Life is

Life is

Life is pain. Life is joy. Life is the laughs that we have with good friends, and the tears that we share with our closest allies. Life is the loss we feel in our darkest moments. Life is the wonder of a newborn child.

One thing life is not is a plan. Life doesn’t “DO” anything to us beyond the aging process. Life just is. When we want to find someone or something to blame, putting that burden on “life” is misdirected. It is up to us to deal with the events that happen while we’re living the best that we can. Whenever things get really really hard for me, and right now is definitely one of the most difficult and challenging periods of my life, I like to think back to a scene in the movie The Grey:

Ottway: Do something. Do something. You phony prick fraudulent motherfucker. Do something! Come on! Prove it! Fuck faith! Earn it! Show me something real! I need it now. Not later. Now! Show me and I’ll believe in you until the day I die. I swear. I’m calling on you. I’m calling on you!
[receives no response]

Ottway: Fuck it. I’ll do it myself.

Ottway, at the end of his rope finally calls out to life, to a deity, to anything to save him from his situation. In the middle of nowhere, out in the wilderness, all alone, he assumes that if there is anything out there listening, surely it would show itself now when he has nothing to lose.

His cries for help go unheeded. Nothing appears. Nothing speaks to him. We’ve all been here more times than we want to think about. On our knees, out of breath, choking on the tears.

At this point in life we have two choices. The first is to give up. Giving up takes many forms, but the most common seems to be just not doing anything. Sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves. Accomplishing nothing and never risking anything again. This route never leads anywhere. Once we’re done moping around, nothing is better and we’ve lost precious time. Our time here is limited. This is time we can never get back.

The second choice is to just take action. Realize that the loss is real, that the problem is real. Realize that nothing is out to get you, this is just the way things turned out. Realize that in most situations there are others making decisions outside of your control that will directly affect your happiness, and all the bargaining in the world can’t stop it.

Life is. It just IS. Nothing more, and nothing less. This life is your one single certain opportunity. Your life happened against cosmically incredible and unfavorable odds. THAT is your gift. THAT is your break, and that is the only break you should ever expect. Do something with it. Make it your way.

Just a box

Just a box

Bring home a box and a cat will instantly be enamored with it. Why? It’s just a box. It’s not a special toy, it doesn’t move around, there are no flashing lights inside of it. There is no glitter, no other cats to play with inside, and no treats.

The shape of the box doesn’t seem to matter, and it doesn’t even seem to matter much how well he fits inside of it. What is it about a new box that is so interesting? Why does a new empty box seem to be my cat’s favorite toy above all else?

To analyze his reaction, it helped me to think of the new box as a metaphor for something new coming into my life. Not just anything of course, but someone, or some thing that changed me for the better.

Viewed from this perspective I again ask why a box, and what did it take to make my cat as well as myself really happy? I’ve come up with a few possibilities, from the perspective of a cat of course.. probably..

A new place to explore

The box presents a new and completely fresh place to explore. The cat has no idea what is contained in the box and has to go inside for a look to see. The possibilities are boundless. There could literally be anything at all in the box. Once you get into the box there is no telling how large it actually is on the inside! Maybe you could spend the rest of your life looking around.

A new adventure

I was pretty bored with my old box, but this one will be different. I can bring some of my toys in here and find ways to play that I never thought were possible. Maybe I can bring my kitty friends with me and we can find new and exciting things to do. Can you imagine all the new things that we can try now?

The unknown

I have no idea what might happen in this box. It is scary, but it is also exciting. There would be little point in life if we always knew exactly how each day was going to go. Even though I am uneasy at first, I really like this feeling.

A place to feel safe

Inside this box no one can hurt me. If I want to be hidden I can stay hidden. If I want to be seen, I can invite my most trusted friends in to share this experience with me. I am safe here. No one can attack me because I can see anything coming at me from here. This box shelters me and keeps me warm. It wraps around me when I am feeling afraid and gives me comfort. In just being there, it promises I will never have to be exposed out in the open and alone.

