Greg Johnson – Monthly Update 201709

Personal Update 201709 | 30 September 2017 | Saturday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

Health & Wellness

The big wellness news this month is that I’ve started another 120-day wellness challenge. This time I’m developing a 1,500 calorie-per-day diet with mostly low-carb foods and little or no sugar. The early results are quite good. I’ll have some clinical data for you in a few months. For further details, read “7 Powerful Wellness Videos on Weight Loss and Insulin Resistance” where I share further information about the program and some of the videos that inspired it.

Videos

If you’re interested in seeing some of the videos I’m producing, you can visit YouTube.com/resourcesforlife/videos to see the latest uploads. You’ll find videos on technology, bicycle riding, woodworking, and other topics. One of my favorites was a humorous old-style “jingle” advertisement for Iowa City Computer Support.

Personal Video Update for September 2017

Below is a video message I recorded for a more personalized update.

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

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Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 17 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

Greg Johnson – Monthly Update 201708

Personal Update 201708 | 31 August 2017 | Thursday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

Bike • Work • Life

In the same way I helped launch and grow the small house movement, I’d like to provide support and resources to a movement of people working from bicycle throughout the day. To this end, I’ve launched three new websites BikeWorkLife.com, IowaCityBikeTrails.com and BikeIowaCity.com.

So far this year I’ve traveled 930 miles on 447 bike rides. Since May 16, I’ve spent 109 hours on my bicycle, taking phone calls, providing tech support, dictating emails, and creating instructional videos. I’ve commuted by bicycle most of my life, but working from my bicycle all day long, riding from one meeting to another, and spending more time on trails rather than a desk is a new experience for me. As time goes on, I’m learning and refining my approach.

Thank you to everyone who has helped in the initial launch of this initiative. I look forward to providing more progress reports in the future.

Wellness

Last year I created a strength training tracking system using the Apple iOS Numbers spreadsheet app on my iPhone that allows for easy entry of weight lifting exercise data. This helps record my workouts, track progress, and plan accordingly.

This year I’ve lifted 442 tons (884,580 pounds), and this past month, I’ve lifted over 140,000 pounds. At present, I lift just over 8,000 pounds during my regular daily workout. So, that’s the same as 800 pounds ten times or 80 pounds 100 times. Ideally a person finds the right ratio of weight and repetitions to achieve the highest comfortable total lifted for a workout.

As I build more muscle mass, I’m hoping that it will help boost my metabolism throughout the day and make me more resistant to injury. I had a chance to try out this theory on August 6 following a bicycle accident, which I’m happy to say I quickly recovered from.

Woodworking

I’ve added a woodworking page to my personal site where I hope to post videos about various woodworking projects, beginning with my very first (and very rough) project which is a charity box.

I’m excited about woodworking because it offers similar versatility of 3D printing, but with renewable materials. It’s ideal for makers and creators. My initial interest was with creating computer related desk supplies and computer enclosures for my computer customers, but I’ve now expanded my horizons to include some future projects that I envision making which are listed on my woodworking page.

Videos

I’ve produced about 50 videos this month on a variety of topics. Here are some of the more popular ones so far. Dates provided are the recording date, not the posted date. These links go directly to the YouTube video post.

Personal Video Update for August 2017

Below is a video message I recorded for a more personalized update.

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

__________

Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 17 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201707

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Personal Update 201707 | 31 July 2017 | Monday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

 

Cycling, Trails, and Scenic Tour Project

Over the past few months, I’ve been writing about my Bicycle Iowa City initiative that is explained more through the about page of BikeIowaCity.com website. It’s a project I began a few years ago with video recording of local trails. I was doing my best to share the vision and get the word out by promoting the website and ideas.

This month I learned that a local quasi-government agency recently started a BikeIowaCity.org website (not launched yet) and they are also planning a similar Bike Iowa City initiative — reaching out to local bike shops and clubs. So, that’s resulted in me wanting to create an additional bicycle initiative website which I’ll announce soon.

With the Small House Movement, I attempted to create something that people could easily replicate and help spread. Similarly, with the Bike Iowa City concept, I was hoping to create something that could be easily copied, and apparently it has been (perhaps inadvertently). So, that’s a good sign. I don’t want to suggest they copied my idea. I think it’s more likely an example of people unwittingly working on parallel paths. In any event, the concept seems to be workable and popular.

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

__________

Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 17 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201706

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Personal Update 201706 | 30 June 2017 | Friday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

Fitness Program

Since my last update, I’ve ridden my bicycle 214 miles and have increased my strength training program to include lifting over 10,000 pounds per day. I’m also spending time on the elliptical workout and hiking as well.

