Memories Triggered by a Football

Memories Triggered by a Football

It’s amazing what can trigger a memory. Usually it’s a scent, travel to a previously familiar place, or even a song.

But today I was looking for something in our storage and uncovered… a football. Not a photo, a old piece of clothing, or even a scrap of paper indicating a major day in my life. A mini football.

This football really embodies an important period of my life, both personally and professionally. You see, this football was purchased, and first used as myself and a hundred or so others entered the world of tech support. We were briefly trained and set loose on supporting a major ISP’s dial-up (remember that?) and DSL internet service. It was my first real “professional” job in a string of being a retail and service industry employee.

It wasn’t my first brush with technology. I have been playing with, programming on, and fixing computers since my friend’s Apple II and my own Commodore 64 in the mid-80’s. Heck, I was a veteran of the internet by 1999 having been on BBS boards and basic ISP service since the early 90’s. I rose through the ranks fairly quickly becoming a TTL (tech lead) in just a few weeks, monitoring calls and coaching techs to get better. I was a technical trainer. I worked on the group’s website to get information out to technicians in three separate call centers. I manually, and eventually electronically developed a call routing system that made sure calls were sent to call centers with availability. I worked with Tier 2 (upper level techs) in the ISP’s headquarters to streamline the support process, even creating a tech group between first level technicians and Tier 2 to handle harder issues that didn’t need direct connection to critical infrastructure tools. And finally, I was reluctantly moved into a management position.

All of this happened in a short time, but that brief two-year job set the next 20 years into motion.

I hunt and play softball with one of my supervisors from this job. Another lives just a block or so up the street from me. I play volleyball with another co-worker. An Officer Cartman doll still sits on my shelf right above my laptop that patrolled my office, a gift from another employee. My next job was a COO (eventually) position managing and working with several people from my teams. Almost every position I’ve had since, regardless of the job type, had someone I either supervised, or worked with at that job. Some of the people I worked with have leadership positions in companies or other organizations, even political positions.

What Is Love - HaddawayThis little football represents so much. I’m still building websites. I’m still consulting on technical issues. I’m still using the internet as the primary tool for marketing and performing work. I even used the internet to listen to some 90’s music while writing this blog post.

The important takeaway today is you never know how the experiences from a current position will affect you in 10, 15, or even 20 years. I am back working with someone I haven’t done anything with in almost 15 years on a new project. I never expected THAT!

Use every project, job, encounter, whatever as a learning experience. Get better at what you do because of it. Get better of interacting with people because of it. That way, when you find your football again, all of those experiences, good and bad, will come back to you as well and make your personal and professional life better because of it.

Have a great holiday season, everyone, and here’s to a wonderful 2017!

BBP : EP 23 – Dropbox Paper & Podcasting

BBP : EP 23 – Dropbox Paper & Podcasting

♪♪ Ohhhh the weather outside is frightful, but the Bison are playing for a title. And I have places to go, but it’s too cold, it’s too cold, cold to snow.. ♪♪

Episode 23 – Dropbox Paper and the Why’s and How’s of Podcasting

  • Dropbox Paper was announced last week and I started playing with it. It’s a meeting management application that allows one to take notes, assign tasks, embed files and videos, and collaborate. Check it out.
  • Why and How Should I Podcast
    • Here’s a simple list of what you neeed.
      • Software : Audacity is a free app, so $0
      • Microphone : A decent microphone will cost less than $100 through Amazon. The one recommended by many of the podcasting experts is the Audio-Technical ATR2500-USB
      • Place to Host/Distribute Your Files : I use Podbean for it’s ease on submitting to iTunes and other resources.
    • Why Would I Podcat?
      • Works like a blog to get a message on your expertise out to the audience
      • It’s primarily passive. Most people listen while they are driving, working, exercizing or doing something else. Podcasts can even be downloaded automatically. Reading emails and blog posts requires an active participant.
      • Notes (like these) can be added and supply keywords and other items that Google is looking for when indexing the site.

