News Feed

Personal Update 202208 | 1 Aug 2022


Thanks for taking a moment to read this month’s update. The photo above is from about two years ago, on a nature walk 30 Jun 2020. 

Monthly Summary

The month of July was ver busy with tech work and website work, so I don’t have much new to report.

Google Pixel

This year, on 7 March 2022, security updates for my 2017-model Moto X4 phone were no longer available due to the outdated Android 9 operating system. I was hesitant to continue using a non-secure device given the many security breaches in the news recently.

My plan was to get another Motorola phone, either a Moto G series or Moto X series. I ended up having a need to buy a loaner phone for my tech library, so I purchased a Moto G Power 2022 for about $200 and that went out on loan right away. It lacks NFC for tap-to-pay purchases, but otherwise is a very nice smartphone with 3-day battery. I’ve seen it occasionally go on sale at about $160 on Amazon. I’ll get a chance to review that later upon its return to the tech library later this year.

I ended up getting a Google Pixel 6a as a replacement for my Moto X4. I’ve written a longer article on the topic if you’re interested. I originally included an early draft of the article in this month’s newsletter, but subsequently created a separate post on the topic. [Read Now]


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 22 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]


Growing up, I didn’t participate in team sports. I didn’t attend sporting events, or watch them on TV. My primary interest was in computers and academic pursuits. I was a bit of a nerd.

It wasn’t until my middle-age adulthood that I finally understood the importance of sports. One day in March 2014, I was scrolling through the list of suggested videos on YouTube. There were the usual videos about building robots and deep space telescopes.

One video caught my attention. It was an ad from Dick’s Sporting Goods, but they weren’t selling anything. The video was part of their “Sports Matter” series of public service announcements about the importance of sports. [See Playlist]

I watched that video, and the next, and began binge watching the entire series of ads in the “Sports Matter” campaign. I’ll include some of those below.

You may already be familiar with the message and lesson conveyed by the videos. They explain in a very personal way, how important sports participation can be for young people.

Team sports are one way young people build valuable relationship skills they can benefit from for a lifetime. Participating in sports may be the only confidence-building experience some young people have if their home life diminishes their self esteem and erodes their confidence.

Positive Impact of TEAM Sports

The stories conveyed in the Dick’s videos are very emotional and compelling, and equally gripping are the statistics shared in the campaign overview video:

  • “Student athletes score higher in social skills like resolving conflict, appreciating diversity, and moral conduct.”
  • “Student athletes are 4 times more likely to graduate High School.”

Despite these benefits, $1.5 billion was cut from youth sport programs in the 2010 to 2011 school year. It was projected that 27% of U.S. public High Schools would not have sports by the year 2020. [Source Video]

My own Lack of Awareness

A few years ago, I was standing in line at a coffee shop. In an effort to be friendly, I turned to the person behind me in line, and noticing they looked rather sporty, I said, “You look like a coach.” He did have that coach vibe.

The man responded, “I am THE coach.” I had to ask a few more question before I realized he was Kirk Frerentz, the head football coach at the University of Iowa. It was a little embarrassing, but he was friendly despite me not recognizing him.

On one occasion I was at the gym for my daily workout, and met a woman who humbly described herself as a former University of Iowa coach. I later learned she’s a well known award winning women’s coach.

A few days ago, I met a woman while on my morning walk. Being friendly, she introduced herself. In our brief conversation I learned she had coached at my high school — a mile down the road from where we were walking. I learned upon asking that she coached over a span of about two decades. Those few tips should have been sufficient for me to recognizer her. Yet, I was oblivious.

Sensing I should have known of her, I later did a Google search and learned she was the recipient of multiple awards and hall of fame recognitions. She wrote a book, The Miracle Season, that became a full-length feature film staring Helen Hunt depicting her work as a coach. It would be like meeting Maya Angelou, and even after being told she writes poetry, not recognizing who she was. This encounter prompted me to revisit what I can do to support youth sports.

Sports Education

My lack of knowledge about basic sports facts is a hinderance, and it’s not something easily corrected late in life. I wish I had learned in school, and perhaps college, some basic information about sports.

As an undergraduate student at the University of Iowa, General Education Requirements ensured I had some basic awareness of foundational subjects.

A simple semester-long course about sports would have been sufficient to learn the essentials about different sports, history of sports, key figures, and the benefits of team sports. Perhaps one day something like that can be available.

