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College Degrees Are Worth It

I graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of the Incarnate Word in the Spring of 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts.

In the months leading up to my graduation, I read many articles claiming that my communication arts degree offered the worst return on investment. I believed this and was very discouraged. And like many college grads, I too let the burden of student loan debt weigh on my mind.

I get it. I have felt it.

Debt is a sore subject with me. I now have an aversion to it. I have become hypercritical of my purchases and scrutinize value to expense to a fault.

It has taken me awhile that realize that value is not numerical. Not everything fits into a spreadsheet. However, I have learned how to crunch numbers better than I ever did before.

Depending on where you are at in life, you’ll defend or decry the value of having a degree. Some dream of having a degree, some declare their value to be useless, and others promote them as the best way forward.

If you work at the university, it is in your best financial interest to defend the value of the degree, no matter what the cost. You may also value degrees because you have invested a lot of time and energy into earning a few of your own. To believe it all in vain would be devastating.

I have been on both sides of the fence regarding my degree’s value. I defend its value because I have one. I rationalize in favor of it because my debt and time would have been in vain, and that would be a shocking reality. But, I also despise the debt that earning said degree put me in.

Since graduating in 2013, I have had time to evaluate my degree’s return on investment, my emotions surrounding its debt burden, and the intangible outcomes that may not have happened without it. I have concluded that this is a multisided proposition.

There are pros and cons. To have and not to have.

I could be without the debt, but I would have missed out on the experience. And when this life is over, my finances will be of little concern. I cannot take my money with me. However, I will be glad that I at least lived, because maybe that was my only opportunity to have experienced what I did.

Assuming I remember or care at all about my youthful experiences. But, I believe I will.

Meeting girls was incredible. I eventually met Kara, my soon to be wife. Without attending UIW, my life might have been entirely different.

And that is not to say that I wouldn’t have met someone anyway, outside of the university, but whichever path you choose is the one for you. As humans, we crave a right and wrong answer. Life is not always so binary.

The more you try to make the right decision, the best decision, the further away you’ll feel from it. Because making the best decision is elusive. It is a rainbow that cannot be reached. Run towards it, drive towards it, fly towards it, you’ll never catch up. Perhaps, making the best decision possible is like catching that rainbow. It is an illusion. The grass is always greener on the other side.

That is not to say there are no objective measures to weigh your decision-making process. There are all kinds of metrics to help you make your decision. But, what I want to caution you of is the fallacy that one metric tells the whole story.

The metrics will eventually contradict each other.

If your degree gains its value by the wealth you obtain or lose with debt, then what would it be worth if it were free? Surely then more education is always welcomed?

And if it is the knowledge that you value, couldn’t you also learn from struggling with real-world problems until stumbling on the solution? Real experiences lead to discoveries that, in turn, inspired your textbook.

Some believe that knowledge is obtained by what is already written and widely accepted. But even textbooks were new at one point.

Education is not a building; education is learning. Learning can happen anywhere and does not necessarily need an admission fee. But some lessons are expensive.

The expense could be material, emotional, or time. Even an opportunity to happen upon a particular discovery could be rare.

That is why knowledge is a treasure. The university gives these unearned treasures like a banquet.

What takes minutes for your professor to explain may have taken the original discoverer their whole life to find. With so many treasures in one place, what a heaven the university must be to all those who were only able to earn a single gem of knowledge.

In a way, the university is a vault filled with incredible knowledge that took years and many lives to obtain. As a student, we are allowed to take from this vault as much as our minds can remember, a truly priceless opportunity.

Now we go out into the world with this knowledge that we possess, and others do not. We paid our dues for this knowledge with our time to learn it and our student loan debt. But even so, it would have been far more costly to obtain just one of the many lessons learned if on our own.

The one who discovers first sacrificed a lot to find it.

The medication that we pull off the shelf was accessible. Just wander into the correct aisle and present it to the cashier. But the group of scientists who originally came up with the drug, that was a journey—a very laborious and costly one.

That is what your degree is; that is your education—an opportunity to glean as much unearned knowledge as possible. Because you could attempt to do it all on the outside, but it would be almost impossible by yourself.

So what about the Internet?

Where do you think those answers originated?

All of us are further ahead because of the unearned knowledge that was shared with us. Even our ability to read and write in a language that we did not invent ourselves furthered us along.

