Personal Update 202308 | 31 Aug 2023


Thanks for taking a moment to read this month’s update.

Featured Photo

The featured photo this month at the top of the page is from 27 July 2023 while on my morning walk. It is the construction site for a new parking area that replaces a field of prairie grass used by wildlife and pollinators.

I was disappointed to see the field removed, but it’s a good reminder of how we need to do what we can to support preservation where natural habitats remain.

Below is a photo of what the field looked like in July prior to the parking area being developed.

Trail Tree Trimming

The photo at the bottom of the page is from 24 July 2023. Some trees that needed light pruning of a few small branches were unfortunately cut down completely rather than trimmed.

A few days earlier I was walking with a friend on the trail. They noticed some small branches hanging low on the trail and asked who was responsible for pruning the trees along the trail. I explained that I was, but had neglected the trees this year. I told them, “I need to get them pruned soon or someone with no training and less patience will just cut the trees down.” I felt really bad that I didn’t get to the trees in time.

I’m not officially or formally responsible for trimming trees on local trails, but I’ve done so in the past to avoid having others use arbitrary, haphazard, excessive cutting. I’ve explained this in the 2017 video “Bike Trails – Maintenance and Tree Trimming” embedded below.

FYI — I’ve lost about 35 pounds since recording that video. I mention that not to be self conscious about weight, but just to explain why I look different today.


In June I walked about 218,000 steps covering 59 miles in about 17 hours. In July, I walked about 10,000 more steps for a total of 229,987 steps in the month.

The calculations are provided by Google as totals of my outdoor walks and other steps. The Google Maps and Google Fit monthly reports provide cumulative reports as well as weekly and daily reports. These help to stay motivated.

Below are the steps and travel summary reports for July. The top report is from the Google Fit app and the bottom report is from the Google Maps app.

Reviews Had 1.6 Million Views in July

I posted some more pictures and reviews in July using Google Maps. By the end of the month, there were 1.6 million more views of all posts and photos.

If I write a review and take photos of a very popular tourist destination, that will result in more views than information about a place with less popularity. I’m focusing on the places I’m going to anyway, and not making special trips simply to gain more views.


I continue to expand on the topic reports found on the Resources For Life dot com website. The list can be found on the What’s New Page. The list of topics expanded considerably in April. I keep adding to these reports, typically with one or two additions per month with a video or article link. Adding incrementally takes very little time since the post and related elements are already present.


If you’re interested in the latest tech-related guides and articles I’ve posted, you can visit the Posts Page on the Iowa City Tech website.


You can subscribe to be notified of these monthly newsletters [Subscribe] or scroll to the bottom of this page and enter your email address where indicated to be notified of every post to this site.


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 23 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith/philosophy), 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]

Personal Update 202107 | 1 Jul 2021 | Thursday


Thanks for taking a moment to read this month’s update. The photo featured above is from a nature walk in Iowa City on 30 Jun 2021.

Last month’s news update covered a lot of news, so check that out in case you didn’t see it previously. [View]

Windows 11

I’m writing this month’s newsletter using a version of Windows 11 from Microsoft designed for ARM processors, so it is running in a virtual machine on an Apple computer using an ARM-based Apple Silicon M1 processor with 16 billion transistors capable of 11 trillion operations per second. That way, if I ever have 11 trillion things I need to get done, I can complete the work in one second.

Windows 11 is a fast and friendly version of Windows that I prefer over previous versions. I’m also able to access Windows 11 from my iPad and use the touch features through a remote desktop connection to the virtual Windows 11 computer.

I’ve wanted to have some experience using Windows 11 since I’ll need to start supporting it later this year as it is released to the public on new computers. Many older traditional Windows computers will be unable to use Windows 11, and Microsoft has announced that support for Windows 10 will end on 14 Oct 2025. Going forward, new Intel and ARM-based computers should support Windows 11.

Windows 10 was impressive because it could run on older computers that may have shipped with Windows 7 or Windows 8. However, Windows 11 won’t run on most older computers. A major hardware requirement is that the computer have a TPM chip (trusted platform module) with version 2.0 of that standard. It’s something many computers don’t have.

In addition to using the Windows 11 operating system, I’ve also been working recently with DOS 6.22, Windows 98, Windows XP, the latest Apple operating system (Big Sur), and various versions of Linux (Ubuntu and PopOS).


Due to excessive tech work last month, and putting in 7-day workweeks, I didn’t post any articles in June, other than the now quarterly Resources For Life News. [View]


I wrote last month about the road to minimalism. In addition to what I shared previously, I’m finding the need to simplify because of how time consuming every interaction can be.

Here’s one example of why.