Take Positive Action

Investments in youth sports initiatives will generally provide a measurable benefit and payback to individuals, families, schools, communities, and society. Confident and competent team-focused young people generally grown into successful and giving adults.

What I plan to do in my own life, and encourage others to do, is support team sports. It’s an important part of anyone’s “making the world a better place” portfolio of giving.

Here are some of the charitable organizations and foundations established to give more young people access to the valuable experience of participating in team sports.

  • Every Kid Sports [View]
  • Live Like Line Foundation [View]
  • National Council of Youth Sports [View]
  • National Youth Sports Strategy [View]
  • Sports Matter [View]

Learn More

The videos below provide insights into the positive impact that team sports can have for young people. You may want to have some tissues while watching these.

Anchorage, Alaska Hockey (1 Dec 2015, Revised 2 May 2022)

Jerome High School Softball (29 Mar 2022)

Daniel #19 Pitcher (21 Apr 2014)

Lacross — BD #9 Defense (2 Mar 2014)

Harlem Lacrosse (5 Aug 2015)

Document History

I originally posted on this topic in March 2014. [View] I was recently inspired to offer this refreshed writing on the topic in July 2022. The featured photo used at the top of this page is from about a year ago, on 30 June 2021. It’s the view from a favorite walking trail.

Independence Day 2022

Happy 4th of July

Traditionally, Independence Day has been a time when people gather with family and friends to celebrate. It’s a holiday similar to Thanksgiving, but with a political and patriotic theme. Appreciation is shown for those who have fought for the ongoing independence of the country. People reflect on how grateful they are for the freedoms they have.

For those celebrating today, I hope you have a great day.

For those reflecting on the meaning of this day, feel free to read on.

How We Use Our Freedoms

As individuals or as a country, our freedoms come with responsibilities and obligations.

This principle is conveyed in the following quotes:

  • “Instead of thinking that I am born with rights, I choose to think that I was born with obligations to serve past, present, and future generations, and the planet herself.” ~ Cherokee elder, Stan Rushworth. [More]
  • “…we are held responsible for what we have. If we have been blessed with talents, wealth, knowledge, time, and the like, it is expected that we benefit others.” ~ Casey Duhart essay on Luke 12:48 [Source]

Political holidays like Independence Day offer an opportunity to reflect with appreciation on the freedoms we have, and consider how well we are using those freedoms to make the world a better place.

The Good Country Index is a helpful tool for reflecting on a country’s success and how it is measured. It’s a meaningful ‘report card’ to periodically review. [View]

We become more honest with our own self-assessment when we consider specific goals for society. The UN Sustainable Development Goals are a good guideline for progress and planning. [View]

A practical way to observe and celebrate Independence Day is to consider how to give of one’s time, money, and resources to help their country and the world be better. Donate financially to organizations that advance freedom, such as independent journalism and education. Look for ways to help strengthen the Columns of Democracy.

Unusual Context for Fourth of July 2022

This year the Fourth of July blends with some other significant events in our country’s history.

In recent weeks, our legislators have been investigating the insurgency of 6 Jan 2021, when an armed group attacked the Capitol. This investigation brings attention to the divisions in the country.

A separate but related event is the decision of the Supreme Court on 24 Jun 2022 whereby women no longer have certain federally protected rights that had been in place for about 50 years. This creates a big rift in the country between states that want to uphold the established law and those who do not. The fallout from the decision is still settling and has many ramifications. [More]

During his time in power, the leader of the insurgency group had installed justices who would generally be loyal to the insurgency group and their views. His name and image continue to be used by loyalists who still see him as their leader. So, when the Supreme Court ruling was announced, there was much celebration of what was considered to be a political victory and proof that their leader still has power, influence, and was still delivering on political promises.

Due to this context and recent events, the usual unity and enthusiasm of Independence Day is slightly muted.

[Photo: The picture featured is a sunrise photo from my morning walk on 4 Jul 2022.]

Personal Update 202207 | 1 Jul 2022


Thanks for taking a moment to read this month’s update. The photo above is from my morning walk on 26 June 2022.

Daily Walks

I’ve been going on daily walks each morning, and it’s been a really helpful practice to start each day off in nature with a clear head.