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

Oh, and GO BISON!!!

NDSU Bison Football

My 2017 Smartphone Wishlist

My 2017 Smartphone Wishlist

You have a smartphone. Heck, you might even be reading this on a smartphone.

And we take these wonderful gadgets for granted. We shop on them, entertain ourselves on them, run our business communications on them, and some times we just waste time on them. But it’s rare that we’re ever happy with what we have because the next big thing is always six months away, right?

So with the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone almost upon us I thought it was a good time to compile a list of things I want in my next smartphone. All of the flagship phones  from Samsung, Motorola, Google, and even Apple are close, but they always seem to have one or more things missing. I know, I know, there’s only so much space in these ever shrinking product profiles, but a guy can dream, right?

So here it is…

My 2017 Smartphone Wishlist

  • Screen size – I’ve always been a “bigger is better” fan, but the 5″ screen is really a sweet spot. However, knowing I need more space for battery and other stuff, I think we’ll need a 5.5″ screen. Besides, watching videos, reading emails and doing just about anything else is just better on a bigger, more colorful screen.
  • Battery Size : Speaking of battery, we need to find a way to get to 4000mAh batteries without causing heat or cramping of other stuff. We put a more powerful computer that I owned five years ago on my DESK, in my pocket, so the wizards at the battery company can find a way to do this. Also, why every phone doesn’t have wireless charging as an option is beyond my comprehension.
  • Camera : A really, really, really good rear facing camera. Like the one on the Pixel, good, camera. 15-20mp, image stabilization, low light correction, like the Google Pixel. If you want/need to cut corners on something do it on the front facing camera. I rarely use it for selfies, video or anything else, but we need a good main camera, like on the Google Pixel (did I hit that one home?).
  • Case : Drop proof, spill proof, not overly thin and not overly light. I like to feel like I have something made well, but not a brick.
  • Memory : Expandable memory!!! I am a mobile DJ and also run a web design and consulting business. I LOVE to have backups of my data, so if I can have all or most of my websites on my phone, and critical music to play at a wedding all saved on a memory card, life is good. Others could save critical documents, photos, notes, just about anything on their phones. As far as onboard memory, I think any phone needs to be at last 32GB going forward. We all have too many apps and other information to use an 16GB phone anymore, of course 64 is better, right?
  • Speakers : Stereo speakers are a must-have. The end.
  • Accessories : I am a big fan of the Moto Mods. The ability to easily snap on a JBL speaker to workout of sit around a fire outside, easily add extra battery without working with difficult cases, or adding a crazy-good camera to an already good camera is wonderful. Other manufacturers should take a look at this method as an option. I’m agnostic about the headphone port. Although the old ports worked well, the USB-C adapters or wireless headphones get the job done.

Well there you have it. Build this phone, keep it under $800 and make sure it safely goes about its job, and anything else you add to it is just fluff. I hear things like a possibly curved screen on coming iPhones, flip phone smartphones that hinge the screen in the middle, and even have seen phone attachments that project a touchable phone image on your arm. We’re at that point where, like cars, things are being added to the smartphone that are nice-to-haves, not needs. For those of us who rely on mobile computing to run businesses and other parts of our life, we just want the needs covered more reliably and for an acceptable cost.

What do YOU want on your next smartphone? Better selfie-cameras? A standard headphone jack? Let me know in the comments below or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter.

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencing users, I received mobile devices with line of service from Verizon (#ad). No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own. By the way, we meet every Friday @ 2pm CT on Twitter to discuss mobile phones and how you can use them in your daily lives. Join us! 

#VZWBuzz #ad

BBP : EP 23 – Dropbox Paper & Podcasting

BBP: Episode 22 – I (almost) Got My Gacillia Nuts Scammed

More information on this scam on another episode of the BeBizzy Break Podcast!

Oh sure, first another blizzard, and now I almost get sucked into a nut website scam?

Set BS detectors to stun!

