It’s morning. I boot up the pc and right after the inital daily processing of email messages I launch the last.fm player. On some days music is an afterthought. Other days almost require the rhythmic inspirations brought on by quality music. The player’s still trying to get station information. Hmm…server must be busy.

Rather than wait indefinitely for a connection or troubleshoot the player I turn instead to Pandora. Alas, as I arrive at the site I discover that Pandora, along with most other internet radio sites, is taking part in a Day of Silence. To bring attention to a situation which threatens the existence of internet radio, most internet broadcasters will be off the air today. Last.fm is not taking part in this Day of Silence so I can only assume that being unable to connect to a station earlier today was because of increased load on their servers.

I have spoken out in support of internet broadcasters and will continue to do what I can to help the fight to Save Net Radio.

By the way, our home internet connection has been out for several days. It has affected my posting ability and makes me how much I’ve come to rely on the Internet. On the bright side I have been extraordinarly productive in the offline world.

Ahhh, summer. Warm sunshine. The alluring smell of soothing ocean water. Fresh strawberries. Juicy watermelon. Grilled corn-on-the-cob. Yes, summer to me doesn’t just mean hot weather and beach getaways. It also means the arrival of some of my favorite in-season fruits and vegetables. What I really look forward to is the opening of local farmer’s markets. Not only can I get my hands on fresh produce, I get a chance to mingle with the farmers as well.

If you’re in the Jersey City area sometime this summer, stop by one of the markets shown below. If you’re nowhere near Jersey City, take some time to find out where and when your local markets take place. Make it a point to visit these markets and enjoy!

  • In Newport, on Pavonia Avenue near the PATH station, the market is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • The Hamilton Park market, at Eighth Street and Jersey Avenue, is open Wednesday from 2 to 7 p.m.
  • In Van Vorst Park, Jersey Avenue and Montgomery Street, there is a market on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Numerous blog advice articles and posts recommend establishing a blog with a very narrow focus or niche. If you’ve read some of my posts you already have noticed that I can write about a variety of different topics. Quite frankly, what I’ve written is still much more narrow in scope than the number of topics I’ve thought about writing on. The result is that my updates have been more on the sporadic side and even though I started posting at the beginning of this year I feel I have yet to hit my blogging stride. My “voice” isn’t entirely captured in the writing and I haven’t even yet linked to this blog when commenting on other blogs or participating in forums, feeling instead that this blog isn’t ready to be introduced to the public.

I’ve held back because it has been difficult to focus on one niche. Would such a focus mean that I’d have to miss out on all those other topics I am still interested in learning about? The Internet is a wealth of information and one can easily get lost in the mountain of reference materials. I’ve found myself reading, reading, and reading rather than writing.

But this is my personal blog. Those who know me nod vigorously when it is suggested that I am eclectic. I enjoy learning about a multitude of different things. It is who I am. Rather than almost censoring myself to avoid writing a potentially unfocused blog about random ideas, I think now it is better to simply write. If there is a certain topic I do write at great length about that topic could break off into its own dedicated blog.

Until I let those internal shackles go and write, I won’t discover that focus. Besides, writing about different topics doesn’t necessarily mean that overall the blog would become something too random or scattered. It reflects who I am. I can be considered eclectic but I haven’t been described as unfocused. If a topic emerges as one I can write at great length about, it could perhaps break off onto its own dedicated blog. But those ideas can only be discovered if I do take the time to explore them and write about them.

A funnel of ideas. Writing unrestrained by topic. For the time being this is the direction the blog will take. Don’t worry, I’ll refrain from sharing play-by-play accounts of doing the laundry.

What about you? Do you find yourself worrying so much finding the perfect subject matter you end up muting your online voice? Do you feel confident that you have found that niche? How did you choose this niche?

However far modern science and techniques have fallen short of their inherent possibilities, they have taught mankind at least one lesson: Nothing is impossible. ~Lewis Mumford~

For the first couple of months, I had been treating categories as tags. In general, a post should fall under one category but may be assigned multiple tags. I did classify those early posts into multiple categories. I’m going through now to reclassify those respective posts into single categories. Since it is early enough in the life of this blog to fix everything up, I think it’s worth taking the time to properly classify all the posts. Once it’s done I’ll post back with an update.