Earlier this year, pressured by an excessive workload, I had been starting my days early with desk work. Tech work is mostly sedentary whether sitting at my desk or someone else’s desk. So, the walks are a way to ensure some exercise and activity during the day.

The walks are also an opportunity to take some photos.

Adjusting Service Focus

I continue to provide tech support to people in the Iowa City area, and some from other locations who either moved or have been referred.

As the need for tech services has increased, and the time involved in resolving issues has increased, I’ve had to make adjustments to help as many people as possible.

I’ve been gradually reducing tech support for business customers and shifting my focus to mostly seniors and people serving in public interest work.

Breaking News

It seems like every day there is a major breaking news story. Usually these mark a continuation of an existing crisis or threat like climate change, natural disasters, or the war in Ukraine. Sometimes there is a new development that requires an adjustment in thinking or awareness.

On 24 June 2022, the Supreme Court issued a ruling on the Dobbs case which overturned about 50 years of legal precedents. I’ve written a brief commentary about the ruling. [View]

I spent the past year developing a fiction short story about what might happen if the United States became the Divided States. I decided to stop developing the story because it was too dark and implausible. The ruling one week ago by the Supreme Court has started in motion the unfolding of events that I was concerned about. This is explained in my commentary. [View]

It can sometimes be difficult to stay focused on day to day work when such significant developments and changes are happening around us. A person wants to stay informed and responsibly involved in civic obligations. So, I’m trying to keep a balance between staying focused on my work, but socially informed and involved.

Understanding and Kindness

Among the people I know — family, friends, and those I offer tech help to — there are many social and political views.

Because of my role in serving the community, I feel it is particularly important that I be understanding and kind to everyone regardless of their views.

For this reason, I try to be reserved and thoughtful in presenting any observations and views about social issues.


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 22 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]

Survey: Women, Choice, and Life


This survey is primarily intended for women in the state Iowa to convey their preference regarding state laws that will determine the rights of all women in the state. Submissions can be made anonymously. By completing this survey, you are helping provide a better understanding of the will of women in Iowa.

  • The aggregated survey outcomes may be generally shared on this page. This is a small non-scientific poll, and the outcome should be compared with other similar surveys for establishing better insights.
  • Survey submissions can be later changed or retracted and deleted on request by the survey participant.
  • When completing the survey, as applicable, answer relevant questions as you would wish to be treated and have other women treated.
  • This survey is intended for women who might be impacted by Iowa legislation. If you wish to complete the survey and are outside of Iowa or not a woman, please indicate that in the concluding comments.
  • More information about the survey is below, along with materials for further reading to assist with answering the survey. This survey is based on topics and questions recently raised by politicians and legislators and does not reflect the views or opinions of the survey creator.



The purpose of this survey is to provide some information to male voters in Iowa who want their voting to reflect the preferences of women in their state. This can help ensure that women are collectively and democratically self-governed rather than governed by the opinions and decisions of men.


On 24 June 2022, in the United States, decisions about reproductive choices were taken away from individual women and transferred to state legislators. This means that for some states, principles of imminent domain will govern women’s uteruses. That part of the body will not be governed by the woman, and because pregnancy and birthing are so all-encompassing, women will no longer have complete autonomy of their lives. Voters in each state will be responsible to select legislators who will establish laws supporting or limiting women’s freedoms.

Message from Survey Creator

On 29 Jun 2022, in researching women’s views on life and choice, I read a comment posted by a woman responding to the heartbeat law in Tennessee. She said, “I just hope that woman will become more responsible for their decisions.” I was surprised by that comment. It seems to me that not all pregnancies are the result of a decision a woman makes. Some are the result of assault. Perhaps some women (and some men) see pregnancy as an apt ‘punishment’ or abiding-consequence for promiscuity. While that is an antiquated and rare viewpoint, it may still be prevalent today. I wanted to get more input from women to help guide my voting decisions, so I created this survey. It is a follow-up to my initial writing on this topic, “Thoughts on Life and Choice After the Fall of Roe V. Wade on 24 June 2022.” [View]

Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Do Not Exist

We oversimplify views on abortion and place people into binary categories of pro-life or pro-choice. Yet, people’s individual personal views are much more complex.

Among pro-choice people, there is a point in a pregnancy at which they would agree nobody should be allowed to have an abortion because it would be inhumane (assuming the mother’s life was not endangered).

