Jan 21

A big update for AgapeBeacon is planned

Okay, I have a big update to make to AgapeBeacon. The idea is sort of like a Meme Generator… just for Bible Verses. This will help with my lacking in the area of Social Media Guru. The undertaking is huge though, first and foremost is making a database of Bible Verses, now part of that work has been done for me by BibleHub.com but the connections aren’t there the way I would like in order to make a coherent CakePHP app. So the first step is to create that database. Then I will need 20 or so free images that I can use as backgrounds that people can choose from, and we’ll see what I run into from there. I know I will have to update the challenges database as well… since I want the main idea behind the generator to be to create preview images for challenges. I’m also going to have to get into the dreaded AJAX zone, since the verses will be from a database only (not allowing people to put in their own text just yet, even though that would be easier) the user will have to select the version of the Bible, then the Book, and starting/ending verses respectively. I also want a preview to come up and the images will be drawn with PHP just like the other generators around so yeah… uncharted territories.

Jan 8

Where’s the warms?

Got my bike together with a BIG change… I’ve been running mostly stock everything on my bike for 11 years, and aside from several chain replacements even replacing the cassette at one time its been my little work horse for years. It never really complained (except when a chain needed replaced, or if it had gone so far that I had worn out the cassette), and neither did I. I had dreamed about some upgrades, but never really saw the merits of doing so. Riding Connor around on the trailer wore out my rear cassette again, and I was just going to replace that, but my mech’s were sloppy and really should of been replaced as well. After searching around I found it would cost about the same to change over to a more modern drivetrain setup (previously had 3×8 now running 2×10) I thought about 1×11 but I’ve got to keep things a bit realistic since it’s my only bike I need a wider range of gears. After a long day everything is installed and tuned up though!

Now I just need a day over 30°F to get out and test ride this beast! It was costly, but it’s really going to be a new beast, I even managed to change out my rotors! No more 160mm all stainless rotors! Front is 180mm, rear stayed 160 but both are floating now so more braking power and they will stay cooler so hopefully no more rotor scars on the calves :-P (never needed more out of my brakes before I started carrying around a kid in a trailer). Later this year I would like to get some new wheels, and I broke something in the front fork trying to get it apart to clean it… it was junk to begin with (very stiff) but I was unsuccessful at getting it apart, and now it’s leaking. Then it really will be all new!

Jan 3

Slimming down for the new year

To help me focus and save a bit of money, I’m going to trim down the number of sites that I keep around even further. Last year I got rid of every website of mine that had lost its potential to make money, now this year I’m going to let go of a couple more that I just don’t do anything with… I’ve focused pretty hard on getting AgapeBeacon up and running, and if I don’t say so myself it looks pretty good (on the code side). Because of the paid posts I did in the past, most of my sites have, or are in the process of being marked as spam by Google… and I definitely don’t want that. So cutting some of those old sites, then focusing this year on cleaning up the sites that I am keeping… I believe I can reverse that trend. I also need to spend a little bit of time prepping AgapeBeacon’s Facebook page for brilliance! Or whatever, actually my mind is a bit fried… and this is the part of getting sites going that I am bad at. I’ve got a FB page set up, and a few challenges on AgapeBeacon, I just need to continue putting challenges on, then put them on the FB page, and promote those. Hopefully after $100 or so spent promoting the page through FB, and some good challenges being put up we can get a couple hundred followers, maybe another admin (who is less absent minded than me, or at least better at the whole social media sphere).

Other than the “hard” part, more or less the part that I do not really understand, what I have to do is prioritize my sites and get them rolling. I’ve got YourVacuumGuy which does make money (barely) but needs a touch of cleaning up and then to be surrounded by less junk. I’ve got KCLanParty which needs so much work it’s not even funny, it has been broken and useless for years (it still has the old Yahoo ad code on it). I’m keeping kc lan because my main email that I’ve had since high school and have so much stuff connected to it I don’t think I could ever get rid of it. This site doesn’t need much, just some upgrading of wordpress… and maybe the occasional visit to say what is going on, practice for running AgapeBeacon in the future ;-) I’m tempted to drop PetitionsForChange, but the domain name is so good it’s kinda hard… then it has also been my biggest learning zone where I got to practice running a community driven site that has had to deal with spam, lots of incoming traffic (long ago) etc. so I am keeping it around for now as a test platform and place where I get to learn before I go live with features on AgapeBeacon. AnimationCoalition is being kept for future… hopefully I can learn, and build a community with AgapeBeacon that will be a launching platform to get AnimationCoalition up and running. I don’t expect, nor do I want to make any money from AgapeBeacon, I want to use the community to inspire love guided action in Christians around the world, AnimationCoalition will be there to make some money… much, much later. Archmaille is being kept for those rare sentimental moments I have… but I think I’m going to take both of the sites and get them cleared and set up as one more of a place to give away code, and sell myself as a coder? Maybe, or I may resurrect the jewelry shop, using the Amazon Marketplace I think I can just make batches of jewelry I want to sell, and have Amazon do the shipping and logistics? There may be a qualification to get them to handle the shipping so if that doesn’t work coding it is :-P

