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Help me test and support a good cause

April 21, 2013 11:21 by ckincincy

I have just implemented Stripe.com as the credit card processor for ScanHelp.com.

I’d love it if you’d go donate $5 to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Butler county and, at the same time, test out my stripe.com implementation.

Go donate $5.

 

** Why Big Brothers and Big Sisters?  I was a “little brother” back in my pre-teens, just seemed like a cause anybody could throw $5 at.


Now an ISV

May 31, 2012 21:52 by ckincincy

Effective June 1st I am an Independent Software Vendor.

The journey to this started in 2000.  I was a hard working factory man who was presented with an opportunity to work for a friend at Jetsoft Development.  This friend had a suite of software products that he sold as well as a few large contracts with large scanner manufactures.  He needed somebody that wanted to learn, but wasn’t afraid to do the basics for  a while. 

I worked at Jetsoft for six years, going from that entry level role to a full fledged software developer.  Now the owner of Jetsoft was, and is, a personal friend. So we stayed in contact and talked about business at times.  He hasn’t done a lot with his retail products in recent years and was considering what to do with them. 

The market for his products is shrinking, but the question is if it is dead.  Today I start that journey to find out!  I am now co-owner of ScanHelp.com.  My co-owner is Rob Lindley, a long time friend who I also got hired at Jetsoft. 

We have a lot of work cut out for us, but we are MUCH better developers than we were several years back when we coded much of the features in the products we have bought.

The website needs a MAJOR refresh and the products need some life put in them.  I won’t get rich off this adventure, but in many ways it is not about the money.  I have a chance to take the last 12 years of learning and put it into the products that shaped me as a developer.  It is a lot like going back home. 

If you find yourself in the need to scan a lot of documents or pictures, reach out to us at ScanHelp.com and see if one of our products can help you out!


Intex Salt-Water System – A year later

May 13, 2012 19:16 by ckincincy

Last year I blogged about a purchase I made for my pool. I was overall pretty positive about the Intex Salt-Water system that I had installed.  After that summer of use, my opinion never changed.  The system worked like a champ and let us have a great summer of use during one of the rainiest seasons in local history.

I was looking forward to this year as I would have an “opening of the pool” to go through.

Here is where the pool started on April 15th:

IMG_7276

Yep, that is pure green and nasty.

I initially messed up and put WAY too much salt in the pool, but once I got that figured out the pool started to clean up over time. 

Here we are one month later:

IMG_7282

That is ready to be swam in!  The best part is the amount of chemicals I put in this pool.  Zero. Zilch. Nada.

I’m 100% sold on the Intex Salt-Water system.  Would recommend it without hesitation.


Becoming a consultant

May 7, 2012 05:00 by ckincincy

Today marks a new day in my career. 

I’m not a wordy individual and don’t want to make this some big dramatic post.  Today I start with Fusion Alliance a consulting firm with locations in Indianapolis and Blue Ash. 

This is a major change in my career in that I am now a consultant. 

I’m looking forward to the new adventure that awaits.


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Saltwater Pool Systems–Initial Take

June 18, 2011 19:51 by ckincincy

My family moved into our house just over three years ago.  It came with a swimming pool.

I happened to know the owner of the house prior to buying it and during a team party for our son’s baseball team he said something in passing that stuck out to me.  He mentioned all the struggles he had with keeping the pool clean and that a friend of his had some saltwater system that seemed to work well.

I remembered that conversation but did not act on it. 

Summer one with the pool was not to bad.  The weather was fair and the pool survived.

Summer two was a bit more of a struggle as it rained a lot.

Summer three was the same. 

The problem with tough summers is that chlorine cost add up quickly.  So this year we decided we’d install a saltwater pool system.

Due to last year being so bad we had to completely drain our pool and start over.  After draining the pool and getting it cleaned out we started the process of filling it back up with water.  Being a fairly big pool it takes a few days.  We hooked up all the filter equipment and put 4 gallons of chlorine in the pool and let it run. 

During this time I went looking for a saltwater system on Amazon and found one at a good price and figured it was worth a shot.  The Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater System was the winner.

Here we are 3 weeks later and my initial take is that this system is awesome and anybody who has a pool should convert.  During my last three seasons I could only get a positive chlorine test about 2 hours after I put the chlorine in.  Now I can get a constant reading… and I’m not adding an ounce.

The install of the system was easy.  You literally put it in between the house that goes from your existing filter to the pool.  After the water passes through the filter it hits this special system that generates the chlorine. 