Among pro-life people, there are many different views about when life begins and at what point developmentally does it become unacceptable to allow an abortion. There may be circumstances where a pro-life person might consider an abortion to be acceptable. There may also be a standard they would hold themself to which is different than what they would allow another person to choose.

For this reason, many people believe that a single state-wide law becomes a violation of religious freedom and a violation of basic human rights.

Further Reading

Below are general impartial informative resources for further reading.

  • Dobbs v. Jackson [Wikipedia]
  • Heartbeat bill [Wikipedia]
  • Punishment, “There has to be some form of punishment” – comment by a recent U.S. President [View on YouTube]
  • Roe v. Wade, NPR, 24 Jun 2022, “Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, ending right to abortion upheld for decades” [View]
  • Timeline on gestation and abortion access prior to June 2022 [View]
  • Trigger law [Wikipedia]


On 29 June 2022, Trevor Noah has offered a commentary that seems to summarize and reflect general public sentiment of those who are concerned about extreme restrictions on abortion. [View on YouTube]

Thoughts on Life and Choice After the Fall of Roe V. Wade on 24 June 2022

Divided States of America

Over the past year, I was working on developing a fiction short story about a divided America. This is obviously not a new idea. It’s a reality that is unfolding all around us. In my story, tension between red states and blue states resulted in border crossing military checkpoints similar to those between different countries.

Entering the “Red Zone” involved having your vehicle inspected for banned books and other contraband such as any multicolored or rainbow colored items. Identity papers were required to prove citizenship. Women and girls over 12 years old were under extra scrutiny and required to prove they were not pregnant to avoid being detained. No documentation was required for guns and other weapons.

Upon crossing the border, one could see the rolling coal smoke from diesel trucks swirling up to combine in the air with smoke from piles of banned books being burned in the streets. Schools were surrounded with barbed wire and all teachers carried guns. Militarized Hummers replaced traditional school buses. It’s a scene that to some people would consider a hellscape, but others would view it as all their dreams come true.

Entering the “Blue Zone” one would encounter a similarly exaggerated depiction of what those from the “Red Zone” would consider unappealing.

I had given up on the idea of writing the short story because it seemed too dark, too divisive, and also implausible. States having their own abortion laws was not something that could happen. Even the recent conservative justices under oath acknowledged that “Roe was settled law.” Courts tend to build upon decades of precedent rather than dismantle decades of precedent.

I didn’t realize I would wake up on a summer day in 2022 and the story I rejected as too dark would be unfolding in the news.

Multi-State provision

On 24 June 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the Roe V. Wade ruling of 1973. Thus, state legislators will now determine whether women in their state will have access to abortion and, if so, under what conditions.

This is similar to other state-by-state laws, like those governing fireworks. Because each woman’s circumstances and religious views are different, it’s impossible to make case-by-case determinations. Instead, blanket laws will be established that everyone will be required to comply with.

While certainly every person’s individual faith is important, it will be necessary for the faith and beliefs of the legislators to determine the law of the land for their state. For example, determinations about when life begins will be left to the legislators. They will also decide on the manner of punishment for those who are non-compliant.

Residents of each state are free to move to a state that matches their own beliefs about when life begins. If you believe life begins at conception, there will be a state you can move to where the law reflects that belief. If you believe life begins at 8 to 9 weeks when a heartbeat can be detected, there will be a state you can move to. Some people may look to 16 or 24-week designations as a point of viability. There will likely be states that have laws aligned with that viewpoint. If you believe contraception is a violation of your faith, there will probably be one or two states where they are outlawed and you can move there.

Where family members have differing views, the family members can be split up into different states that match those views. Preferably close to borders where they can continue to visit each other.

Some people will continue to believe that women are able to decide for themselves what the best choice is for their circumstance. For those people, there will be states that continue to allow women to make their own choice. In those states, laws of eminent domain will not apply to a woman’s uterus.

State laws may change from one year to the next depending on the religious views of the controlling majority legislators in each state. This may result in tension between states with different guidelines about when life begins. It may also result in disruption for people who need to change their place of residence to align with their faith. Or, if their own beliefs change, they would need to move accordingly.

Some people view the above outcome as something to be celebrated. Others believe that 50 different states each with different laws will create confusion, disruption, divisiveness, and distress in the country. Others are upset by the ruling, and would like their own beliefs about when life begins to be reflected in a federal anti-abortion law for everyone in the country to follow. It is deeply upsetting to some people, to think that a person in a neighboring state might be living according to a different belief system.

