost. Unlike sprucing up the landscaping, a professional network can’t be developed in day, and since you never know when someone is stopping by, why not get your online house in order.