Upgraded My Personal Solar Setup

Last Spring 2021, I made a decision to upgrade our beach camping solar power options by picking up this setup from Jackery:

20210529_124624-01-COLLAGE Portable Power Station Explorer 240SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel

And then in June, I had this idea why not use this setup at home day-to-day to power up the following devices (vice using a power plug), and stay off the grid:

So, since June I have not plugged any of these personal devices into a home power plug that was pulling power over the grid.

However, I was starting to notice that the Jackery solar panel was starting to take some sun/weather damage. So I did some research, and upgraded to:

20220117_091910-COLLAGEsm

Renogy Solar PanelSolarEnz Solar Connector

The Renogy panel is significantly more weather resistant and should allow me to re-charge the Jackery with the SolarEnz cord much easier.

This is working great.  I'm very happy.

All product links are to Amazon.


2022 Continuous Year Calendar PDFs For Free Download

Last year I was inspired to share my own version of Kairos Cognition's 2021 Continuous Calendar, and they now have their 2022 version available for sale:

Karios2022 Calendar

Unfortunately, I don't have a good place for such a large calendar in my workspace, so I created my own versions for 2021. 

Here are my personally updated ones for 2022.  First a vertical version (prints 8.5 x 11-inch):

Vertical-2022-calendar

2022 Vertical Continuous Calendar PDF Download

And a smaller horizontal version that I have cut out, and laminated so I can easily place it right on my desk right under my monitor:

Horizontal-2022-calendar

https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/am/2022_Horizontal_Continuous_Calendar.pdf

Please let me know if you have any comments, suggestions, or corrections.  Thanks!  Happy New Year!

 


What Factors Impact Overall Happiness In The Workplace

Current work scheduleA month or so ago my son Conrad who is attending SDSU asked me to post a link to a survey that his marketing research class needed inputs on.

You can find the original post on Linked In.

The team created a PDF of the results that I'd like to share via this link (pdf download).

Here is their Executive Summary:

In this report, we sought to understand what type of working environment would lead to greater overall happiness in individuals. In order to dive deeper into this topic, we did extensive research on different working styles within the US as well as other countries. We also researched how COVID-19 may have affected the way individuals view working and how working from home may affect the way individuals choose to work going forward.

After gathering our research, we constructed a 16-question survey to better understand individuals' demographics, attitudes towards working, and their current levels of satisfaction and happiness at their current jobs. Our research questions targeted asking about different work style preferences such as working completely in person, working completely online, or having a hybrid work style. We also asked individuals about their current work type status such as part-time, full time or unemployed, as well as their education level. We also incorporated questions asking about individuals' current levels of happiness and whether or not they are satisfied working at their current job or satisfied with the current amount of money they make.

We ran multiple extensive SPSS analysis to include: descriptive (for the mean, standard deviation, and frequency), associative (bivariate correlation), differences (one-way anova), and predictive (simple regression).

From the data results, we conclude that there is a weak positive correlation between age and happiness. The older a person is, the somewhat happier they are likely to be at their job. We also found a weak positive relationship between the older you are and the less likely you are to leave your current job. The rest of our research questions involving: pay in monetary form, education level, and work schedule, all have inconclusive effects on happiness. This means there is no clear pay level, level of education, or work schedule that has a greater effect on one's happiness.


GTD Tip: Moving Content Someday/Maybe Items Into A Different List Manager

SomedayMaybe_thumb

My current personal external Getting Things Done (GTD) brain/tool is Nirvana.  I recently decided to move some of my "content" related items in my Someday/Maybe list to external list options in tools that are native for that type of content.

For books I moved them to an Amazon Book Want To Read List.  This is using Amazon's Wishlist option.

For movies and TV shows, I am using the Watchlist feature in IMDB.

One of the benefits of this approach was it got each of these content types into a more "non-text" list in Nirvana with more visuals, and it helped to speed up my review of my Someday/Maybe items during my GTD Weekly Review.

I also have a Wishlist on Amazon for physical things I might want to purchase.  When something new comes a long that looks interesting, but I don't know for sure that it will be useful, I put them in this list.  And then I review it every month or so to see if any items are really something I need.  Not just something I wanted at the spur of the moment.

If you have any suggestions on other types of list tools for content, then please let me know.


Thoughts & Tips for June & July 2021

Blurry-2-photo

This photo is part of my Blurry collection.

CURRENT HAPPENINGS

The last two months have been going well.  Mother's Day in May was great, and so was Father's Day in June.

We have been slowly getting back out to our favorite places to eat, visiting breweries, attending church in person without masks, seeing friends, and having more group events at our house.

Getting vaccinated has a ton of benefits!

Biggest news is that Carson graduated from High School:

Carson-graduation

Another nice piece of new news is that my niece Hayley and her husband Alex are having a baby girl in December:

Screenshot 2021-07-02 15.10.08

I have also been able to teach two Getting Things Done (GTD) classes in-person at work which has been very enjoyable.  One class was in May and the other in late June.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

The epic D&D battle I have been DMing for several months has finally ended, and we are on to a new "underwater" related adventure created by our other DM Darren.

We have several mini-vacations coming up across July & August: one week in Mission Beach at a condo rental; a weekend retreat at The Oaks; a couple of days in Las Vegas for Def Con; and then beach camping at San Elijo. It will be nice to get out and about, but also not have to travel too far from home.