That is what the university is about, furthering us all collectively. Once graduated, the world may not recognize your value at first. And you may not even realize what you have to offer, but the absence of what you provide in the world and the abundance of which you have is your value.

Two salespeople go to the county where the citizens do not wear shoes. One runs back home in a panic wanting to leave in fear that no one is interested in his product. The other salesperson requests all the shoes he can get sent over because he recognizes the opportunity. The need is the opportunity.

Various industries need your field of study.

For me, my field was communication. How many industries struggle with effective communication? It’s an essential need.

You’re needed, and your degree is worth it.

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Viral Vilification

For several years since the 2008 Presidential Election, I have made strides to distance myself from the political negativity that permeates American social life.

I learned a valuable lesson in the election season of 2008 when I wrote a vile comment in response to what I believed was an offensive political post. I unleashed rage in response to a Facebook post that I had interpreted as more ugly than the poster likely intended.

In short, I lost a friend. Upon reviewing my comments with a more level head, I realized that my response was overboard. So, I deleted the statement but too late.

From then on, I made an effort not to engage in political arguments online or offline. Hard work and years of effort gradually distanced me from the temptation of political rage.

Right now, I am witnessing a majority engaging in it. It is ugly and will lead to division.

Now that we are connected more than ever before, it is easier to divide.

There are many news posts online that I recognize as fake. I am not referring to “fake news” as much as I am referring to blatant misinformation.

I read one post that referenced a real executive order from over 20 years ago, but the Facebook post claimed the order was about something very infuriating. When in fact, one can look up said order as it is a matter of public record and find it was about financials, not the ugly horror the post claimed.

Viral vilification is very easy now. Those behind it should be ashamed of themselves for the damage caused.

Perhaps, this has always been around. Wars begin with misunderstandings, tempers, and poor moral choices. Word of mouth spreads the twisted views of another group like a virus. Now it is easier than ever.

Misunderstandings between people can begin with ineffective communication and flawed reasoning. This divisive toxin can spread through social networks both online and offline.

The more connected we are, and the more instantaneously we communicate, the more vulnerable our society is to an explosive political eruption. It is like dominos set closely together; it is effortless to start a chain reaction.

I believe that technology and mass communication is for the most part, beneficial. But, as with many innovations, it can be used both intentionally and unintentionally with devastating effects.

Let us be mindful of what we spread. Negativity pollution on a large scale can lead to scary consequences. With an incredible reach, we hold a great responsibility to share positive and truthful messages.

Standing up for justice is essential, but do so positively. Spreading anger will only stir up trouble as it will spark a wave of counter anger leading us all into chaos.

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Too Many Emails

On August 15, 2004, I created my first email account with Yahoo. My first email was a welcome message informing me that I had a whopping 250MBs of email storage.

On October 9, 2013 I retrieved the first email message ever received before it was deleted. I am glad that I was able to preserve this screenshot thanks to a Tweet I posted about it on Twitter.

For many years, I used this account exclusively and gleefully sent and received emails from my middle school classmates. When it came time to search for universities and scholarships, I used this email to request more information.

My college search was the beginning of the end for this email account. I signed up for many scholarship programs, and that’s when the emails started to pour in. My email account began to become unusable. Actual malicious spam began to flood my inbox.

Thousands of emails flowed in, some legitimate, others dangerous, both were too much for me to keep up. So I began blocking as many email addresses as I could.

At the time, Yahoo allowed for a block list of 500 addresses. I used every last one of them and still couldn’t get the spam under control.

Shortly after that, I began experimenting with other email providers. Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, and dot Mac (later known as MobileMe and finally iCloud). I made dozens of email accounts and ultimately gravitated to Gmail and iCloud.

I wanted an iCloud account because I was a big fan of Apple, but once I ran out of storage, I switched over to Gmail. Gmail has been my email provider of choice since, because of the tabs that sort personal messages from promotional ones. Even with these measures, I still manage to get 43,000 emails.

Other inbox and Unroll.me were tools I used to filter out some of the marketing emails. Even with these tools, my Gmail account finally did fill up, and soon, I was off creating more Gmail accounts.

The trouble with email today is that so many businesses find it necessary to spam me into purchasing their product or service. These practices make my inbox practically useless. At some point, I’ll run out of storage, and I either have to spend my money to expand it just to receive more of these unnecessary emails or simply create a new account.