A place that feels like home

I think I’ll snuggle up inside this box and take a nap. I can’t think of any other place I’d rather be. I’ve left little bits of myself here. I see some of my fur, a couple of my favorite toys. See over there? I made a little mark with my claws once when I was in here chasing a fly. I recognize this feeling and this place. It is so familiar to me.

I’ve been so happy here that it almost feels like home.

But it’s just a box.

Export zone files from Windows 2008 R2 DNS

I had to export some zone files to move to a BIND DNS server from Windows 2008 R2. I found a couple scripts online but nothing worked. Finally I modified one of them and the resulting powershell script that worked for me is below.

$dnsserver = "[YOUR DNS SERVER NAME]"

$zones = dnscmd $dnsserver /enumzones

for ($i = 7; $i -lt ($zones.length -3); $i++) {
    $zonename = $zones[$i].substring(1)
    $zonename = $zonename.substring(0,$zonename.indexof(" "))
    $file = $zonename + ".txt"
    dnscmd $dnsserver /ZoneExport $zonename $file
}

Those zone files will end up in C:\Windows\System32\dns

(Original script here: http://myitpath.blogspot.com/2011/10/migrating-lot-of-zones-from-microsoft.html )

Hope this can help.

Entrepreneur survival guide for 2015

Entrepreneur survival guide for 2015

Working for yourself is exciting, but it takes the right kind of attitude and the right type of person. Life can get lonely and you go through every day knowing that when you fail or succeed, there is ultimately no one to blame but yourself. It is a difficult road to travel, but the rewards, the lessons, and the connections you can make with others like yourself can make the journey well worth it.

Over the past 6+ years I have been an entrepreneur, I’ve been building up a list of the things that help me to maintain my sanity when things get rough. I’m finally to a point where I think I have enough useful advice to share some of it with you. I hope you can find some of this post useful and I encourage you to leave some of your own advice for me in the comments. I’m always looking for ways that I might eke out just a bit more happiness from each and every day.

So without further ado, here are some things I’ve learned.

The fight is mostly mental

This is a bit of a cliché, but it turns out to be true in almost every situation I run into on a day by day basis. When you are going through a rough time with something, take a step back from it and look at it from the outside in. Take a deep breath, remove the emotions and look at the situation logically. Fretting over something, or wasting your time generating hundreds of negative what-if scenarios is not going to solve the problem or make it any easier to deal with.

The most difficult things you’re going to have to deal with are self-doubt, situational doubt, and fear. You’ll need to face these head on, and be able to look at them from an outsider’s perspective to make it through the day. You’ll need to know, to really know that even if things don’t go quite the way you want, or not the way you want at all, you will still be there the next day with a new chance to do something great.

Family and friends

Dont take your family and close friends for granted. The worst thing for your mental heath would be losing your entire support system. These people are willing to put up with your wacky hours, your mood swings, and your need to vent. Treat them with the respect they deserve.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk to your close friends about your problems. Talk to the people that really care about you and will give you honest and empathetic feedback. We all need some way to let it all out. Lean on them.

Force yourself to get out and disconnect

Bad news. Your problems will still be there tomorrow. Good news! Your problems will still be there tomorrow, and you can deal with them at that point if you just can’t push yourself to work one more minute on this Friday night. Get out of the house! Get out of the office! Go spend some time with your friends and family. Go find some fellow entrepreneurs to talk business with. Anything is better than beating your head on a wall getting nowhere because you’ve burned up all your energy and you’re running on empty.

Find people you can rely on

Nothing sucks worse than being responsible for absolutely everything yourself. Find reliable people that you can rely on to help out with important work and when important deadlines are about to hit. These may be contractors, employees, or even friends. Nothing will save your butt quite like a graphic designer that is willing to whip up an ad for you in a few hours, or a coder that is willing to sacrifice most of a Friday night to make sure something is ready for release after you’ve already spent one too many days with little sleep.

Celebrate (and remember) your small victories

This is super important. You’re going to have many more small victories than super large ones. The small victories count and add up to something much bigger. Don’t take them for granted and don’t forget them. Remember them when things are tough. Remember what it took you to get here.