Everybody is apparently wanting to get rich quick, but not work to earn money. This isn’t necessarily new, but it’s becoming more of a problem. A 2007 book by Timothy Ferriss, The 4-Hour Workweek, served as a road map and manifesto to those wanting to work less and earn more. That message has only become amplified and more vigorously pursued in the past 14 years.

Products are poorly designed by people trying to cut corners and cut costs to maximize profits. Product testing is minimal or non-existent. The products are made with poor quality materials and manufactured by the factory with the lowest bid. For these reasons, products break. When they break, consumers seek out customer service, which has been outsourced.

About a year ago the lid on my water bottle broke. I contacted customer service. They assured me a replacement lid would be sent out. For over a year, I’ve repeatedly contacted them asking when they think the lid might be sent out. I was repeatedly told the lid would be sent very soon. Finally, over a year later, I was told they couldn’t replace the lid and that purchasing a new unit was the only way to get a working product.

That’s just a single issue that took a year and it didn’t get resolved. Every week there are a half-dozen things like that happening. Things breaking. Disorganized companies.

There are two other instances this week of products breaking or otherwise not working, requiring communications with customer service. It’s hugely time consuming.

It is because of the above increasingly time consuming complexities that I’m looking for ways to simplify my life. One less defective product in my life can free up many hours.

In addition to the challenges one faces personally, there’s the need to support people in crisis. On multiple occasions recently, Microsoft updates have caused computers to crash. This is well documented. Microsoft is aware of the issue. They have apologized. When this happens, people are in crisis mode and need help from me.

There have been a rise of very effective scams and frauds in recent months. When people get sucked into these, it can take hours to help them cleanup the mess and recover.

So, I think downsizing and simplifying are the keys to moving forward with efficiency.

[Part 1, Part 2, Part 3]


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 20 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.

Amazing Improvement in Sleep Quality

I founded the website almost 20 years ago with the goal of empowering people working in the public interest. The Life Map outlines areas of life that need attention, care, support, and renewal. Those working in public service and social activism especially need to maintain a strong and balanced life for maximum efficiency. Optimal health is critical, and sleep is an essential foundation for health.

Like millions of other people, I’ve been using an activity tracker during the day, that also analyzes my sleep quality at night. Anyone curious about their sleep quality can get a report that shows a chart indicating times of sleep, restless, and awake times.

Over the past few years, I’ve been working to improve my quality of sleep, and had some success. Yet, I still found my sleep quality wasn’t as good as I’d like, and in recent months it had been getting worse.

Stress can have a big influence on sleep quality. One of the biggest sources of stress for people can be their work, even for those who enjoy their job. Perhaps those who enjoy their job are even more susceptible to stress, because along with that tends to be a genuine concern about colleagues, customers, and the business or institution you work for.

Those who don’t care can leave their work behind at 5 o’clock and go home without giving it another thought. For others, that’s hard to do. Concerns about a colleague, or a problem at work, or perhaps considerations about innovations that might improve the workplace, these things are hard to ‘turn off’ for some people.

I’ve met many dedicated people thought the years — those putting in extra hours, and going above and beyond, not for any recognition or financial compensation, but just because they care about their job and the people they work with, and sometimes because they don’t complain when they are asked to take on extra work. Such people probably take on some additional work-related stress.

Yesterday I decided to make a career change. It was a big decision, and also a big weight off my shoulders. In life it’s easy to wonder whether or not the choices we make are the right move. There are gut feelings, but rarely any scientific metrics to go by.

Last night I went to bed at peace with the decision I’d made. It helped to have the support, agreement, and reassurance of my wife (Makur).

I woke up this morning and looked at my sleep analysis chart for the night like I always do.

Yet this time I saw something that I’d never seen before. I just looked at the chart. I was stunned.

I’ve provided the chart below so you can see it for yourself.

The “Before” chart shows a typical night. Normally there are lines indicating restless times (blue lines) and awake times (red lines). This is what I’ve seen now hundreds of times over the past few years. Sometimes more lines than others, but typically like what you see below in the top chart. In recent months there have been more of those lines.

The “After” chart shows only one blue line over a seven hour period. I’d slept through the night without waking, and apparently without even moving.

At that moment, I really knew that I’d made the right decision yesterday. Not only was I at peace with the decision, but the pressure of the job was gone.

It gives me a lot to reflect on, being familiar with the health impact of poor sleep, it’s a decision that may end up saving my life.

Update: As of 1 January 2016, it’s been about two weeks since I first posted this article. Since then, I’ve consistently seen better sleep each night, and had some great success with weight loss — I’ve lost about 6 pounds since then.



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