Marketing works when few are using a particular method. But, when everyone does it, we have information pollution. Think of it as an environmental hazard, but for your brain.

With news sites, broadcast television, social media, and political campaigns all trying to get our attention, we have such little awareness that we can give.

Marketers who use emotion, particularly negative emotions, pollute the public’s mental health with negativity. Everyone else shortens our attention spans as we are overwhelmed with too much, mostly useless information.

I recognize that if this were 1999, this blog post would likely reach more than it does today. There are 250 billion websites (not all of them active), more sites than people on the earth.

We can’t all be number one on Google. We can’t all have everyone’s attention all the time. So we should focus on getting the attention of those who actually want what we have to offer. It’s easier that way.

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How Many Domains Does Aaron Garcia Have?

A quick search in Google suggests a query for how many domains do Google and Amazon have. Not that anyone is searching for how many domains I have, but I’ll tell you anyway.

On March 30, 2008, I bought my first domain paleolithicfilms.com. At the time, I thought it was silly to buy my name. Over 12 years later, I think it is ridiculous that I didn’t buy aarongarcia.com when I likely had the chance.

For a good while, I only owned one domain, paleolithicfilms.com. I used it for everything, from blogging about my life to creating URL shortcuts to my Google Slideshows for class. Eventually, I realized that the name Paleolithic Films is not only hard to spell but also had nothing to do with what I was posting.

So, one day while riding with my parents in the backseat of their car, I got the idea to buy photo4dollar.com. I was starting to think about business and, more specifically, photography. Most photographers charged more than $1, and I thought it would be an excellent way to attract attention online. So I bought the domain.

And I did nothing with it. After holding on to it for a while, I let it expire. Instead, I opted to purchase a new Top-Level Domain (TLD) agarcia.tv.

Again I used agarcia.tv for all sorts of uses that had nothing to do with Online Television. Initially, I had intended to use the domain for online streaming. I attempted that, but eventually, I used it to blog about my political views, post my class essays, and share my professional portfolio.

I liked the domain because it was short and, in my mind, memorable. But just like Paleolithic Films, it was hard to remember for everyone but me.

While attending the University of the Incarnate Word, I got the idea to start a social network. Notably, a social network dedicated to education. A place where students could publish class notes for those who missed class because they were sick or in sports.

The site was uiwstudy.com. I was very excited about it and shared the idea with my classmates and professors. I even got a lawyer interested in it over the legality of posting scans from textbooks. Because most professors like to share scans from other books and distribute has a handout. If you missed class that day, you’d want that handout as it is a class note. Posting it to UIW Study would then attract copyright infringement attention. The lawyer said he’d defend me if I had the cash, but unless I’m as rich as Google, it is advisable not to try it.

After holding on to that domain for a while, I let that one go too.

Then I got the idea to create an app called Shuttle Tracker. And you guessed it, I bought shuttletracker.com and held on to it for a while. The site did what I intended for it to do. It advertised an app that was never fully developed. I received lots of emails about when I’d finish the app from the school newspaper and student council.

Sadly, I let it go after never finding the time to finish what I started. Now it’s for sale for thousands of dollars by a domain squatter. For the record, that was my idea, my domain, so that you know.

Then I met up with a group of guys who wanted to take photos of ghost towns. I suggested that we start a documentary series and launch a website. We called it Deserted Texas, and so naturally, we purchased desertedtexas.com. Since I had the misfortune of buying so many domains and never using them for their intended purpose, I let my friend Johnny buy it this time. And just like me, he too let it go after a while.

To keep the dream alive, I bought desertedtexas.org just before the original domain expired. Redirecting all the traffic to the new domain, I’ve maintained it since and almost let it go last year.

You can imagine how much money ICANN has made off of people like me who buy random domains and then let them go and buy more domains.

And you’d think I’d stop there, but no, I didn’t.

I realized that agarcia.tv wasn’t memorable, so I bought agarciatv.com. And that was short-lived, because I realized that no one is searching in Google for agarciatv. Only me.

Then aarongarcia.net became available. The wise person who bought aarongarcia.com owned aarongarcia.net too. I guess he let one of them go. And I picked up with gleefully. Yes! Finally, a domain with my name in it.

I forgot to mention that somewhere in this long history, I bought aaronjosephgarcia.com, now realizing the error of not owning aarongarcia.com. But that’s a long domain. I almost let that go with desertedtexas.org but renewed at the last minute.