Baby in a Basket

The final published Supreme Court decision considers the following (on page 34 of the majority opinion / page 42 of the PDF):

States have increasingly adopted ‘safe haven’ laws, which generally allow women to drop off babies anonymously…” and “…a woman who puts her new-born up for adoption today has little reason to fear that the baby will not find a suitable home.”

The ruling is suggesting that having a baby does not result in a long-term parenting burden, and single parenting is no longer stigmatized. This is undoubtedly a disputed claim, but it is a significant part of the overall decision.

Now What

It’s not likely this will become an individual state-wide ballot item. Instead, individuals will vote every two to four years in support of politicians who seem to reflect views consistent with the majority of women in their state.

Men will be asked to vote for legislators who will enact laws that control what women’s freedoms will be. Of course, women will also vote, but their personal destiny will be determined by others in their state. Will men feel comfortable being required to vote on laws that impact women? Probably not. A person can refuse to vote, but that will impact the outcome as well. So, there’s no way to avoid being involved in some way.

Most state residents will feel compelled to become informed about theological issues of various faiths, as well as gaining an understanding of modern medicine, and the ethics of what we can force our neighbors to do or not do through legislation.

For the past 50 years, we had millions of women making millions of decisions, each fitting their own situation and beliefs. It was a distributed democratic system. Now we will establish a system where a small number of uninformed and uninvested people will be making life and death decisions for people they have never met and will never know. It will be very difficult and costly to establish. Innocent people may get prosecuted and incarcerated, such as a woman having a late-term miscarriage perceived to have been induced. Women may be forced to carry to term and raise children of people who assaulted them. This will become the responsibility of their spouses and existing children. The long list of possible scenarios is troubling.

Further Reading

Additional reading is listed alphabetically by source name.

  • CNBC, 3 May 2022, “Supreme Court says leaked abortion draft is authentic; Roberts orders investigation into leak” [View]
  • NPR, 24 Jun 2022, “Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, ending right to abortion upheld for decades” [View]
  • Politico, 2 May 2022, “Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows” [View]
  • Supreme Court Final Opinion, 24 June 2022, “Dobbs v. Jackson” [View]

Rev. Robert Schenck

Below is an important reflection and commentary from Rev. Robert Schenck. He was a high-profile organizer and spokesman for Operation Rescue in New York State, a particularly aggressive anti-abortion group. (27 Jun 2022)

Kathryn Kolbert

Below is a TED presentation by Kathryn Kolbert from 8 Dec 2021 about some services, guidelines, and resources that are mostly very far “upstream” of abortion, and thus these could result in a national and global reduction of abortions.

The alternative to what Kolbert proposes would be to reduction in education and an elimination of access to contraceptives, which would result in an increase in abortions.

Personal Update 202206 | 1 Jun 2022


Thanks for taking a moment to read this month’s update. After more than two years of staying close to home during the pandemic, in May we decided to make a trip to Saint Louis and spent a couple days there. The photo above is from the Missouri Botanical Garden on 6 May 2022.

Time Tracking

I began developing a time tracking system back in April. It’s a grid system with each square of the grid representing a minute of time. This allows for easy visual tracking and review of time spent on projects. I’ve revised the system slightly since I first developed it.

This paper-based system can track time, exercise, finances, sleep, nutrition, and handle other entries throughout the day.

I use a 3-hole punch for the pages which have a gutter margin for the binding. Staples has inexpensive brass binding fasteners to hold the pack of pages.

Paper is available made from sawmill waste, produced using wind energy and hydropower. [Learn More]

Included as part of this paper-based time tracking system, are half-sized sheets of paper used for notes and daily task goals. The reason for the 1/2 sheet is to save paper, and be able to reuse existing scrap paper.

Spending more time with pen and paper results in less time on my smartphone, and less time spent on social media, YouTube, and other distractions. Less screen time, and more time with pen and paper, seems to result in a more calm and grounded day.

US Postal Service

In pursuing my goal of reducing daily screen time, I’ve started using postal mail as an alternative to email. This is particularly helpful for communicating with people who have trouble with technology. Something as seemingly simple as email actually requires many systems to be functioning properly.