Cycling, Trails, and Scenic Tour Project

I’m continuing with my project to promote bicycling in the Iowa City area through the BikeIowaCity.com website. My goal is to create a program that is engaging and impactful, as explained on the about page of the site.

Photography

Each week I post some of my favorite photos from the week in a series of weekly Featured Photos. I’m still catching up on the past few weeks of photos. Today I posted photos from 1-7 April 2017.

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

__________

Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 17 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201705

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Personal Update 201705 | 21 May 2017 | Sunday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

Fitness Program

Over the past 30 days, I’ve lifted a cumulative total of over 140,000 pounds with my weight lifting and strength training program. In the coming month I hope to improve on that by increasing the weights, reps, and sets. In the same period of time, I’ve ridden my bicycle over 180 miles on trails in the Iowa City area as part of the trails project I’m working on.

Cycling, Trails, and Scenic Tour Project

Over the past month I’ve been working on the scenic tour and bike ride of the Iowa City, Coralville, and North Liberty area that will emphasize a variety of themes including: local trails, parks, photography, bike shops, coffee houses, restaurants, local craft breweries, architecture, neighborhood restaurants, walkable communities, health and fitness, housing centers, area art, and more.

The tour will include the most beautiful scenic trails in the area, connected up with stops along the way to support local businesses. I’m combining my trail riding project with the technology consulting I do. So, each day I get a good bike ride in, while enjoying local trails, and visiting my various tech support customers in the area. I’ll post more on this in the future, but wanted to share this initial announcement to solicit any suggestions you have for what the local ride should include.

Photography

Each week I post some of my favorite photos from the week in a series of weekly Featured Photos. In recent weeks, these photos have all been taken with my iPhone 7 Plus. I still have some recent photos that need posting, but I’m getting caught up.

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

__________

Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 17 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201704

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Personal Update 201704 | 30 April 2017 | Sunday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

Cycling, Trails, and Scenic Tour Project

I’m working on developing a scenic tour and bike ride of the Iowa City and Coralville area that will emphasize a variety of themes including: local trails, parks, photography, bike shops, coffee houses, restaurants, local craft breweries, architecture, neighborhood restaurants, walkable communities, health and fitness, housing centers, area art, and more.

The tour will include the most beautiful scenic trails in the area, connected up with stops along the way to support local businesses.

I’m combining my trail riding project with the technology consulting I do. So, each day I get a good bike ride in, while enjoying local trails, and visiting my various tech support customers in the area.

I’ll post more on this in the future, but wanted to share this initial announcement to solicit any suggestions you have for what the local ride should include.

Photography

Each week I post some of my favorite photos from the week in a series of weekly Featured Photos. In recent weeks, these photos have all been taken with my iPhone 7 Plus. I still have some recent photos that need posting, but I’m getting caught up. Here are some recent photos from 11-17 March 2017 from a trip to the University of Iowa Main Library, and a hike at Kent Park. Some photos have had artistic filters applied. Enjoy!

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

__________

Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 17 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201703

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Personal Update 201703 | 31 March 2017 | Friday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

Proactive Computer Support

For decades I’ve focused on setting up computers in a very preemptive way to avoid potential problems. Knowing the issues that can arise, it’s fairly easy to implement the solutions that prevent them. This has mostly worked very well and resulted in years of trouble-free service for many people.

However, as computers have become more complex and the variety of potential system failures have increased, it’s become necessary to provide ongoing proactive support and system maintenance.

I’m regularly contacted by people wanting assistance with a computer crisis: hard drive crashes, lost files, viruses, and otherwise non-functioning computers. I’ll ask, “How long had you noticed something unusual going on?” Usually the answer is that symptoms had been there for weeks or months. By the time I’m notified, it’s too late for simple fixes. I’m often told by people that they didn’t want to trouble me with something small. So, I’m doing my best to encourage people to reach out to me with any question or concern no matter how small.

I’ve created a Computer Health Checklist that I use when performing regular maintenance on computers that can be performed monthly, quarterly, or as needed. During this regular maintenance, it’s an opportunity to talk to people about their computing habits and how things seem to be going. Rather than waiting for problems to surface, I’m reaching out to schedule these sessions.

In addition to periodic computer checkups, I’m implementing a realtime system health monitoring service that checks for system configuration issues, potential hard drive crashes, and other critical functions. Some issues may arise where a month would be too long to wait for addressing these issues. Realtime health monitoring can help. Tim Barker of Friendly Techie has been a great help in this regard, introducing me to one of the best realtime monitoring systems in the industry.