Because I owned so many domains, my friends and family started confusing aarongarcia.net with aarongarcia.tv, so I bought that too. You can see where this is going.

My domains were either too long, not related to the broad range of interests I have, or too expensive! Certain TLDs cost more than others.

While owning so many domains and launching so many websites, eventually family members wanted a website of their own. So I bought three more family-related domains to host genealogical records.

I even bought llamaleads.com and leadsllama.com to start a business around websites and marketing. I couldn’t decide at first, which name sounded better, so I bought them both. Eventually, I let one of the names go.

This story is getting long, so I’ll summarize a few more purchases. I bought newhonda.club to create a work-friendly blog to promote the dealership I work at.

I bought aaron.video for my growing YouTube channel. Then garcia.love for my wedding and digital scrapbook with my future wife.

Because of all the domains, I purchased I have gotten good at transferring them between registrars and updating DNS records. So why not make a resource website aaron.help?

This reminds me I once bought osxtutorial.com for the same reason, but it was geared to Mac users wanting to learn more about the computer. Yeah, I let that go after Apple renamed OS X to macOS.

If you’ve lost count of how many domains I own and have owned, I am right there with you. The good news is that by holding so many, I have learned a lot about web administration.

And don’t get me started on all the domains I manage for other people and businesses.

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2011 Apple MacBook Pro with Defective GPU Runs Manjaro Linux Perfectly

Kara bought a lightly used 2011 MacBook Pro from my cousin. She got a good year of use out of it before the recalled GPU failed. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until after the GPU failed that we discovered the recall. Now that the window has passed, a fix would cost $500, according to Apple, at a 3rd Party. The only logical thing to do at that point is to buy a new computer, a Windows Laptop.

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Time to upgrade

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I imagine Apple was hoping for us to spend a few hundred more and buy a new MacBook Pro, but no, we bought the Motile 14 Laptop instead for $279. The MacBook Pro, still looking like the day it was purchased many years ago, remained in my closet, collecting dust.

Now, this was relatively recent. The laptop went kaput earlier this year. My cousin only used the computer a handful of times over the years, so this delayed the inevitable GPU failure that was unknown to all of us. It was only after a year of regular use did it fail.

Seeing that it was overall still in great shape, I thought about trying to fix it myself. Since I’m more of a software than a hardware guy, I looked for a digital fix.

Some Googling lead me to a line of code that disabled the GPU’s power and forced the laptop to use the integrated graphics card in safe mode. Unfortunately, macOS was very buggy in this mode, and I decided to install Linux on it instead. Figured there was nothing to lose.

My first choice was an old copy of Ubuntu Linux, likely version 14.04 LTS. I didn’t realize how out of date it was, so I updated until I couldn’t anymore. But the newer version depended on the GPU and would not boot up automatically, so I had to power the computer a few times until I could run failsafe graphics mode.

Not very usable. It’s like having to jumpstart your car every time you want to go somewhere. It works, but not entirely well.

Eventually, I decided to install Manjaro Linux. I had seen it on distrowatch.com and Linus Tech Tips. The interface looked clean; I liked the green GUI.

So far, the laptop runs much better. The startup is slow, but I don’t have to run any unique modes to get started. Unfortunately, when I close the laptop lid, just as before, the laptop doesn’t go to sleep and overheats, eventually draining the battery. The only fix I see for this is to suspend the computer or better still turn it off manually.

After using Manjaro for a week, I like the OS a lot! It just works. I know that’s a Mac quote, but it is also right about Manjaro. I use the screenshot tool to grab images for my blog; my workflow feels like a Windows or Mac computer. I don’t even notice that I’m working on a Linux OS. That’s what I was looking for, an OS that didn’t make me feel limited.

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Manjaro Linux on a 2011 MacBook Pro.

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I would like to see Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo, and Affinity Publisher on Linux, but aside from that, I can edit 4K videos with WeVideo.com. Most tasks can be accomplished in Chrome, or in this case, Chromium.

Even Kara used Manjaro without noticing anything different. That’s a good thing. It means I can install Manjaro on all my old computers and make them feel new again.

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COVID-19 Cases Drop and San Antonio Decreases Risk to Moderate

The endless talk about COVID-19 pushed me to tune out the news for a bit. For a while, I was reading it every day, but it filled me with worry as I’m sure many others feel.