Jun 21

Your Vacuum Guy Update

I have brought Your Vacuum Guy into the 22nd century, sort of. Anyways, the site has been mostly cleaned up, and secured and everything… I haven’t got everything all perfect yet (I still need to organize the products information). So there is still quite a bit of work that can be done on the site, I could improve the script and what not. I think I will reopen one of the older sites in the vacuum cleaner network and improve the script on that one. Who knows if that will even help the way we need… but we shall see. That’s about all that I have to say for now, I would like to get a workable income coming in again so I can fund some of the projects I’ve got floating around in my head. I believe I should get back onto AgapeBeacon for a while before I start worrying about any of that silliness yet though. So after I got a little bit done on AgapeBeacon I can get back to the other sites getting them some things income coming in and pay for some advertising, and funding some giveaways for AgapeBeacon.

Jun 3

Starting with a little elbow grease

Okay, I know I haven’t said anything for a while about what is going on or what I am doing… honestly I haven’t been doing much, but will be getting back into the swing of things. I’ve got a nice long block of the wife working, which gives me more free time since she’ll be gone at night and I will be able to just sit down by myself without distractions and lay down some code. I’ve got a very large set of things to work on… I worked on AgapeBeacon.com for a while, tried some different techniques that were supposed to be built into CakePHP to get my threaded comments to work… and just couldn’t figure it out, so again I believe I will do it by hand my way. It may be “harder” but the week or so that I spent on a single problem trying to figure out how to use CakePHP’s conventions says that it will most definitely not be any harder to just lay down the darned code myself :-P

May 15

Getting back in the game!

With a change in address I am able to use Amazon Affiliates again… that’s good because it was my largest source of income for a long time… now granted I’ve ignored my sites for some time so getting things back on track will take a lot of effort. It will be nice to once again get a good income from my sites rather than riding on others coat tails. It’s also extra hard to get things back together when you’re trying to get things back on track and in the right mindset after vacation time :-P

So it will take me some time, but I think that I will soon be able to have enough of an income to make these silly sites worthwhile again!

Mar 6

Asking

“Ask(and keep on asking), and God will give to you. Search(and keep on searching), and you will find. Knock(and keep on knocking), and the door will open for you. Yes, everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And everyone who knocks will have the door opened.

If your children ask for bread, which of you would give them a stone? Or if ask for a fish, would you give them a snake? Even though you are bad, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more your Heavenly Father will give good things to those who ask Him.” – Matthew 7:7-11

As a parent the second half of this verse stands out more to me now than it ever had before. I also added the (and keep on) bits to be more accurate, and give perspective to those who do not know that in the Greek those words were written in the present participial for those grammar nerds out there… which means they are ongoing actions, not just something you do once. The second half of this verse is a bit more interesting to me though… For a couple of reasons. First off Jesus gives examples of what a child may ask for, but doesn’t say that is necessarily what they will get. I know my son asks for ice cream, and candy a lot. And while I don’t hand him stones and snakes, I also don’t give him the ice cream and candy as often as he asks… more often than not I give him carrots and kale (yes my son actually likes fresh kale, at least what we grow). A lot of times we make assumptions about this verse based on our limited knowledge, and our limited English language. God will not necessarily give you what you ask Him for, but as He is able to see through our requests to our needs and true desires He will give us what satisfies and sustains life.

Feb 22

Why I beat your child up at the park…

It’s been pretty cold out lately, so I haven’t been to the park for a while… I just got a good reminder today of who I really work for. Okay, so I’ve been working on maxing out some freebies online, the original reason why I split off to work on these freebies is so that when I get AgapeBeacon.com up and running I can use these freebies to spread God’s word. As a stay at home father I don’t have tons of my own money to give away, our family doesn’t have a huge expendable income. There’s nothing wrong with using the money corporations give out to get users to spread the love of Jesus in practical ways… it’s just that I got very focused on these freebies. There are people out there that make a living by collecting and promoting freebies like this, couponers, and what not. The problem is I really don’t need to be focusing on this stuff right now, it’ll be good to be able to use in the future, but for now I need to keep my focus on developing AgapeBeacon and encourage others to be the hands and feet of Christ.

