How to create a blog tutorial available

I’ve created a simple tutorial to print out, to help people set a  WordPress blog.

 Some people prefer step by step instructions

You’ll find them at create a blog

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A life changing event

I spent the weekend at one of the most inspiring events of my life.  I will be updating this blog within the next two days with an overview of the event. I will discuss ‘what you missed out on’ if you weren’t there.

A Path with Heart – Don Juan

From Carlos Castaneda: “Don Juan’s Teaching”

Don Juan said:
Anything is one of a million paths.
Therefore you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path;
if you feel you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any conditions.
To have such clarity you must lead a disciplined life.
Only then will you know that any path is only a path,
and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you to do.
But your decision to keep on the path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition.

I warn you. Look at every path closely and deliberately.
Try it as many times as you think necessary.
Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question.
This question is one that only a very old man asks.

My benefactor told me about it once when I was young, and my blood was too vigorous for me to understand it.
Now I do understand it. I will tell you what it is:
Does this path have a heart?All paths are the same: they lead nowhere.
They are paths going through the bush, or into the bush.
In my own life I could say I have traversed long, long paths, but I am not anywhere.
My benefactor’s question has meaning now. Does this path have a heart?
If it does, the path is good; if it does not, it is of no use.

Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart the other does not.
One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it.
The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.

The trouble is nobody asks the question; and when a man finally realizes that he has taken a path without a heart, the path is ready to kill him. At that point very few men can stop to deliberate, and leave the path.

A path without a heart is never enjoyable. You have to work hard even to take it.
On the other hand, a path with heart is easy; it does not make you work at liking it.

For me there is only the traveling on paths that have a heart, or on any path that
may have heart. There I travel… and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length.

And there I travel looking, looking, breathlessly.

Don Juan, a Yaqui Sorcerer

I’ve posted this in response to a comment about  ‘the possibility of  Technology and the heart being an oxymoron’ listed under ‘Another Digital Fathers Day’, I feel that it is extremely thought provoking.

Hopefully I haven’t breached copyright.  It comes from one of the books by Carlos Castenada. My favorite was ‘The Journey to Ixtlan’…buy the book.  Many people mind find the word ‘sorceror’ confronting.  The original word was ‘Brujo’ and doesn’t translate properly. 

TH – alias drNerdy

Little USB audio box for podcasting

I’ve been looking around for a simple solution to an audio issue I’ve had for some time.  In the past I’ve had a computer set up just for audio.  Over the years I’ve found myself working on numerous other computers when doing web related tasks.

So here’s the issues.

  • Most computers have average quality soundcards
  • I have good quality audio equipment ( Mikes, mixers, preamps, recorders)
  • Average soundcards have low quality AD converters (Analogue to Digital converters)
  • Low quality converters degrade the audio when it passes through them (quality in < Garbage out)
  • The sound that you end up with to use in a multi media production is just not a good enough (If you care about what you do)

So here’s what I did.

I went to my local musical instrument shop and purchased a little box.
The little box has a couple of a LINE inputs. 
In a nutshell, line inputs are the sockets that you’d plug audio cables into. 
The little box has a USB output. 
A cable runs from the little box and plugs into the USB sockets on the computer.

The next step:

I plug a decent quality microphone into my sound mixer
My mixer plugs into the little box
The little box plugs into the computer USB socket
I start up a simple audio recording software application
I use the audio recording software (Audacity) to record speech or any other noise
I end up with audio that is acceptable for the jobs on hand

I’m happy because I don’t need to upgrade the soundcard on every computer I work on.

The box I use is made by Behringer, it’s called a UCA202 U-control. 
http://www.behringer.com/UCA202/index.cfm?lang=ENG

behringer_uca202.jpg

Yes, there are other similar devices on the market.  But this one got me out of trouble when I needed it.

Problems that arose during testing: 

It didn’t like the front USB ports on my computer, but once this was sorted it did the job that I wanted it to do.

It also disabled all the other audio in my computer.  To restore audio functions back to normal, I just unplugged the USB cable.  A clunky solution but the workaround is suitable and only atouch annoying.

There are now a number of products on the market for podcasting, but there are many people like myself that don’t need thge kit because we have audio and music gear lying around.

A podcasting kit will give you:  A mike, a mike stand, a little mixer/audio interface, a cable to plug into the computer, a bit of software to record the incoming audio, RSS software, headphones. 