The last time I checked the City of San Antonio’s COVID-19 risk assessment, we were between critical and severe. Now we are at a comfortable moderate.

I’m ready for life to return to normal. The concern over an impending pandemic has stolen much of 2020 from us. Time with family during Easter, Fiesta was canceled, birthdays were celebrated at home, and no time at the beach. This is no way to live.

We had to, though. At least from what I know and what I hear, we had to prevent a deadly virus from spreading. It may not have affected me directly, but we don’t want anyone to fall victim to it.

Even so, how many weddings were held in backyards this year? Graduations were in parking lots. Games canceled. So much of our year was taken from us. Perhaps we’ll appreciate what was lost more when allowed to return to normal?

Even when we do return to normal, there will be a new normal. COVID-19 did help me avoid getting sick this year. I wore a mask everywhere and stayed away from people. Every other year it seemed I came down with something. I don’t miss coughing and sneezing at all hours of the night. So, to some degree, masks are an excellent thing to keep around.

woman having a video call
Photo by Edward Jenner on Pexels.com

The move to remote online meetings is also welcomed.

Black Friday will likely be online this year if it is held at all. We were moving in that direction anyway. This is not saying that I don’t miss going to the store and seeing all the new laptops on display, because I certainly do.

But, if I am going to buy something, I can just as quickly buy online. That’s the change—the move to online.

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Third Parties are Changing Industries

Like it or not, third-parties can change an industry from the outside. TrueCar, Cargurus, Edmunds, and Cars.com changed the car business. Expedia, Priceline, Trivago, Orbits, and Travelocity changed the hospitality industry. And similarly, Postmates, Doordash, Grubhub, and UberEats will change the restaurant business during COVID-19.

When restaurants were closed during the shutdown, I began ordering food through delivery apps. The price of a meal tripled. But, grew accustomed to the convenience of not having to wait in line, fight traffic, and only eat what was nearby. Now I order from an app, and usually, I click reorder on a previous order to make decision making more straightforward.

The trouble with this change is that if a restaurant chooses not to use a delivery platform, they’ll miss out. That gives the delivery platform power over the restaurant owners. I suppose this is no different than when the credit cards gained control over merchants.

A third party becomes a troll on a bridge of commerce. One must go through this third party to reach customers and be charged a fee for the privilege.

I believe this is something to ponder while we will not influence this trend. The trend will occur regardless if we consider this or not. Industries are about to be disrupted by apps, by third parties, dictating a fee to be a part of the market.

As consumers, we will pay more in exchange for convenience. We will be conditioned to order particular meals because that’s what the algorithms present to us.

Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com

I’ve noticed that Postmates asks for tips after delivery, sometimes days late. Thus they hide the total cost of the meal. Fees are buried in, appear as a tax to be ignored and accepted unconditionally.

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The Hiring Process is Too Slow, and Career Paths are Unclear

While checking one of my many email accounts, I came across this email from FlexJobs. Three years ago, I was looking for a job. And during that time, I was obsessed with an idea to improve how people got hired.

Dear Aaron,

Historically, a career path has often been referred to as “climbing the ladder”, indicating a clear, straight, consistent move up towards a perceived “highest rung” on the ladder. Well, I don’t know about you, but my career path has been more of a crazy-looking series of zigzags — far from what my college career counselor recommended when I was in school.

But long ago, I’d come to appreciate that it’s okay! There are different jobs that will make sense for you and your life at different times, and we should feel free and confident to choose a job that is most likely to meet our goals at each particular time. Not to beat ourselves up about it.

Certainly, many job seekers are facing a potential zig or zag that they didn’t expect 6 months ago. So if you’re one of those who are struggling with questions like, “Should I take a job that isn’t in line with my career path?” or “What if I have to take a pay cut?” or “Should I change careers?”, remember that you’re not alone, and to have hope there is more than one way to get to your goals.

And we hope to help get you there! Read on for a special discount offer, great job listings and companies hiring, a featured success story, and more!

Many cheers,

Sara Sutton at the FlexJobs Team

To me, looking for a job on job search sites was more like looking for the right movie to watch in a $5 pile of DVDs at Walmart. There is no order, just a collection of different job titles expecting a range of different skills, all while not disclosing their pay structure.

I recognize that the employer has the right to shop for the best talent at the lowest possible price as if we are a product to be discounted. However, every individual has a right to income equality. We should all be able to afford a good lifestyle from our work. Some profit from their work more than others. There is no clear path, and there is a lot of zig-zagging when trying to climb the professional ladder.