If I have something that I want someone to print out, it’s easier for me to print it and mail it to them. This avoids having them encounter problems like being low on ink, out of paper, having Internet problems, computer issues, etc.

Using postal mail is a low-stress simple solution for communicating. It reinforces low-tech alternatives. I want to be supporting the postal service. It’s really valuable to have a national network that makes it possible to send a letter or package thousands of miles for pennies. Sending a physical letter, card, or gift is a more personal way to connect with people.

Artist Promotion

In the past I would occasionally send out prints of my own photography. Lately with my return to using postal mail more frequently, I’m sending out thank you note cards featuring local Iowa City artists. One artist I am supporting is Mara Cole, who has some nice water color paintings of flowers. [Example]

I’ve created a “self-print program” for supporting artists and promoting their work. I use 5×7-inch photo paper for the prints, and the artist gets paid for each print to help support their work. On the back of the print I put a sticker with the artist name, the name of the work, and contact details for the artist. This is a fun way to print-on-demand and choose art that seems to fit the recipient of a thank you note.

I don’t write on the printed card. That way the recipient can use it as a note card for someone else if they want. I have some 6×9-inch envelopes that work perfectly for sending 5×7-inch prints along with a separate note. [View Envelopes]

Only a single first class stamp is needed for postage to send a 6×9-inch envelope. An extra ounce stamp can be used if needed for sending several prints.

Staples and Best Buy

In recent years, I had become a regular Amazon customer. I like the selection, crowd-sourced product reviews, low cost, and fast shipping options. We now have an Amazon warehouse in our city. Yet, I feel that Amazon is still not quite as ‘local’ as stores like Staples and Best Buy. With these local stores, I can still purchase online and get fast free home delivery.

For items I purchase online, returns are much easier with local stores like Staples and Best Buy. For some products, I like the ability to go into a local store and visually examine and compare items before purchasing. For these reasons, I like the combined convenience of online shopping from local stores.

You Can’t Grow a Computer

The pandemic resulted in millions of people working from home. Those people all wanted printers and laptop computers. This created a global shortage of equipment.

More recently, supply chain issues and limited chip availability have caused further shortages of technology. This year, the war between Russia and Ukraine has abruptly disrupted the supply of neon which is essential for computer manufacturing.

Computers and chip-based devices require mining of rare minerals and other non-renewable resources.

I like relying on a paper-based system because I know it is more renewable and sustainable than a computer-based system. Paper can be made from sugar cane production waste, bamboo, or other materials. Computers can’t be grown. They can only be mined and produced at great expense.

The other benefit of a paper-based system is that it requires no electricity. It’s more reliable. It’s easier to use and improve.

I’ll still use computers and tech devices, but with less reliance and dependence on them.

A system that you can grow from the ground is much more advanced than one made with diminishing scarce non-renewable materials.


Last month I mentioned that I created a page for my long-term and short-term plans. It’s something I’ve been developing and thinking about for many years but want to get it written down and expanded on. [View Page]


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 22 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 202205 | 1 May 2022


Thanks for taking a moment to read this month’s update. The photos featured above are explained below and are part of the “Lives of Service” message in this month’s update.

Lives of Service

The University of Iowa celebrated its 175th anniversary this year. [Learn More] The photo at the top of this page is of the Old Capitol (15 May 2021) and a quotation from the Iowa Memorial Union (2 Dec 2017). The quotation is one of my favorites about higher education, and reflects the mindset of those who instructed me while I was at Iowa.

“And if this magnificent structure is to fulfill the dreams out of which it has arisen, it can only do so by stirring the impulses of the young men and women of Iowa to lives of service to mankind.” ~ James Weaver, 1926

I manage a curated news feed on Facebook and Twitter that focuses on public interest related news about the University of Iowa. Subscribers include University departments, faculty, and area journalists as well as students and others interested in the University. [View on Facebook]

Resources for Life

About 25 years ago, I established Resource For Life as an outreach initiative focused on self-funded public interest work. Consistent with that theme, an early name for my tech support consulting business was Public Interest Computer Consulting (PICC). The tech consulting and public interest work continues today.