The setup of the pool was a little more complex.  For the size of our pool the amount of salt to be added was not completely clear to me.  So I started off with a light amount of 240lbs (FYI, it cost me $50 for 400lbs.. we used 99.8% pure salt meant for water softeners).   After the salt had enough time to dissolve I took my water into Eastgate Pools and had it tested.  It showed to be light on salt and needing stabilizer.   We added 12 pounds of stabilizer and 80 more pounds of salt.  Gave it a few days and took the water in to be tested again.  This time it all tested OK.  Not great but OK.

Our Chlorine tested at 1.1, it is supposed to be between 1.0 and 3.0.  Our salt tested at 2600 parts per million.  This is on the low end for our system and the documentation was pretty clear that a number this low would generate less than idea results.  So we added 40 more pounds of salt.  Now the pool is rocking. 

After looking at the reviews on Amazon the one negative for this product is that its life expectancy can be short.  I look at this two ways.

1. If it breaks within 2 years, it is under warranty.
2. If it breaks after 2 years, I’m still saving a bundle of money.

Take a look at the Intex website to learn more about how it works.  I see NOTHING false about what they advertise. 


A few random links and saved pages

March 12, 2011 22:46 by ckincincy

I have a habit of bookmarking pages as I feel that I need to go back and review the content. 

So, I’m a bit too OCD to have that many random links in my book marks and I’ve had it happen more than once where stuff I bookmarked later disappeared from the web.  Let me share them with you… and at the same time give ma  point of reference!

PC Usability Hacks

Programming Tips

Fun Tips

Hacks

Tech Links

Political/Opinion


My two cents

January 9, 2011 15:32 by ckincincy

So yesterday a tragedy in our country happened.  A congress women was shot and killed.  I think it is justifiable to veer off path of the usual technical nature of this blog and say a few things.

I’m a conservative.  I don’t call myself a Republican, though that is basically the only people I’ll vote for.  There are, however, Republicans I won’t vote for so that’s why I don’t call myself one. 

Immediately after yesterdays shooting it was quickly blamed on Sarah Palin and other Tea Party members.  I found that sad and troubling.  But that is not the focus on this blog.

A contact tweeted a link to an article on the subject of mental health that I think is worth reading.  It was fairly, fair and balanced. 

The main guy that has been talking about this from an official stand point is Chief Clarence Dupnik.  He holds what can safely be categorized as a liberals point of view on guns, so he has been getting a lot of press from folks of that leaning.  Today he was giving his update and near the very end of a press conference he said something that I alluded to on Facebook to another friend of mine.  I am paraphrasing:

“Back when I was a beat cop in the early 60’s when we had issues with people like this we were able to put them into an institution that kept them off the streets.  However, now we just let them run the streets.”

When I was finishing my bachelors degree I had to take a 9 credit course on US history.  A very big part of this was the 1960’s and this very point.  The point made in the class was that in the 60’s psychiatrist and other medical professionals shifted from these institutions to medical help outside of being institutionalized.  So we went from these people being fairly segregated and “cared for” (I put this in quotations, because there was a lot of abuse in this setup) to them running the streets. 

Then in a conversation Maggie Longshore said “we need to make mental health available, affordable & accessible – more important than physical health for society.”

The problem with this is that there are a LOT, A WHOLE LOT of services available.  I am a foster parent, so I am exposed to a lot of these services over and over again. The problem is that these people aren’t healthy enough to go get the help.  In my situation the mentally unstable people happen to have children and that got them identified. That is where the “institutionalization” of people by the cops came into play in the 60’s.  We have the resources and availability.. we just need to do better as a society to identify these people and get them into places that will get help for them.  We have to stop pretending that everybody is OK and all opinions are equal and such.  If a person is claiming that the government is using mind control to control them… they aren’t healthy and they need help.  To pretend otherwise is ignoring a real issue.

Yesterday was a tragedy.  We can turn it into a positive and tone down the rhetoric a bit (just think of the attacks on Palin and Obama) and learn from this situation to identify people like this.  Or we can make it a political “win” for “our party” and contribute to the rhetoric that many are blaming for this issue.


Find My Phone Saved My Butt

November 23, 2010 00:30 by ckincincy

So as I’ve blogged about previously I have a new Windows Phone.  Though, I did trade in my model from the HTC Surround to the LG Quantum.  I wanted the keyboard.