Don’t rely on any one thing (or person) for happiness

Remember that sometimes your just going to need people to have fun with or things to do just to get away from work for a while. Don’t put all the pressure for keeping your sanity on one person or one thing. Make sure you have a few options of people and activities to turn to for when you just need to get away from work so that you’re not stuck disappointed (and working) if plans fall through.

Don’t fight for too long physically alone

If you’re like many of us, you are probably working from home most of the time since having your own office is rapidly becoming an unneeded expense. Working physically by yourself alone for years is a recipe for emotional disaster. You’re going to start to feel isolated from people and your workspace will start to seem lifeless and lonely. Regular skype calls with employees, coworkers, and founders can help this, but eventually you’re going to need to get out and talk to people who are physically there.

Getting out to a local coffee shop can help you to feel better by simply being in a social space. You might also find others with similar interests. Even better is getting yourself a membership or an office at a shared workspace like Geekdom.  There you are sure to find other entrepreneurs and professionals who might need your advice or help, and from which you can receive the same.

Keep your chin up, and do the best you can to find peace even when things are tough. The journey and the lessons it teaches are well worth it.

Fitness progress – Spring 2015

Fitness progress – Spring 2015

Since fitness is a big part of who I am, I’ve decided to post a bit more often about what I’m up to, and try to share tips and tricks from what I have learned over the months and years of trying very hard to get in the best shape of my life.

When I make these updates I want those of you who are trying your hardest to get into shape to realize this was a very long struggle, and that I started my routines years ago when I was approaching 240 lbs. These journeys are slow, they are painful, and they will test you to your limits.

But you can get there. You can achieve your goals. You just have to believe in yourself and just keep moving. Just keep pushing. When you think you can push no further, push just a little bit more. DO NOT give in, and DO NOT give up.

Once you push into a healthy weight range, it takes some real time and effort to try to burn off the additional fat that your body will so stubbornly hold onto. Since I’m going for the lean look, I’ve been struggling to get down past 10% BF.

IMG_0569

Like always, I struggle with body fat along my midsection, but I’ve made progress since January. Some constants as well as changes I’ve made follow:

Constants

  • I am still cut way back on sugars and carbs. I refuse to add carbohydrates beyond vegetables and some of the various low carb wraps and tortillas I have found. I just feel so much better without them. Stevia is my replacement for drink and food sweetness where I need it.
  • I still have a very high protein intake normally exceeding 125g/day
  • I still take one day a week off from my lifestyle change diet and just get whatever I want food wise. Though I don’t normally eat a lot of junk food on this day, what I do eat, usually something fun like waffles for breakfast and a burger for dinner, seems to stifle cravings for the remainder of the week. The other bonus of the one day a week off is that it makes me realize how much better I feel when I eat good the other 6 days of the week.

Changes

  • I’ve begun eating a lot more on training days, and much less on off days. This really seems to have kicked my body into confusion and I’ve noticed more fat loss around my midsection.
  • Running:  I’ve added a bit of running, usually about 30 minutes, to my routine a few days a week after weight training at the gym. A few extra calories kicked seems to be helping a bunch.
  • I’ve added some training sessions to our gym membership and the trainer is more than happy to whoop my midsection at the end of every single routine. I’ve nicknamed him Vlad the Impaler.

I still have a ways to go before I’ll be happy to call it beach ready, but I hope this and my next few progress reports can help people looking for new ways to shed a few more lbs!

As always, have a happy and healthy week, and shoot me a message if you’ve tried out some of our newest InShape trails!

InWorldz and contributions to the metaverse

InWorldz and contributions to the metaverse

Recently a video was released where a core opensim developer claimed that InWorldz has contributed nothing to the greater OpenSimulator/metaverse ecosystem. The exact statements were “Actually, InWorldz is not committing anything back.”, and “InWorldz has not given anything back.” both of which were factually incorrect. I wanted to clear up the misconceptions here because many of the code contributions and consultation time were executed by me personally.