About a year ago, I took the main RFL website offline and replaced it using a simpler HTML version with just a few pages. I took a year to reflect on the direction of the project. This month, I’ve brought back the full dot COM website under a new simple WordPress design. Some of the older outdated content has been removed. [View dot COM Version]

The dot ORG version of the site is designed using pure HTML pages. It is intended to have a singular focus on public interest and reference resources, without the additional superfluous content on the dot COM site. Being developed with pure HTML pages, the content loads extremely quickly, regardless of the device being used, even for people in areas of the world with slow and limited Internet service. [View the dot ORG Version]

Just a few days after the redesign launch, Google was gracious enough to reindex the site and put the content on the first page of search results on many terms — allowing me to retain the position and rank of a website with 20+ years of history. So, site visitors began streaming in from all over the world, including visitors from Moscow and Kyiv. It’s encouraging to see such an interest in the project.

Going forward, I’ll be making a greater effort to have content on the site less likely to become outdated. Also, instead of having monthly newsletters, I’ll be focusing on four announcements per year to coincide with quarterly seasonal news. The purposeful streamlining and simplification of the site will help me spend more time on other projects.

Giving it Your Best

We’re all familiar with the term “giving it your best” which conveys the idea of doing your best or working your hardest on a project.

In my life, I have developed the habit of spending the early morning hours on writing. These are the most focused, efficient, and productive hours of the day. Much of my writing would be technical reference guides or social commentary writings for the Resources For Life website.

Over the past eight months, I’ve been using those best hours of the day to work on a very worthwhile project involving a public interest research website. [View Site]

I’ll plan to share more about the project in the months ahead. It’s very aligned with my own interests, so a good fit.

Time Tracking

My daytime hours can be very chaotic with multiple requests coming in simultaneously by phone, text message, and email. I triage those requests, and refer most people to other service providers, or provide free phone support for those with simple questions.

Sometimes I get to the end of a day, having responded to numerous request, and I feel exhausted from having helped so many people. Yet, it’s hard to charge people for brief text exchanges, email replies, and short phone calls. So, I’ll work 12 to 16 hours with little time for a break and have no income.

These numerous daily disruptions interrupt my income-producing work and make it difficult to track billable time. So, I don’t get paid for the numerous short support requests, and am unable track how much cumulative time I’ve spent on substantive work requests.

A project that might normally take an hour, could take 3 to 4 hours with numerous interruptions.

This past month I’ve been developing a paper-based task management and time tracking system. It’s extremely simple, efficient, customizable, easy to setup, and easy to use. The system facilitates greater focus and documents how every minute of the day is spent.

I’ve used computer software and smartphone apps for time tracking, but those have a big learning curve and require some fumbling to use. They are a distraction and use up time to track time.

The paper-based system I’ve developed works much better for my purposes.

My Long-Term and Short-Term Plan

I’ve created a page for my long-term and short-term plans. It’s something I’ve been developing and thinking about for many years. [View Page]


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.

Personal Update 202204 | 10 Apr 2022 


Thanks for taking a moment to read this month’s update. The photo featured above was taken yesterday while on a morning walk.

Workload Increasing

My workload has been steadily increasing. Whether for tech support or web support, outages are more common and security threats are an ongoing concern. As people get taken in by scams, there is an increased need for helping them recover. Delays in response time from support staff, and delays in needed products, are disruptive and result in greater effort to accomplish tasks.

These stresses and disruptions are disorienting and can result in cognitive strain for some people. This means that providing tech support may require that instructions be provided more slowly for it to be learned.

The various strains on our society such as wars, pandemics, supply chain disruptions, hackers, climate disasters, global inflation, and other concerns tend to preoccupy people’s minds. So, I tend to offer less information since people aren’t absorbing and remembering details as well.

Prepping to Help Others

The survivalist movement mostly consists of “preppers” who are people anticipating upheaval and various societal disruptions. Realtors have a category of home listings for underground bunkers and fallout shelters, typically in the rural plains west of the Missouri River.

I’ve given some thought to disaster preparedness after living through the pandemic, seeing empty grocery shelves, and being among the 300,000 people in our area without power following the Derecho storm of August 2020. Economic instability and supply chain problems are other motivations for preparing ahead.

My approach to preparedness involves assembling resources that will help me continue providing tech support to people during difficult times. Examples would be having battery backup systems for power during outages, and having a small inventory of commonly needed tech parts and supplies.