M-Audio  http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/PodcastFactory-main.html

podcast-m-audio.jpg

If you want to know more about Podcasting. Read “the secrets of podcasting

http://safari.peachpit.com/0321438434

Secrets of podcasting

I need to point out that I don’t profit in any way from making these recommendations 

Sunday morning not throwing plates and liking Blues

Sunday morning is often the time when we are most likely to tell the world to go away.  “When I woke up this mornimg..” sounds like a blues song.  I don’t think I’m ever going to do what I did this morning ever again.  I got out of bed and thought I’d just configure a couple of email forms for some sites that I’m building.   Two hours later my head was hurting, things that I’ve used in the past that have always worked…didn’t, same web host, same form, minor edits…’she no go’. 

When frustration reaches a certain level there is a  tendency to throw plates, (and I don’t mean in a joyous fashion like you would at a Greek party).  It wasn’t until I walked downstairs away from nerdville and put some music on ‘Eric Bibb -Diamond Days’ the awesome acoustic blues singer, that my mood changed.  Once there was an external influence I could then look at the problem from another perspective.  So I tried plan B and guess what, it didn’t work either but at least I was happier and I had eliminated something that could have been a waste of time and would throw fuel on the frustration fire.  So I then forwarded an email to someone else to have a look at, regardless of the fact that it was something that I could fix mysef at some point in the future. 

I guess the bottom line hear is to know when to turn the computer off, step back a little and something that brings joy.

Digital doubles and real dopplegangers

Have you ever heard that each of us has an identical double somewhere in the world? A bit of a scary thought..I guess we could play with the idea a bit. Imagine if  our double had a sense of design or dress taste very different to our own…and even further, imagine if we saw them in the street somewhere just for a brief moment and we thought they looked just terrible…imagine wearing a shirt like that, yuk what an aweful color… the mind boggles, how confronting.

What led me to that idea was, I was very curious whether my guitar blogs were displaying on Google or for those that wish to save energy, Blackle.  So I Blackled for”tony hogan guitar” and then I tried “tony hogan” without “guitar”, and started wondering if any of my long lost friends or music associates could find me.  So yes, I Googled, Blackled and Yahooed myself for a couple of days (sounds like some sort of party trick) to see the results.  And what I thought was interesting was that there is a Tony Hogan faith healer and also a Tony Hogan artist.    Why this is intriguing for me is because at some stage in the future I’ll be completing my cartoon book and I’ve always been very interested in faith healing because I have seen and  experienced so much evidince of it. 

 So why not Blackle, Google or Yahoo yourself and see what other YOU’s are out there.

Now as for dopplegangers, there are some absolutely ridiculous intepretations out there, anyone that has ever seen one will know exactly what I am talking about.

Another Digital Fathers Day

 I’m new to this wordpress blog and accidently deleted two posts the other day while  I was quickly trying to fix an issue.   Normally I backup everything and assumed there would be a simple way to recover something I deleted in a WordPress blog.  Well I couldn’t find one, so I waited a few days thinking it may have been cached by Google, and it wasn’t because I had deleted it soon after I created it and the Google bots didn’t drop in during that period of time. 

I waited and waited, then this afternoon I thought I’d check and see whether I could recover it and yes!!!, there it was cached somewhere else in the Digital Universe and it was found with WPfind search tool.  So I’ve had another digital fathers day.

Nothing is lost forever, it’s always out there somewhere in Cyberspace.

digital fathers day and byron katie

It’s fathers day in the country that I live in.  That day when your children look at you with bright eyes and do their best not to be their normal selves.  They’re queueing up to make me breakfast (a queue of two) and are organizing outings.  Like most dads I wish everyday was fathers day. There’s a weird similarity between technology and wanting the eternal fathers day.  The digital fathers day is when your go to your workplace and the network is running well, the phone cable carrier doesn’t have vans parked around the corner with men climbing down into holes in the ground ( and for some weird reason your Internet  isn’t working), and there  are no software conflicts that suspiciously emerged after a software upgrade (which was never mentioned to anyone until after it happened). Many times, things like what I’ve mentioned above are beyond our control.  It’s how we deal with things that really counts. As well as good software tools, we also need a number of emotional tools to get us through our days without too much pain. A number of my friends have been working with some emotional problem solving techniques and are getting fantastic results. I guess what we need is something that is simple, universal (meaning no religious or denominational strings attached), with proven results and either free or not very costly.  I have a bit of a dislike for a lot of the new age material that is costly, promises a lot, delivers little and preys on peoples vulnerabilties. If you want some good tools to work with, I highly recommend THE WORK of Byron Katie,  no she’s not from Byron Bay (click on the THE WORK link for further info).  Seeing the changes in people I know that have used her methods has made me realize that regardless of what turmoil presents itself in your life, it can be managed