Below is a list of contributions InWorldz has made to the wider metaverse in the past year:

  • Reported a critical OpenSim security bug and provided a patch that fixed pin protection and prevented someone from taking over all of someone else’s objects on a region by simply passing them an object or attachment to rez. This patch was applied to opensim core by Jusin CC.
  • Open sourced a big-data scale Cassandra/CQL based inventory for OpenSim https://github.com/InWorldz/opensim-cql-inventory
  • I personally tried to push a libOpenMetaverse critical security patch that was never responded to, I will try to push again to the whitecore fork so everyone’s systems are safer.
  • InWorldz Made a $500 donation to OSGrid when they needed it. No, we didn’t announce it to the world. We did something nice without expectation of recognition, but also not expecting to be attacked later on.
  • Offered to open source and contribute our C++ WHIP asset server code with a history of ZERO critical failures to date after the most recent asset failures on OSgrid. Our solution wasn’t chosen, but it was offered unequivocally.
  • Initial consulting with MOSES about their efforts to bring PhysX to opensim core and a promise to continue to help and consult where we can. We’ve already had great success with PhysX on InWorldz and want to help spread an impressive physics engine.

InWorldz doesn’t believe in demanding an HG business or other blog article every time we do something, but saying that we do nothing for the greater community over and above just advertising to bring people in, which also isn’t cheap or easy, is untrue.

We have actively worked in the background trying to help the entire metaverse in many different ways. Listening to someone who is uninformed say otherwise is disheartening and having those statements followed up by glowing reviews of competitors’ contributions suggests a personal bias that should not be stated as fact.

My history with InWorldz

My history with InWorldz

[The following was given to the organizers at the InWorldz 6th birthday celebration. I’m pasting it here for those that haven’t been able to read it]

In 2009 I lost my father at the early age of 60. I had a pretty rough job where I was going 12 hrs a day on average on business software. It was mostly web development and database work which wasn’t really my cup of tea. I was in a pretty bad state and I really was looking for a way to dig myself out of the emotional hole I was in.

I found Second Life as an outlet for my feelings. It was great to be able to express myself artistically. I found that I did a decent job at 3d modeling and that my programming experience translated to scripting.

I created a bunch of 3d stuff that I always gave away, and even owned part of a region for a time. I’ve always enjoyed sharing happiness and experiences with others where I could, and I considered renting a full region to try my hand at really reaching out to people who may have been feeling the same pain of loss and letting them know that they were not alone. The biggest problem was that I found was that it was very difficult to justify paying what amounted to a car payment for entertainment.

I did a lot of work in the IBM sandboxes which were a great place to get quiet work done. They were always kept clean and free of drama by PatriciaAnne Daviau a wonderful person who would become a great friend in my real life as well as my virtual life. Patty knew a Scotsgreymouser Janus who in turn knew Elenia Llewellyn.

Elenia Llewellyn and her business partner Legion Heinrichs were looking for a developer to work on server side code for a piece of 3d simulation software called OpenSim. It looked like a good opportunity for me to segway more into the games and visualization side of programming which I had wanted to learn more about anyways.

I agreed to work on the software and I got my own region there to build on. I ended up creating a place that really helped dispense of the emptiness that I felt. To this day “Tranquillity’s Pad” remains mostly untouched. It is my vision of an afterlife where we transcend physical boundaries and can visit far away places as part of a better, more peaceful existence.

Of course, InWorldz work wasn’t all fun and games. Just about every script I brought in crashed the simulator and I ended up having to do massive amounts of work just to try to get the engine stable for any real work. Eventually, Phlox was born out of my frustration and the frustration of our (unexpected) influx of customers. Phlox completely replaced the legacy script engine and runtime, and brought the first of many giant leaps in stability to InWorldz. I was brought on as a founder and owner of the company, and the rest is history.

I and the rest of the InWorldz staff continue working hard to provide an experience that can be as transformational to others as it was for me. InWorldz is about self discovery, and I hope it can continue to provide others with a refuge when they don’t know where to turn.