Your dentist sends you a reminder card every six months to remind you of cleaning appointments. Your doctor keeps track of what immunizations and shots you’ve had. Your auto mechanic reminds you of oil changes and performs routine scheduled maintenance according to manufacturers recommendations.

However, with computers, we’re not used to getting reminder cards from our computer tech informing us that our antivirus software needs to be renewed. Our computer tech doesn’t typically offer routined scheduled maintenance. With computers, we wait until something isn’t working and then call for help. I think tech support specialists can have a more active role in reminding customers of their software renewals and regular maintenance.

What I’m wanting to do is change computing culture and shift practices toward regular maintenance that will result in more reliable computing.

In addition, I’m working to build a user community approach to support. You can think of it like a buyers club. As an example, rather than having 10 customers individually purchase MalwareBytes for $39 each at a group cost of $390, I’ll purchase ten licenses for $130 and resell them to those 10 customers for $13 each. There are many other examples like this where a group buying club can save hundreds or thousands of dollars. In addition to savings on purchases, shared equipment that’s periodically needed and having an equipment lending library can help with savings. For example, a customer needed oversized scanning of items 11″ x 17″ in size. They didn’t want to purchase an expensive scanner, so I’m letting them borrow mine. As an Amazon Prime member, I’m able to make purchases and get free two-day shipping or inexpensive overnight shpping on many items. Often I will send out cables and other smaller items at no cost to my customers. This saves everyone time and money.

So, with all of the above, my hope is to create a better overall technology experience for everyone who relies on me. Through regular reminders, regular maintenance, ongoing system health monitoring, the power of a buying club, and a lending library, I think people can be enjoying better computing at lower costs. I’m thankful to my dad who had a big role in motivating me to develop the above approach to computer support.

Photography

Each week I post some of my favorite photos from the week in a series of weekly Featured Photos. In recent weeks, these photos have all been taken with my iPhone 7 Plus. In the future, I hope to get back to taking higher quality photos with some of my other cameras.

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

__________

Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 17 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201702

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Personal Update 201702 | 11 February 2017 | Saturday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

Work-Life: More Quality, Less Quantity

In my work-life over the past 30 years, what has always driven me is the desire to help as many people as possible. Not for the sake of greater earnings, but in seeking greater positive impact. In fact, when I get really busy, with so many support requests in a day, I often don’t have time to bill out all my time. There are just too many emails, text messages, phone calls, and other encounters to keep track of and not enough time in the day to generate invoices. So, typically only the more time consuming support calls are billed out.

I’ve rarely said ‘no’ to a support request. During times of peak demand, this means staying up late and cutting back on my personal life to keep up with the needs of others.

I’ve looked at time tracking apps that might help in this regard, and began using one of the best available. Yet, even the most efficient of these creates administrative overhead and a costly drain on time. I found that I’d rather just skip billing people, and move on to help the next person in need.

With this in mind, one of my goals this year is to help fewer people and spend more quality time with each one.

As a result, here’s what I hope to have time for in the year ahead:

  • More time for training courses that are free and open to the public on topics such as photography, web design, mobile device best practices, and how to purchase a computer.
  • More time for providing one-on-one proactive support, regular maintenance, and personalized training.
  • More time on each service call going beyond quick solutions to offer an expanded multi-point check-up.
  • More time to offer ‘courtesy’ services for customers such as picking up needed supplies rather than having them do it.
  • More time to provide reminders of upcoming meetings, follow-up after service calls, and periodically check-in with customers to see how they are getting along.
  • More time to write extensive tech support articles in responses to the questions I’m getting from people — especially when existing online resources are limited or unhelpful.
  • More time to write how-to guides such as, how to setup a new Windows 10 computer or Apple computer.
  • More time to research, resolve, and document problem solutions. In the past, such articles offer unique resolutions that aren’t found anywhere else, and as such, these articles end up having thousands of readers worldwide.
  • More time to do research on a variety of products and write articles that serve as consumer buying guides.

In addition to the tech support related items listed above, I’m also interested in expanding on my consumer advocacy work, photography, music composition, public speaking, and pursuing my wellness goals.

As you can see, there’s a lot I want to bring back into my regular monthly schedule.