And I must finish on silly note:  A few years ago I arrived at work and people were running around the building from room to room, looking for the documents they had printed.  Somebody, and that somebody could only have been a couple of people, had changed the printer setup so all documents would be sent to a printer that wasn’t on the same floor that people were working on.  And it wasn’t even April Fools day…. (disclaimer: I take no responsibility for planting this idea in the heads of any employees that have administrator rights at their place of employment)Check out the WORK. Here’s link to her acrobat reader file. I recommend that first yoiu go to the link above and then later come back to this link for more info. http://www.thework.com/pdf/BK_BOOK4_web.pdf Published by :drnerdy 2007-09-01 20:07:31.0

Drnerdy comments are on

 A quick note about comments on this blog.  Dr Nerdy comments are now turned on. 

network and keep your sanity

The most successful  people I’ve met are those that have managed to surround themselves with  the right people, and by successful I don’t just mean those that have the ability to accumulate currency.  I know a lot of extraordinary people,  but they probably don’t realize that I see them as extraordinary.

When you work in information technology and want to keep your sanity, you’ll find there’s a need to create a network of people that specialize in different fields e.g. a networker, security expert, virus guru, designer, coder, marketer, animator, webbie person and most of all, and the one that everyone forgets is somebody that knows nothing about computers but has the courage to say ‘that doesn’t make sense’.  A lot of people try and do everything themselves, generally not recommended if you want to have a bit of time to enjoy your life.  Yes, it’s nice to have an understanding of the different aspects of technology and to be able have a good clear overview of what’s going on but a good network of sharp minds will minimize the frustration that comes from doing things solo too often.

It’s very easy to underestimate  people,  I’ve been caught out many times on that one. About two years ago I had a student in a class for thirty six weeks and at the end of the course she gave me a copy of a book she had written, a true story of how she had floated in the ocean for six days in the Philipines clinging to the side of a broken canoe, include a few sharky things, a desire but shortage of food and no bottle of sunblock and you’ll get a great picture of what was going on…and you think you had a couple of rough days last week!  In the early eighties I got to travel the world for some time.  What a lot of travellers learn is the art of making friends quickly and after travelling for a while they develop the knack of appreciating the short time shared with the people they meet, knowing that they may never see the other person again I’ve often found that strangers have had a powerful impact on my life.   

One of my favourite quotes is “Live life like it’s your last day on earth, make peace with everyone”, and yes it is a hard one to live by because somedays we’ve got more buttons to push than a web development tools download site but it’s one worth pondering, and a great one for a reality check in a world where virtual reality and digital personalities are coming to the fore and for some people more important than their everyday lives.   Maybe blogs in a way are a bit like travelling, we pass through someone elses life briefly as we wandering through the digital world and we pick up some small thing that could be useful to us.  And I’ve also found that it’s the small things that we learn that can bring about great change.

one of my other digital lives

Those that know me are aware that my major passion for almost 40 years has been guitar.If you are interested in music education. Check out my other blog acousticguitarist.wordpress.com

regards drNerdy

the latest techie gadget will make me rich

I’ve decided I’m going to think of the next big thing in technology so I can spend the rest of my years in luxury.  When you grow up next to a surfing beach it becomes obvious that there is a giant market for surf related products.  It’s common knowledge that if you mix IT (Information Technology, not cousin It) with another industry, you will find yourself a niche market, inch wide – mile deep.   At this point I think the obvious solution is the waterproof laptop that either clips onto a surfboard or maybe just attaches by a legrope.  The ads would say ‘wireless waterless networking, send email, chat, blog, watch utube, surf while you surf’. Does this sound silly? I’m open to suggestion so if you’ve got a better idea let me know.  I guess it does sound silly at the moment but so did many other things in the past.

Who’d ever thought that when they first built the Kombi, that people would one day paint them pink add a few yellow flowers, put lime curtains in the windows and head off around the coast. Or even things like Google, with it’s clean looking white interface and simple colorful logo would also come in a black and white version called Blackle to help save energy. 