I had an idea of how to solve this.

Before becoming a hiring manager myself, I believed that a website similar to LinkedIn that logged all of your certifications, education, experience, recommendations, and skills would help everyone apply for jobs faster.

I recognize that there are many job sites, including FlexJobs and Indeed. These sites help managers recruit talent. The manager receives many applications that range from college students to retired military. It is up to the hiring manager to determine the best fit quickly before the decision to hire for a position is abandoned.

Business is messy. Much like personal finance, budgeting is messy. Sometimes there isn’t a budget for a need. When filling a necessity, the expense displaces the budget for another area. I took too long to hire someone, so the direction for the position changed from above.

From the perspective of an applicant, one might feel as they have applied to many places, and no one wants them. But, the truth might be that the position was a new one and was evolving during the hiring process. For that reason, a proper job description did not exist, and when one finally did get written, it was unique.

In 2010, I wanted to build some kind of system that paired applicants with their ideal job. Much like a dating platform, I believed there was a role for everyone.

My view is changing, but I do believe that the hiring process could be more efficient and less stressful for applicants and managers.

When COVID-19 caused millions to be laid-off during the shutdown, the idea of an applicant pairing system returned to me. Some news articles suggested that 66 million would lose their job.

I began asking friends that if they were to lose their job, would they be willing to pay $15 to be instantly given a new one. All said yes.

If all 66 million said yes to $15, that would equal $990,000,000. Surely, with 1 Billion Dollars, a solution to pairing applicants to jobs would be achievable.

And that would be just the first round. What if this were a service where every time you wanted a new job, you paid $15 and Merry Christmas, you have a new job! Now we’re talking billions of dollars.

So how would this magical service work? A team of people would review every job description available and categorize them. Each job description mentions a set of skills; these skills can be phrased in many different ways, but are ultimately referring to the same ability. That ability would have a unique code. These codes would then be combined to match the resumes that also referenced the same skill.

Now, what about this instant part? With a site that verifies each skill once, the redundancy of proving this to each prospective employer is eliminated.

Answer interview questions once, get a background check, and drug screening once. Not multiple times over. For experience, each job experience is logged. Much like classes are logged in college. When it comes time to apply to a new job, just like with applying for courses, the prerequisites are matched up to allow access to the opportunity.

This idea is not perfect; there are areas where its hard to put people and jobs into cookie-cutter definitions. But, no matter how complex the working world is, I believe it could be studied and simplified. Standardized or at least the computer could use artificial intelligence to recognize the similarities between the job and the candidate.

I also believe that this would be in the national security interested of the United States Government, if not the rest of the world. When an economy is shut down, a nation is in danger of collapse. But, what an economy consists of is organization. The inability to organize people into teams quickly and reestablish the flow of currency puts a nation in danger.

Organization and efficiency are what the economy truly is. Every citizen should have a source of income; a means to supply their material needs. A nation that fails to ensure this for its citizens will be in danger of collapse. It is in everyone’s interest that all people living in the state can maintain their source of income even in the face of turbulent times.

Think of it as electricity. When a storm comes, you want your TV to maintain power without interruption. Sometimes the power goes out. But, if you have a backup generator, it is as if nothing happened. The more quickly you can reestablish electricity, the less inconvenienced you are.

The nation needs continuous economic power. The more resilient we are, the less concerned with the economy will need to be.

I consider it a public interest that we find a way to get people back to work and into the role they should be sooner rather than later so that these people can buy your products and your services so that you may also not be inconvenienced.

A digital system that pairs people with jobs find the right fits would make our economy move faster. People eventually find jobs, they ultimately find their place on the ladder, but if we could make it happen in seconds rather than months, how much better off would we be as a collective?

Time is valuable. This decade should be about eliminating unnecessary delays, mainly because the tools to do so are at our fingertips. Those who are not in favor of digital applicant pairing, online voting, and digital currency are holding us back. Much like those who stood in the way of flying, standardized time zones, and the study of medicine held us back.

It’s time to move forward. It shouldn’t take a pandemic or a war to increase our sense of urgency.

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The First Website

There are now 250 Billion websites, 220,000 of these launched within the last 24 hours, as seen here: https://zonefiles.io/. Sure, not all of these domains are useful. Many of these domains are for sale with a landing page full of advertising. Others are still on a Dreamhost under construction page. But, imagine there was a time before even the first website launched.