Today a feature that comes with every Windows Phone 7, saved my butt.  It started out with leaving a practice for my son’s 4th grade basketball team that I coach.  I put my phone and wallet in a bag that my assistant coach brought to return some items. I was thinking I’d keep the bag for a few days while I got the stuff home.  So the assistant walked out and started unloading the bag in my trunk and we went our own ways. 

Then I realized I didn’t have my phone.  I started back tracking my steps and I was worried that I put my phone on the top of my car before I started driving.  So I turned around and drove slowly, looking back the 2 blocks I drove.  No luck. 

Then I wondered if it was in my assistants bag and I rushed home because I know of the feature in the phone… I got home and logged into WindowsPhone.com and clicked the “Find my Phone” feature.  Within 30 seconds a map was displayed showing the phone was in my assistants driveway! 

I called him and told him what was up, and I went and got my phone… and my wallet Smile.  What was his reaction?  “Man, you’re like somebody from the future.”

It saved my butt!  Here is what it looks like showing the phone at my house:

findmyphone


November 2 Elections

October 31, 2010 16:54 by ckincincy

Though this is a technical blog, I do believe it is our American duty to vote.  This kind of post is a rarity, so if it turns you off of this blog.  Just breath and relax, it’s a rarity.  If the fact that I’m a staunch conservative turns you off of this blog… good bye, and be a responsible voter and go research your candidates.

So, I try to be an informed voter.  I actually take the time to see who I will vote for.  Now, unfortunately, my job is made pretty easy in cutting out half of the candidates right off the bat.  So my research is to primarily see if there is a Republican I wont’ vote for.

I’ll never vote for a Democrat.  A party that is pro-abortion by default is a non-starter for me.  Enough said about that, now onto the meat of the post.

I started off by going to my local elections board website and grab my browser.  Some were easy, some I had to research.

1. Governor: I’ll be voting for Kasich/Taylor.  Ted Strickland has been an awful governor, and next years deficit is HUGE because of this.  Kasich has seemed to say the right things and I hope he can turn things around in the state of Ohio.  This is also critical for the state of Ohio because the 2010 census has resulted in Ohio losing two congressional districts.  So the party in control of the Ohio house, senate, and governorship get to lead this effort.  Obviously the party in control will redraw the lines in their favor. 

2. Attorney General: I’ll be voting for Mike Dewine.  Mike Dewine has contiously voted in ways I agree with over his long political career. Cordray has shown that he is in over his head in this office.  He needs to go.  I’d really hope that even Democrats can admit he has dropped the ball.

3. State Auditor: I’ll be voting for Dave Yost.  Yost doesn’t raise any red flags, unlike his opponent David Pepper.  Pepper was a democrat on the Cincinnati City Council which is enough to know… to not vote for him.

4. Secretary of State: I’ll be voting for Mandel.  Honestly I can’t tell you why, relative new comer without much history.  But that being said, I found nothing to give me pause.  Liberals seem to hate him, so that makes me smile.

5. Senator: I’ll be voting for Rob Portman.  Rob Portman his a through and through conservative.  Lee Fisher, is part of the leading duo who has helped lose 400,000 jobs. 

6. Congress: I’ll be voting for Jean Schmidt.  I don’t like her, really.  But she votes, the vast majority of the time, how I’d like my representative to vote.  I’d love for a strong primary challenge to get her out of office.

7. State Representative.  I’ll not be voting.  Joe Uecker has been in office too long.  Time for him to go.  I’ve shared emails with him regarding concerns I have about certain legal rulings and he errors on the side of the government knows best.  No thanks.

8. Clermont County Commissioner: I’ll be voting for Archie Wilson.  Look at our county, even with the down turn we’ve done alright.  We’ve lost Ford and had other economic blows, but the county didn’t end up in dire straits.  He deserves some credit for that.

9. Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court: I’ll be voting for Maureen O’Connor.  Let me be very clear, judges have one and only one criteria to earn my vote.  Abortion.  While she was recently knocked down a notch by the Ohio Right to Life PAC, she still is the preferred candidate.

10 Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court: I’ll be voting for Judith Lanzinger.  Same as Maureen O’Connor.

11. Clermont County Common Pleas: I’ll be voting for Richard Ferenc.  Solid conservative.  Kenneth Zuk on the other hand, appointed by Ted Strickland… so it can’t be right.

12.  Issue 4, Fire and EMS: I’ll be voting no.  Are they really trying to raise taxes right now?  Really?  Tighten your belt like the rest of us.