EP22 – The Gacillia Nut Website Scam

I almost got taken by a scammer this week. I was approached, through text (?) by a gentleman who wanted a website built for his company based in Washington DC. I do some work with a company out of Boston, and also have had past clients out east, so this wasn’t totally out of left field. But something just didnt sound right. Below is the text sent to me…

“I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in and the company is based on importing and exporting of Agriculture products such as Kola Nut, Gacillia Nut and Cocoa so i need a best of the best layout design for it. Can you handle that for me ?. so i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible .http://www.agroamerica.com.… the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate based on the site i gave you to check out, the estimate should include hosting and i want the same page as the site i gave you to check out and i have a private project consultant, he has the text content and the logos for the site.”

James claimed to be hearing impared, so no phone conversation could be used. Now I know why. An internet search for Gacilla Nut revealed this scam IMMEDIATELY, right down to the exact copy of the contact email/text. Apparantly the next step will be to say the credit card won’t go through, and to provide him with a checking account number so he can transfer money. I think we all know what happens next.

So, I’ve deleted the invoice, and will kill the contract with James. If anything else happens, I’ll report back to you here.

UPDATE : I received the “can you do me a favor” email last night. See below:

“The favor is that I will send you my credit card to charge for the sum of $5,700.00 plus 3% Cc company charges, You will deduct $2,000.00 as deposit for the design of the website plus extra $200.00 as a tip for handling perfect work for me and you will send the remaining $3,500.00 to the project consultant that has the text content and the logo for my website so once he receive the $3,500.00 and you will have the money cash deposit to their account…. He would send the text content and logo needed for my website to you so work can start asap, Sending of funds would be after money clears into your account and you will be charging my card for remaining balance upon completion of work, Kindly get back to me so we can proceed with payment asap”

So the scam is apparently to get paid a large sum, pay his contracted graphic design guy most of it, then I’m guessing a chargeback for the initial payment to me, leaving me out the $3500 to his “project consultant.” Brilliant.

I reported this to the North Dakota Attorney General’s office and was basically told to cut off contact with “James.” Since it’s most likely international and been going on for several years, the likelihood of stopping this from happening again is slim. There is a website run by the federal government to report items like this, so I was given IC3.GOV to file a report.

UPDATE 7/2/2019 – I got a NEW variant of this scam.

Hello Sir/Madam ,

This David Serrano from Kirkland Shipping,We looking for laptop computers to purchase for our new business branch and want to know if you have them available in stock or can either custom order them for us.We also do have specifications we would like the computers to come with and also if you can tell us how much a laptop with these specifications is going to cost for plus tax…Here are the specifications below

    • An i7 Core Processor
    • 16gb of Memory
    • 1tb of Hard drive or 512 SSD
    • Screen Size can either be 13′ , 14′ or 15.6′
    • Must come with a Touch Screen and a backlit Keyboard
    • Either a windows 10 Home premium or Professional
    • Brands can either be Dell ,Apple,Hp or Lenovo

NB : Also advise me if you do take credit card payment , Thank You

In other news:

  • Fitbit bought Pebble watches. I’ve also heard that Pebble is now dead… I hope this isn’t true. My first smartwatch was a Pebble and I loved it.
  • I updated three sites to WordPress 4.7, which came out yesterday, with no issues. Hopefully this trend continues!

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

BBP : EP 23 – Dropbox Paper & Podcasting

BBP : Episode 20 – Change Your Google Password (again) & Sara Hawkins

Well, we’re digging out from our first big blizzard of the 2016-2017 winter here in North Dakota, but that hasn’t stopped us work-from-home guys from getting stuff done.

And just to warm up a bit, I took the opportunity to talk to Sara Hawkins about some basic legal issues this week

Change Your Google Password (again) & Sara Hawkins

  • Googlian – a malware attack was found on over 1million Google accounts that came from compromised phones. For sure, change your password, and you may want to take other precautions if you feel your phone and account has been compromised.
  • Sara F. Hawkins joins the podcast today in the first of a series of interviews centering around why and when you would want to engage an attorney as a small or solo business owner.

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!