Anyways, so I got a reminder of this today. I got reminded that I need to play the background because it is not my schemes that will bring Glory to God, but His will. Christ is life, all else is a vain pursuit… so where does the park come in. Well as I was thinking about this my mind wandered to one of my favorite things, when my son lets me play with him at the park. Most of the time when we go to the park he wants me to sit by as he plays with the other kids, but occasionally he wants me to play. When I do play with him it’s inevitable that I will be dragging around 3-10 other peoples kids that I don’t know. I chase other peoples kids, I wrestle with them, I drag them around clinging to my ankles… I have fun with it when other kids want to play with us. Their parents sometimes get angry, either at their kids or me. And with the stories you hear of violence all over the news often against little children… I get it.

About those kids I have to occasionally beat up at the park. You can always tell the kids who don’t get to rough house at home with their parents, those kids are always just a touch too violent, I keep them at arms length which typically frustrates them. A lot of the kids who don’t get to rough house at home don’t get the unspoken rules of rough housing… primarily that it must be fun for everyone, and in that one cannot win all the time. When a child I’ve never met before gets too rough with us at the park, hitting where they shouldn’t, kicking, biting, etc. I grab them, wrestle ‘em to the ground and put enough weight on them that they can’t move much, but not so much that they are hurting or can’t breathe. When I let them go I take a couple of steps back and wait for their response… most kids “get it”. What do they get? Well it’s a simple message that kids who get to rough house often inherently know. I am bigger than you, and I am holding back so that you don’t get hurt, I will play with you and have fun, but if you cannot keep it fun you need to find something else to do. Most kids will stand up, calmly look you in the eyes, and give you a little head nod to let you know they understand the message.

So why would I bother playing with other peoples children? I mean, it’s exhausting, you’ve got to deal with kids who don’t know the rules, and it’s more about the fun of the other kids… so why not focus on my own? I believe in rough housing… there’s a lot of good research that shows that rough housing teaches more than just exercise… and contrary to what some believe it actually discourages violence. I love rough housing with my son, and I know there are a lot of kids who just don’t get that kind of attention at home. Psalm 68:5 says that God is the father to the fatherless, Jesus tells us to Agape our neighbors (I say Agape instead of Love because the type of love He is speaking of is an action, a type of love that is practical, and intentional). Jesus wants us to show our neighbors His practical, intentional love… That’s why I will gladly beat your child up if I see them at the park ;-)

Feb 21

Moving to a new server!

Okay, so 1and1 has lowered the prices of their servers, of course that doesn’t automatically give me a lower price *grumble grumble* but I can repurchase the same package at a lower price… It’s a pain, but it is definitely worth it seeing as I can save $20 a month just by doing this I’m going for it! I could save even more if I go with a lower package… which is kind of tempting. I actually think I might go with their new Intel Atom server which would save me nearly $40 a month. It still has 8GB of RAM (currently on 12GB of RAM) and 8 cores instead of 4 (lower clocked, and I’m sure they are limited in other ways… who knows). Anyways, I’ve lost about $40 of advertising dollars over the last couple of months so it’s hardly a savings :-( but it will do for me for now. Now if only Amazon Affiliates would open shop again in Missouri… yeah, that’d give me my income back too.

Jan 26

People will see what they want to see

So recently an ancient Mesopotamian text (on a stone tablet) was discovered or rather decoded, it was discovered a while ago. A stone tablet that depicts “Noah’s Ark” as a round ship. It was actually a fairly common type of ship from Mesopotamia. The author that deciphered the text wants people to see a discretization of the Biblical account of Noah’s Ark, and he expects outrage from Christian’s… I don’t feel the need to give him such satisfaction. He says the Jewish culture likely copied the story after hearing it from the Mesopotamians… I see a different possible account for the story. Noah was supposed to have landed in or near Iraq I don’t know off the top of my head the exact modern day location… but it is very close to where this clay tablet was found. And if the earth was truly repopulated by Noah’s descendants wouldn’t they have likely known the story, at least for a time? I don’t see this tablet as discrediting anything from Christ’s word, but rather as a validation. As is usually true, the Bible’s account of the flood is the only one that gives a full explanation of events that can even account for these other records of the event.

In high school we studied an ancient pictograph text of a Native American creation story (I don’t remember exactly which one but both Apache myth 1 and Chippewa myth 2 from this page http://www.crystalinks.com/nativeamcreation.html have similar elements to the story I read back then). Anyways, we know that the Native American’s didn’t have direct contact with the Jewish culture, and these stories were told long before English settlers came. I only see these stories similarities to the Bibles account of creation as affirmation of its truth.