13. Issue 5, Childrens Service Renewal. If there was ever a part of government that needs a season of belt tightening, its here.  I’ll be voting no.  They have cut, but at the wrong places.

14. Issue 6. Mental Health and Recovery Board.  See above.  I’ll be voting no. 


Categories: Personal | Politics
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Is a college degree still a reasonable value?

September 7, 2010 23:39 by ckincincy

Alan Stevens posted that very question on Twitter today.

I may find myself out gunned on this one and start a bit of a flame war, but I’m going to tackle that very question.

Let me first lay it out there.  Alan Stevens and I are two very different kinds of people.  I’m a guy who just went to Quaker Steak and Lube and took out 22 defenseless chicken wings.  Alan is a vegetarian.   I’m about as right wing as a person can get.  Alan, not so much.  So we do look at life in a completely different kind of way.

I will start with my story, because my story is relevant to the discussion.  I graduated high school January 17th, 1997.  My son was born January 11th, 1997.  Going to college really wasn’t an option for me.  However I lucked out and found a factory job paying $10 an hour.  When working the over time I was working and after a few dollars in raises I was able to pull in a decent amount of money for a high school graduate. Then the shift of manufacturing jobs out of the United States started taking full effect thanks to NAFTA, which by the way was signed by Bill Clinton though the Republican party was the driving force of this agreement initially.  In 2000 I saw the writing on the wall and I left my first factory job, for my second (and last) factory job.  This job focused on projection screen tv’s.  With the advent of flat screen tv’s and outsourced labor to China, again the writing was on the wall and I took a very strategic move to a very small development shop owned by a friend.  At that point I also enrolled into the University of Cincinnati.  Here I was, a father to three children, a full time job, and going to school half to three quarter time.  The BEST decision I’ve ever made.  I’ve seen my salary almost triple since that moment.  So the boat load of student loan debt I did rack up is earned back each and every year in extra income. 

Could I have done it if I didn’t go to college?  I really don’t think so.  I think I’d be making good money right now, but not very good money. I even have a very distinct memory of a job interview that I had about 2 years into my college education.  I interviewed with the project manager who loved me.  Thought I was the perfect fit for the job.  Then his boss, the vice president of the company saw my resume.  Saw that I had no degree, 2 years of experience, but no degree.  He immediately dismissed me as a candidate.  That was the end of it. 

Alan stated on his Twitter feed the following to a similar argument: “Don’t let HR drones define what’s possible for you.  Look around. There are plenty of examples of success without a degree.”

I don’t disagree in principal on this issue.  I just whole heartedly disagree with the realities of this issue.  The fact is that there are many places that will not hire you if you don’t have that check box checked. 

Now I don’t think Alan is against higher education, and to be fair he said that a few times in the Twitter talk.  I just think the argument being made is flawed.

Do I think that most students going to college today are wasting their money?  Yep.  By far, most are.  We send people to college to just say they went to college and they come out with a business degree.  What in the world is a business degree? This reminds me of a good friend of mine who happens to have been the vice president of a very large company in the area.  He shared with me the one thing that put him on the right course in life to make the significant salary he was making.  His mom never spoke as if college was an option.  It was going to happen.  Then she made sure to tell her children that once they are done with college they better be something.  Something well defined.  A pharmacist, a lawyer, a doctor.  Something that is clearly defined as a skill.   This is now the same thing I am telling my children as they get closer and closer to college.  Go to school to be something.  Even if you go another route you can always fall back to that skill.  You look over to our IT cousins in India.  The children that are fortunate to go to school are raised to go to school for two things. 

1. Be a doctor.

2. Be an engineer.

Also alluded to in the Twitter talk was the driving force behind the problem.  Money.  Colleges do not care about the well being of the student by and large.  They care about keeping their numbers up and getting as much government and tuition funding as possible.  This is where the break down of the family comes into play.  I have four children.  I’m not sure one is wired to go to college. He may turn out to be my smartest child, but I’m prepared to push him toward a career path that doesn’t require as much intellectual understanding, but more of a working with his hands and back.  It is my responsibility as a parent to help my children make the right decision on where to go to pursue the right skill set.

Now the main reason I think college is worth it is clearly pointed out in the stats around college educated folks (taken from the BLS):

image

 

Look at those numbers, if that doesn’t tell a story then nothing does.  Even with the flaws that I readily admit are in the college system, the employment rate and the income level of college educated folks is nowhere in comparison to those that aren’t. 


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