Wellness Goals and Strategy

This month I’m expanding my wellness goals. I’ve been committing to a daily workout that includes 20 minutes of strength training, a 20 minute elliptical cardio workout, and about 20 minutes of bike riding. This month, I want to add back into my daily routine a 20 minute morning yoga and meditation practice along with a 20 minute walk-hike each morning. I’m hopeful this additional activity will help me reach my overall wellness goals faster.

For the past few years I’ve been using an Internet-connected scale that measures body weight and body fat. The scale can upload the data to an online service where it can be displayed in table or chart format. However, these systems are becoming less reliable due to massive global hacking of Internet connected devices. There are now delays, sometimes of several days, before data shows up online. This could be due to security countermeasures in place. Whatever the cause, these expensive devices become less useful if the data no longer shows up online in realtime.

This month I’m switching back to using a more sophisticated full-body composition analysis system that measures body weight, percent body fat, percent of body weight that is water, percent body weight that is muscle, BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), bone density (bone weight), and visceral fat rating. This data is used to calculate overall physical fitness (on a scale from 1-9) as well as Metabolic Age. By collecting this data daily, it’s possible to more precisely map and track progress.

Photography

Each week I post some of my favorite photos from the week in a series of weekly Featured Photos. In recent weeks, these photos have all been taken with my iPhone 7 Plus. In the future, I hope to get back to taking higher quality photos with some of my other cameras.

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

__________

Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 17 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201701

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Personal Update 201701 | 17 January 2017 | Tuesday

Greetings,

I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.

Cold Weather Bicycling

For many years I was a year-round cyclist. Then after spending two years living and working downtown in Iowa City, I stopped riding as much. After that, since the summer of 2011, living on a bus route made it tempting to just let someone else do the driving on rainy days or during cold icy snowstorms. So, I transitioned to becoming a recreational fair-weather cyclist.

Heading into this winter, I decided to return to bicycling year-round. This required outfitting my bicycle with some special modifications. [Read More]

We Need Better Methods of Activism

As a teenager, I became aware of leaders and role models who were influencers for social good: Martin Luther King Jr., John Lennon, Nelson Mandela, Ralph Nader, and others before them like Gandhi.

It seems that the more successful activists chose peaceful and creative ways to get their message across and build public support for their message.

Today there’s a troubling rise of confrontational and violent activism among right wing and left wing activists. I’m concerned that civility and some important social values may get lost in the noise.

With that in mind, I wrote Counterproductive Activism: How Direct Action Protests Could Harm the Progressive Movement in America. It’s an essay about how peaceful and respectful freedom of expression is more effective for anyone trying to get a message across. [Read More]

The Year Ahead

We we’re moving into a new year, I’m reflecting on last year and planning ahead for how I can be more effective at everything I’m doing. My main focus this coming year will be to continue to refine and improve my technology consulting business, as well as staying focused on health and wellness.

Thanks!

Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg

__________

Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to resourcesforlifenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 17 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

Winter Cold Weather Bicycle Riding

For many years I was a year-round cyclist. Then after spending two years living and working downtown in Iowa City, I stopped riding as much. After that, since the summer of 2011, living on a bus route made it tempting to just let someone else do the driving on rainy days or during cold icy snowstorms. So, I transitioned to becoming a recreational fair-weather cyclist.

Heading into this winter, I decided to return to bicycling year-round. This required outfitting my bicycle with some special modifications.

One of the first things I noticed when bicycling in sub-zero temperatures was that the shifting mechanism for my bike would freeze up. I was able to get a special double-sleve shifting cable. This means the shifting cable goes through a sealed cable that is inside another cable. So, the shifting is smooth and responsive in extreme conditions.

Very low windchill temperatures are especially severe on a bicycle. If you’re riding into the wind, frostbite conditions happen much faster. Dermatologists use liquid nitrogen to burn and remove skin. The procedure is painful. That’s how unprotected skin feels in high winds and sub-zero temperatures. So, it’s important to be well covered and insulated.

In the winter, I tend to carry more things with me. On my bike ride to the gym, I need to pack my exercise shoes separately, and wear winter boots for my ride. So, I purchased some oversized side-bags for my rear bike rack. These are also helpful at any time of the year when needing to carry extra items.

With icy roads, normal bike tires may not have the necessary traction, so I had some winter tires put on my bike. They have silica embedded in the rubber. The gritty sand in the tires, along with softer than normal rubber, helps ensure better control on slick roads.

With all of these upgrades, I’m now able to venture out in just about any weather. As a result, I’m enjoying the outdoors more, and taking some photos I might not otherwise have taken. Bike riding is also great for promoting health and wellness.