Change is probably one of the only things that is definite, how we deal with change is the important issue.  If we resist change we suffer but if we accept  things that we can’t change, regardless of what it is, our journey becomes easier.  Any ideas for new technology please contact me immediately.

a pixel, the moon and another cult

Does this sound familar? Person A: “There was a really nice sunset last night”. Person B ” “Not as nice as the one last week”.  Or how about, ” I just got a new PC”….”Ohrr, they’re crap, I only use Macs”.  “I’m going to Bali”….” I was there in ‘79, I wouldn’t go there these days”.   It’s really quite easy to sabotage another persons joy.

Last night I went to see a lunar eclipse, not what I’d usually do on my birthday, but when other people are excited and are claiming it’s lining up just for me and there’s cake, candlelight and other goodies, it’s hard to say no.  So I went.

Sometimes it’s difficult to be enthusiastic about things that others are excited about.  I’ll try to paint a picture here. Anyone that has ever been around fussy graphic designers will understand straight away when I say, ‘imagine staring at a computer screen for an hour watching the design change in a Photoshop file one pixel at a time every now and then, and the designer is saying ‘yes that’s better’, and you’re staring at the screen going ummm…yeah but I can’t really see much difference’.  And then occasionally they change the opacity of the image about three percent and they’re saying “now that’s better”…and you’re there squinting and desperately trying to look artistic and share the experience.  I’ll say this another way…imagine being in a room with somebody and they’ve made a decision to move the room around, and then it starts, they move a piece of furniture one inch,  sit down and say ‘ah yes, I like it’ and repeat this for an hour and ocassionally dim the light a little and you’re thinking Carlos Castenada looking for his ‘spot’ as prescribed by Don Juan…. well that was similar to my experience last night . Yes I did see a bit of orange, or apricot or red and it did look a little 3D every now and then but it was extremely subtle.  I really wanted something a bit more zig zaggy, bouncing across the sky, maybe giant balloon size and so close I could almost touch it.  And yes undoubtably there must have been some groups of people somewhere dancing around in outfits similar to Batman or Zorro celebrating the luna milestone, but where we parked there was only our car in the car park.

So, not to sabotage the glorious moment and try and find a ‘true meaning’ of something that some people think is astrologically substantial, I lay in bed last night trying to get something from the eclipse.  People around me informed me that this was about me aligning my life.  I’m not big on Astrology as I reckon they haven’t found all the planets yet and anyhow Pluto’s been demoted and those that are in the know tell me that Ayurvedic astrology is far superior. 

At about four o’clock this morning I awoke and opened the curtains to find a normal looking fullish moon shining brightly and in a lunatic moment I came to the realization that it IS about me realigning my life.  Credibility of blogger has probably just gone down, but I’ll persevere, I like a challenge.  Well if I’m represented by the Earth, and the moon represents everything I’m wanting and the sun is my hidden potential and that which I’m capable of aspiring to and if I can bring these three into alignment I’ll have an end result that is truly worth something.

So what does this mean in real terms

  1. Check what skills and assests I have on hand that are genuinely useful
  2. Create a real plan of where I wish to get to
  3. Get off my bum and go and do it

So now I’m tempted to start my own Cult, called the ALIGNMENT OF SELF AND REALIZATION OF ONES HIDDEN POTENTIAL SOCIETY PTY LTD.ORG…but I’ll spare the world the extra suffering

 “Well, it’s my birthday and I’ll smile if I want to” 🙂

parting of the digital seas

Some years ago I was sitting in a computer class, vaguely planning my life and thinking about going into the area of computer audio training and consultation, specifically for musicians.  At that time I’d forgotten that although many young musicians had never heard the song by a band called Silver which included John Batdorf, they somehow could probably relate to the lyrics of one of the songs that the band sang, “The rent’s due tomorrow, there’s not a penny to my name, and it seems like I’m learning first hand, what it’s like to be a musician”.   Beautiful song but to be honest, there’s a lot of reprogramming required if you’re going from the ‘poor muso’ mentality to a life of abundance.

One of my teachers that is now a good and absolutely hilarious friend told the class that I was in, that his teenage son had come to him and complained that there was no work around, no future opportunities and he may as well just hang out doing nothing all day.   The response he gave his son that he related to us was probably one of the classic turning points in my life.  He told his son that the job that he was doing now, didn’t exist eighteen years ago.