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

If I had to pick a single glass style to drink craft beer out of I think it would be this one (Amazon link):

Teku-glass-for-tpcSince May 20th I have been charging all my mobile electronics off-grid using this setup from Jackery (originally purchased just for camping):

Jackery-solar-systemThis includes: cell phone; iPad (didn't realize what a power hog this was); Garmin watch; bike lights; Go Pro & other camera batteries; all the new Rode podcast/audio recording gear; and a variety of  smaller battery packs.  Hard to say the total impact to our home electrical bill, but kind of a fun experiment.  It will be interesting to see how long I can do it.  My cell phone does get charged when it is in the car, so that makes things a little easier. I am not charging my main personal Chromebook computer this way until we go camping this summer.

The solar unit is the SolorSaga 100W (Amazon Link), and the portable battery unit is the Portable Power Station Explorer 240 (Amazon Link). 

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

"Saying no saves you time in the future. Saying yes costs you time in the future. No is like a time credit. You can spend that block of time in the future. Yes is like a time debt. You have to repay that commitment at some point. No is a decision. Yes is a responsibility." - James Clear


Near Real-Time Tracking

You can find out what I'm up to in near real-time via: Twitter (@sholden) Instagram (@sholden), or Facebook (sholden). I also recommend checking out my AztecMedia.net produced sites: Chvrches Fan Podcast (@chvrchespodcast), ThePodCraft Beer Show (@thepodcraft, @techguysteve, Untapped, @techguysteven); Tech News Radio (@technewsradio), Air Gapped Networks (@airgapnet), Jersey Boys Podcast, and Veteran Stories. [Updated: May 9, 2021]


Thoughts & Tips for May 2021

Circle-blur-1This photo is part of my Blurry collection.

CURRENT HAPPENINGS

All but one of us is vaccinated. Guess which one? Ha Ha! #stay_home_if_sick, #wash_your_hands, #social_distance, #wear_a_mask

Theoaks2Christy and I had a great 2nd retreat to The Oaks to celebrate our 27th Wedding Anniversary.  It was super reflective and restful.  Here are some photos!

I recently did a Getting Things Done (GTD) related presentation to Manager-Tools' M Conference attendees alumni group.  Here is more information about the presentation with an offer to present to other groups or organizations that are interested in productivity.

Scavenger-huntMy work did a virtual Spring Break scavenger hunt (above are some of the photos).  It was super fun and collaborative with friends & family helping out. It was also nice to get out-and-about little bit more. I highly recommend doing something like this if you have the opportunity.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

Carson-lb-state-Carson is going to be graduating high-school soon, and has decided to go to Long Beach State to study nursing.  We are very proud and excited for her upcoming college season.

Summer vacation plans seem to be coming together: Mission Beach beach house rental, back to The Oaks, Def Con (Las Vegas), and camping at San Elijo State Beach.

I am hoping that my friend's D&D session (mentioned in previous posts) will get us through this epic battle I have been DMing for months, and on to a new "underwater" related adventure created by our other DM Darren.

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

Here are some greate Windows 10 tips from ZDNET. The one about the new Clipboard History is especially useful as I have had to use a 3rd party tool to do this in the past.  To open Clipboard History, press Windows key + V. Neat!

Wireless-podcast-gear

I have been experimenting with these Rode Wireless Go Compact Microphone Transmitter & Receiver Systems for The PodCraft Beer Show.  So far they are working well, and they definitely decrease the amount of gear I need to drag to each recording.  I think they are also making the conversational style of the podcast easier to record, and edit on the back end.  I'll probably do a future full review, so standby for more information.

Engadget's article on "Google makes it easy to jump back to the search box by pressing '/' -- The new shortcut makes it easier to refine your search results." should enable you to quickly expand searches to include addition terms.

I knew how to schedule the release of emails, but this article from Wired describes how to do this on Apple iOS devices and on Google Android devices for text messages.  Super handy to know.

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” - Peter Drucker


Thoughts & Tips for March & April 2021

Blur2This photo is part of my Blurry collection.

CURRENT HAPPENINGS

All is good health-wise and no major COVID-19 impacts.  We are looking forward to vaccines. #stay_home_if_sick, #wash_your_hands, #social_distance, #wear_a_mask

Some how I didn't get around to a February post.  Things have been pretty focused at home (taxes, CISSP Continuing Education (CE) credits, ThePodCraft, etc), and work (new role) which is probably why it never got to the top of the priority list.

LOOK FORWARD TO

Our visit to the The Oaks (our photos from our 1st trip) to celebrate our 27th Wedding Anniversary is coming up soon.  And I am going to be taking some annual leave from work the first full week of April just after Easter.

I continue to be Dungeon Mastering (DMing) for my Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) group.  We have been slogging through the "epic" battle over 5 or 6 sessions (3-4 hours of real-time) to play 5+ minutes in game time (each turn has been 6 seconds long). I think the "snatch-&-grab" adventure I was planning is going to be something to do later, as our other DM is ready with his next adventure.

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

Wired recently published some great Gmail tips that are worth reviewing if you are a Google Gmail user.

I learned a few things about how to better use Virtual Desktops on Chrome OS in this article.  I am currently using four: Main, GTD, Social, & Media.

I am not much of a wine drinker but I thought this graphic I found on Reddit to be helpful enough that I saved it into my REFERENCE library in Google Keep:

Wine

I believe I have a pretty good online password strategy.   Here are some times related to cracking common password patterns.  This is why your passwords need more complexity as of 2021.  The bad news is that every year going forward the time to crack passwords is going to get less as processors/memory/storage/cache/technologies/approaches/etc. get better:

Password Crack Times By Complexity

I have been using LastPass for several years (paying customer), and I still find it to meet my needs: works across many devices, Family Plan, easy to have different passwords per site, and complex generated passwords can be customized.

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. - Mary Engelbreit