Thanks for taking a moment to read this month’s update. The photo featured above is from a nature walk in Iowa City on 15 Aug 2021.
The Model 1 Desktop Computer
I’ve been assembling and repairing computers for many years. A topic that has interested me recently is the right to repair. This involves consumers pleading with manufacturers for permission to fix something they purchased. Companies are making products increasingly difficult to repair, and attempts to repair can void a warranty. It’s important for consumers and governments to pressure manufacturers so that products can be more easily upgraded, repaired, and kept out of landfills.
While we wait for that battle to play out, an easy solution is to become the manufacturer. My assembling and building our own devices, we don’t need to ask anyone for permission to repair them. We can design them to be easily repaired.
I’ve designed a desktop computer that I call the Model 1. It runs on 60 watts of power, and in standby mode uses 1/100th of a watt. It’s easy to build, easy to upgrade, and easy to repair. There is no Model 2 with ‘new and improved’ features designed to entice you into being dissatisfied with the Model 1. The system evolves over time as needed, but never needs replacing.
It is available with Windows, or free Linux operating system and software which are designed and supported by the people for the people.
Learn more at IowaCityTech.com/model-1/
The Grid of Stuff
As part of my downsizing and pursuit of minimalism, I’ve been selling off a lot of possessions on eBay, a few items at a time. It’s nice to be contributing to the “grid of stuff” where I know my things will end up with those who need them somewhere, rather than just having them sit in boxes.
Over the past 18 months, during the pandemic, I’ve been working 12 to 16 hours per day, seven days a week. Much of that time was spent volunteering tech services to those who can’t afford do pay normal consulting rates, or even afford to pay anything. For those in need, I would donate computers, and offer some vocational and tech training to help them get back on their feet.
As the summer winds down, I’m at a turning point. I need to restore some balance to my life. I’ve been letting go of some recently added business customers, and also cutting back on my writing contributions to the Resources For Life website. However, my business operating costs and living expenses remain the same, so my consulting will need to continue.
From 2001 through 2015 I was working full-time at the University of Iowa, and also had a very busy evening and weekend consulting schedule. As a result, I had some excess income. Other than paying my basic living expenses, the excess mostly went to help others in need and was also donated to local non-profit groups.
Since 2016, I’ve been living on the consulting income only. The excess income of working two jobs is no longer present. So, there’s more pressure to fill my weekday schedule with billable appointments. To stay available for the daily unexpected calls, and administrative work that needs to be done, I’ve only been scheduling 2 or 3 appointments per day. This crunch just means that I’m less available to help individuals in need and non-profit groups.
It’s been a difficult adjustment to no longer have the excess income that I had in the past. I’m also realizing late in life that I probably won’t be able to continue a full-time work schedule into my senior years. So, I need to stay disciplined and consistent about saving for a modest retirement.
Going forward, I’ll continue working with those who have relied on me over the past 30 years, and those who come to me for help by way of a referral. I’ll also be making time for family in need of tech support, or just needing my skill as a jester.
Resources For Life
Last month I wrote about the launch of ResourcesForLife.ORG — a fast, simple, purely HTML hand-coded site focused on serving those working in the public interest. My plan is to continue building that site out in the months ahead. The site is unique in that it could be downloaded and viewed from a USB flash drive or CD drive on a computer not connected to the Internet. The entire site could be put into a ZIP file and emailed.
The ResourcesForLife.COM website needs significant work. After 24 years of development, there is content that needs to be updated or removed. I’m planning to bring the full site online for a few days four times a year to coincide with the quarterly seasonal newsletters.
The site is currently online and available for browsing through this weekend. I thought I would make it available quarterly in its present state for anyone who would like to see the site, or those who have specific reference materials they’d like to lookup and save. After that, the site will go back into the vault until December. While the site is under construction, a minimalist HTML version of the site will be available.
My long-term goal would be to have the .ORG site be focused on public interest work, and the .COM site to continue providing tech tips, life tips, and support to entrepreneurs.
The ResourcesForLife.com Fall 2021 Newsletter is available from Sep 1 – 5. [View]
Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.
Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 21 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and public interest efforts. This is based on the Life Map presented on the Resources For Life website. [View]