Being prepared for one’s own basic survival is fairly easy. There are food packs that promise to provide months of food with a shelf-life of many years. However, being prepared to help others takes a bit more planning and each person’s vocation or profession will have unique planning and preparation needs. This requires thinking through the current support needs people have, and how needs may change in a crisis.

Last year I began writing installments on the topic of simpler tech solutions that cost less money and use less power. I’m continuing to study what solutions may work well during disasters or other disruptions.

agile Preparedness

Most of us have been through power outages. In Iowa City, we’ve had 500-year floods that resulted in closed bridges. We’ve had tornados go through the city destroying homes and flipping cars upside down. The Derecho storm of August 2020 caused significant damage. These experiences help guide a preparedness plan.

One also follows news stories of disruptions elsewhere such as wars, droughts, and rising ocean waters that can all result in displacing millions of people who need to find a caring and welcoming community where they can live.

So, another kind of preparedness is that which allows us to be welcoming of others and supporting the needs of those who are new in our communities.

Minimizing Profits

We’re all familiar with the practice of maximizing profits. It’s a business strategy of spending as little as possible on products and services, reducing labor costs, cutting corners, and offering as little as possible of value to customers while charging as much as possible.

In business, I have always focused on minimizing profits. This means I’m fair with those who provide products and services to me. I seek out high quality products and services for the work I do, rather than inexpensive cheap ones. I acquire software, tools, equipment, systems, and resources that will benefit my customers. These things increase my regular expenses and cut into my net earnings. What’s rewarding is that I’m able to offer a lot of really great services to people at very economical prices.

There are regular monthly and annual fees and subscriptions I pay for software and services I use to do my tech work and website work. There are also purchases of equipment that build the business. These investments in the business over time help the business grow. I could cut back on these expenses, and provide less to the people I support. That would increase my profits. However, I think the practice of putting profits over people is selfish, short sighted, and ultimately not a very good business strategy.

The ideal balance is to invest in a business so it can grow, serve people well, and provide a good livelihood to the business owner.

Despite widespread inflation and rising costs of tech devices in short supply, I’ve been able to continue charging about the same hourly rate that I did over 20 years ago. This is possible through continuous improvement and efficiencies that allow me to provide more services and better support on less money.


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.

Low Cost Computing with Raspberry Pi


Despite some global supply-chain challenges, the Raspberry Pi is currently available in a 2GB kit version for $140 [View] and a 4GB keyboard version for $99. [View] The kit version requires a mouse, keyboard, and monitor. The keyboard version comes with a mouse and only requires a display.

As a tech support provider, I see the greatest value of Pi computing in the low cost of hardware purchase, software, and tech support.


The low cost of equipment means any computer problem can be solved for $99 by giving someone a replacement computer. There’s no need to pay for a $200 extended warranty when the computer can be replaced for $99.


The internal solid-state system drive is a micro SD card, easily replaced without any special tools or skills for about $10 to $30 depending on the storage capacity you need. [View Drives]

On a traditional laptop or desktop computer, the main system drive is perhaps not even replaceable, or can only be replaced at great cost by paying a consultant. On some computers with non-removable storage, like an Apple laptop computer, a damaged system drive could cost $800 or more to replace out of warranty (by replacing the main system board).


If someone asks me to reinstall Windows and Microsoft Office on a typical laptop or desktop computer, it’s an afternoon project. I lose money by charging for only a fraction of my time. The numerous updates and desirable customizations take time. [Learn More] The subscription to Microsoft 365 is about $105 per year.

If someone asks me to completely reinstall their operating system and office suite of software on a Raspberry Pi computer. I can to that using about 30 seconds of my time. I could probably afford to do the work and give them a new system drive at no cost just as a courtesy. The work could be done in a few minutes while they wait. That’s a huge difference. The software is free and there are no ongoing subscription or service fees.

Tablet Computing

A similarly simple device for computing would be an Apple iPad which costs about $330. A bluetooth keyboard for about $30 would help make the iPad more like a laptop computer.


Using simpler technology requires some simplification of a person’s daily routine and tech demands. People who feel they need expensive powerful computers might want to examine what life changes they could make that would not require such capabilities.

The Raspberry Pi computer or Apple iPad require some changes in computing practices, but generally should serve the needs of most people.


This article relates to the topic of Tech Industry Supply Shortages. [Read More]

PHOTO. The photo at the top of this page is from Kent Park on 5 Aug 2020.