Office LayoutMy previous post mentions CAD files. Not everyone has a couple of thousand spare dollars to pick up industry standard CAD applications. Not everybody needs expensive software, either.

Cumulate Draw is probably more of a Visio replacement than a CAD replacement. It’s certainly not as powerful as, say, Autodesk Architectural Desktop. But if you don’t need dimensions accurate to an eighth of an inch and just want to sketch a quick floor plan, Cumulate Draw might suit your needs. It is free and available online. Your work can be exported to several different formats, including JPEG, PNG, and SVG.

Here is a quick office layout I created in Cumulate Draw. Click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized image.

The CADDManager.com Blog presents a list of interesting questions when dealing with client-provided CAD files. Well-intentioned clients who share these files to help begin a design could actually raise red flags with their respective contractors. One potential question the CADD Manager recommends is

Do you verify all dimensions or just accept the files as being right ?

These questions are presented from the perspective of the contractor but it is also important for clients to be mindful of these sorts of issues. I am usually in the role of a client. Normally when dealing with CAD files the work entails either creating the drawing from scratch or verifying the accuracy of a drawing. So those issues don’t normally apply. Now that we have an established base of CAD drawings, in the future we will probably begin to furnish these files more often.

Seeing potential contractor questions such as those suggested by CADD Manager will allow us to proactively address these questions before the need to do so arises.

Finally, when dealing with contractor supplied CAD files, I believe that the list of questions would then apply to the client perspective. If you touch CAD files in any way, whether as a client or a contractor, the list should prove useful to you.

Client provided CAD Files [CADDManager.com Blog]

The other night some friends and I were discussing the draining power of negative people. Energy vampires are everywhere. They readily discover all flaws with the status quo in the office then resist any efforts to implement change. They seem to continually be cursed with romantic woes, none of which are ever their fault. Sometimes we all can get into a rut. Sometimes even the most optimistic person can notice only the negative side of things. I’m not talking about anyone undergoing an occasional spurt of negativity. But some out there are just plain negative. They seem to get very chatty when sharing problems but grow silent when discovering solutions or quickly discover why every offered solution won’t work. They are incapable of “seeing the light at the end of the tunnel” or finding the “silver lining”. If you give in to their negativity, they can quickly sap your thirst for life away.

So how should you deal with negative people?

Catherine Pratt over at Life With Confidence discusses 10 strategies on how to deal with negative people. Here’s one I plan to use the very next time I’m stuck talking to an energy vampire:

3. Say, “Now tell me something positive.”
Right after they’ve finished telling you some tragic story, say to them, “now tell me a positive story”. Some people have no idea how negative they’ve become. That’s what they’re surrounded by day in and day out so it’s just become a way of life for them. By being given the reminder, they may actually realize that being negative isn’t the kind of person they want to be and may start to work on becoming more positive. Or, they may decide it’s not worth telling you their horror stories because you’ll ask them to think of something positive. Sob sisters (always whining, feel the world is against them, feel they’re victims) will probably not find you very attractive anymore.

I’d like to add another bonus strategy.

11. Read the The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

This book focuses more on dealing with your own limiting self beliefs and achieving personal happiness. In doing so, you would be able to remain blissful even if surrounded by scores of negative folks. Simple yet profound, The Four Agreements is a book I constantly recommend.

How to Deal With Negative People [via Life with Confidence]

I recently installed the Akismet blog comment spam filter. As of today, Akismet has already filtered out 57 spam comments. The blog does have 1 comment thus far, although that doesn’t really count since it’s simply a trackback. That’s not unexpected, though, since publicizing the blog has yet to commence. Thanks to effective spam filtering I have one less blog administration task to worry about.

If you use WordPress you can download the Akismet plugin. Not on WordPress? Akismet is also available on for various other systems and platforms.

The Jersey Journal reports that ambitious plans for a potential park got a big boost as Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise said his administration is recommending spending $3.2 million from the Open Space Trust to acquire the last 5.6 acres needed for the 13.6-acre Bergen-Lafayette tract.

If this project moves forward it would be the largest park to be developed in Jersey City in a century. There are still quite a few issues which need to be worked out before that can happen, though. I am hopeful that the remaining obstacles can be overcome. More open space is always welcome in an urban area.

Big park for Bergen-Lafayette [via The Jersey Journal]