It didn’t take to long to realise that my original computer audio plan was flawed; it was either too early or in the wrong locality for me to earn a suitable living, regardless of my level of expertise.  My kids were happy and I wouldn’t have moved anywhere else for anyone anyway.   The words of wisdom rang true for me and I realised that I just had to follow my intuition and be involved in technology of some sort, keep myself up to date and things would be fine.  Although I didn’t have a crystal ball to look ahead, I was very confident that opportunities would arise.  Before I knew it I was involved multimedia, specifically Flash Animation and being a creative person, it turned out to be a very good outlet for me creatively and also a great way to make money.

So where’s this blog leading.  These days there is a giant separation going on, a parting of the digital seas I guess.  Some people are hesitant to get involved in technology but what they are up against is quite challenging, not just for them but also for people with technology skills.  Most organisations are swapping over to electronic systems of some sort and even to make a simple phone call to many businesses we have to work our way through a series of recorded messages.  Push one to repeat, two to delete and three to reheat or some other nonsense.  I remember calling a phone company, all I had to do was answer yes or no. The response I got from a pre-recorded message was ‘I’m sorry what was that you said?’ Now keep in mind my accent is not too unusual.  A simple task is so complex now.  Online banking is becoming the norm, music shops are closing down because people are getting music ‘elsewhere’ and digital addictions are now a major concern whether we realise it or not.

So we are sort of cornered here with our new toys, in one way we need to be techie savvy just to get by in daily life but at the same time we need to be very conscious of keeping it in its place or else it could easily become our next serious addiction before we know it.

eWaste and a trail of compassion

Gradually people in the Western world are waking up to the fact that there’s a stream of toxic electronic waste making its way to various countries in Asia and Africa and impacting on the lives of the people that live there, we may not see the long term effects of this at present but no doubt in the years ahead we’ll hear about it.  Within the last twelve months I’ve noticed there has been a shift in the awareness about this issue. Some environmental groups are starting to be proactive in preventing old computer parts being sent to other countries and some council’s have developed programs within their local communities to avoid problems closer to home.

Like most people, ‘stuff happens’ and a few years back I went through a personal crisis involving another person.   I’ll spare you the details but at that time I was very disturbed by a particular person’s behaviour and had a lot of difficulty making sense of it.  Smack bang in the middle of the crisis, a friend of mine said something that ultimately was a turning point for me in dealing with and making some sort of peace with the situation.  What he said was something like “if you want to see what someone is really like, look at their wake”.  I was unfamiliar with the term ‘wake’ at that time but what he was referring to was the trail that a boat leaves behind when it passes through the water.  How this became useful was it gave me the opportunity to look and see whether what I was experiencing was a ‘one of’ situation or whether there were other examples of it.  Once I followed through I found there were numerous similar examples of the person’s behaviour and although the crisis was troubling, once I was clear that it was normal for that particular person to behave a certain way, although still painful, I didn’t take it as personal and it was easier for me to deal with.

So how does this relate to ewaste?  We all leave a trail behind us wherever we go, whether it’s basic consumer rubbish, electronic junk, or the kindness or disharmony when dealing with others, we all have a small role to play in order to help make the world a better place for us and the generations to come.  Whether it’s tossing out old worn out computer hardware or the way we communicate with others, it will ultimately impact on humanity as a whole.  Can we change our habits? Definitely, many people do.  Is change challenging? Of course it is.  Is it worthwhile? Yes, there’s plenty of evidence that removal of unnecessary useless habits can impact on our lives and those around us. 

So next time you’re about to toss out an old computer, you might consider how you dispose of it and where it might wind up.  Or even when you go to purchase a new one, check out to see whether the manufacturer has a commitment to help resolving the ewaste problem and is making products that are a little more environmentally friendly.  And maybe we also need to think about the wake we leave behind us in our daily lives with the people we encounter.  Many people are grieving in their own way and it’s very easy to misinterpret the way they relate to us at times and the way we deal with them could easily impact in a much more powerful way than we could ever realize.  A number of people I work with are feeling the impact of the death of a friend and colleague last week, so at the moment my awareness of this is much heightened.  It’s these moments when we feel our most compassionate and it’s incredible how a few kind words in our daily life to others can make their journey a little easier.