Tim Berners-Lee launched the first website as we know them today. On Tuesday, August 6, 1991, Tim changed the world forever by introducing us to the worldwide web. You can still visit the first website today at http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html.

The first reaction to Tim’s creation was three words: “Vague, but exciting…”

What made me so excited about learning this bit of history was that one person could change the world with an idea, that at first is hard to comprehend fully, but eventually will be adopted by everyone. There are still many people who dislike computers and technology in general. Even so, these same people will eventually warm up to it as it will meet a need or want in their life.

I believe that online voting should be a thing. I hear a lot of excuses for why this is unsafe for the voting process or that voting in person is so much more official. I don’t care about these excuses. Voting should be convenient, efficient, and instant. But, I’ll have to wait until the adoption curve captures the majority.

The adoption model above shows that there are stages to the public adoption of new technology. In the beginning, there are innovators—those who try new ideas and do not be convinced to try something new. I would like to consider myself one of those people. I do not need to ask why I simply ask why not? I get excited about building, creating, and trying something new.

Then there are the visionaries, who don’t necessarily create, but they adopt early. They like what we are making.

But, there is a chasm—space between these visionaries and pragmatists. Something has to happen, a trigger point that makes an idea practical and necessary.

COVID-19 was a catalyst for Zoom meetings. But, let me revisit that in a minute.

After the pragmatists, there are conservatives; they resist change. I would call those the school teachers of the world. Sorry, if you think you’re more in line with the new folks, but I see too many school teachers insisting on cursive handwriting and physical textbooks and classes to consider your group early adopters.

COVID-19 is pushing conservative thinkers to embrace technology. One can make all the excuses in the world for not adopting digital learning, the classroom is better, etc. But, now, you had to embrace classes over Zoom! The pandemic didn’t give you much choice.

And that brings me to the laggards. The majority force the laggards to join. If everyone else is doing it, they’ll be dragged along into it too.

Fun fact, in 2008, I typed my Calculus Math Homework. And yes, it did attract unwanted attention at the time. But it came from a desire to push forward.

The file is in 2008 Word Document format for Mac. It will need to be converted, but this document preview luckily was saved as a jpeg in the XML zip file.

My handwriting was very sloppy at the time, and I didn’t particularly like dull pencil lead. The solution was to learn how to type my math homework. I even imported the graphs from my Texas Instruments Ti-89 Graphing Calculator.

Many folks didn’t see why I would want to type my math homework, but to me, it was the future. Textbooks were typed, and so why shouldn’t I type my math homework?

Because I typed my math homework, I still have all of my class notes and homework to this day. These files have been stored in the cloud, buried in 11 Terabytes of data from over the last 20 years. I started using computers in Kindergarten. So technically, even longer than that.

This reminds me of the time I scanned my entire math book textbook with a flatbed scanner during my freshman year in high school. Why? I wanted my first eTextbook, so I wouldn’t have to lug several heavy textbooks in my backpack every day. I also tended to forget a textbook or two in my locker because my bag could only hold so many.

For the most part, the textbook worked. All the pages were named after their page numbers, and I could use the preview function in Windows XP to view two of these pictures at once, making a makeshift digital textbook. Unfortunately, the textbook was not text searchable. You can only imagine my glee when I acquired my first official eTextbook that was searchable.

Point being that modernization takes time to catch on.

Not everyone will appreciate your new ideas right away. But if you keep at it, eventually you’ll be a star. And Tim Berners-Lee put in the work to pursue a new concept that now has billions of followers.

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Unboxing MOTILE 14 Performance Laptop Walmart

If you’re stuck at home and need an affordable laptop to get your work done, the Motile 14 made by Walmart will surprise you!

My fiancee, Kara, needed a laptop to complete her required courses at her new hospital job but did not want to spend the price of a new MacBook. Luckily, I had just watched a glowing review on the Motile 14.

The Motile 14 is available in three colors: silver, black, and rose gold. For Kara, the choice was clear.

The laptop includes Windows Hello facial recognition to unlock the computer. This feature is optional, so if you are not comfortable with facial recognition yet, you don’t have to use it, but if you recognize the convenience of this feature, it’s included! This feature is generally reserved for higher-priced laptops, which is why this $270 model surprised us. It really could be sold for much more.