Category Archives: Internet

End of an Era

More than a decade and a half have passed since I picked up the FlyBoyJon moniker and domain name. As an aviation focused blog I posted a lot on my aviation training as a pilot, instructor, and mechanic. At one point I began an experimental aircraft build which, after cooler heads and some education on the subject, stalled, and not in the aerodynamic sense.

As my focus has shifted over the years, I have combined blogs and sites. My personal and aviation sites have long since been absorbed into this site. I have kept some of the domain names strictly for email purposes.

Another year goes by, and the renewal is up for the domain. This time I am going to let it go. I still love aviation and I still want to build an experimental aircraft. I most definitely want to get back behind the stick and spend some time in the air. And I can post all of that here. How could I build an aircraft and not include amateur radio into the project?

FlyBoyJon is not going away, just the domain name.

Blue skies and tailwinds,

Slacker Jon’s Web

Welcome to Slacker Jon’s. Though I have not been posting as much as I had hoped, I have been very busy. Between Grave Mistake/Thrill The World website work, organizational stuff and promotions, and my work on the apartments, I have had a full dance card.

Walking has been going well. By the end of July I should be at a couple of miles a day, five days a week. Once I get to that goal I am going to add some more elements to the regimen. The plan is to use my GPS for tracking, but the Garmin I have has a serial data cable. My laptop does not have a serial port, only USB and FireWire. Thanks to MS Vista, the older USB to Serial adapter I had didn’t work so I had to order a new one. The new cable arrived today! Plugged it in and connected the GPS. There were still some data points, waypoints and tracks in the unit so I uploaded them to Google Earth just to see if everything worked… It all worked great! Now I can start recording tracks, distance and time all from the GPS. Now all I need to do is work on the coding for some fancy Google Earth tricks on my site.

What would normally be a bit of free time, has been spent on refreshing some coding skills to get a few enhanced features ready for the website. Now that the first Workshop is coming up and promotional materials have been ordered, and should be arriving by the end of the week, I turn my focus to the production side. Even with a strong skill set in NLE systems, it never hurts to brush up on the finer points; not to mention doing more with video effects. So its back to the books on Premier and After Effects for some refresher projects. Besides, I have been getting some ideas for open/close footage on the Grave Mistake videos. Oh, and I found my green screen too! I do have plans for that. 😉

Now that I have been bouncing from this article to twenty-bazillion other things today )I started this post at 15:00 it’s now 23:45) I think its time to wrap up and get some rack time. So until net time…


New Media

NewMedia_BannerAs New Media begins to make serious headway in mainstream business, it is becoming clear that not all implementations are a good idea. Many small businesses have been hanging back to let the “big boys” pioneer the new stuff much like they did when the web was still a newborn. The World Wide Web as a whole has been a grand experiment with some mixed results. By in large, it is rare to find a successful business without some kind of web presence. New media is bringing a whole new set of tools to the table.

What do you mean by New Media?

New Media encompasses a collection of tools based on traditional media like video and audio, that are presented in interesting, interactive formats through social networking tools and environments. Wow! That sounds like a lot of double talk even to me. Here is a simpler breakdown; A typical audio or video program that is distributed through a blog or social site by one-time visits or by subscription. I suppose that is a little clearer. That is a part of the confusion though, many people have varying ideas as to what social networking and New Media are, let alone how to use them.

By now, most daily web users are familiar with Social Networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Spaces, Blogger, and tons of others. There are also micro-bloging sites like Twitter and others. Include user media sites like YouTube, Flickr, PhotoBucket and a host of others along this line. Now add in podcasting sites to host or analyze your traffic and you have quite a confusing collection.

Lots of businesses hear repeatedly “you need a website” or worse yet “you need to be on ‘xyz’ website”. While there are very few businesses and organizations I would say don’t need some kind of presence online, most don’t take the time to look at what they do need. A business needs to know who its customer base is and what the extent of there internet activities are, what sites do they use, and how. Do your customers blog? That is an important question.

Most businesses would benefit from simple Social Networking sites like Facebook for better indexing in search engines and provide point of contact information. The micro blogging can be beneficial as well. But do you need a blog? Should you podcast? Maybe. A simple blog under your own domain name could replace a basic website and provide you with an online venue for future expansions.

Each business has its own needs and eccentricities, some businesses and organizations could greatly benefit from a Wiki based site, or a Wiki in addition to the regular site. Any companies website plans should be determined by company needs, client base needs, vendor needs, and the internet culture of all three.

One thing that comes up in consultations all the time is the desire for custom applications. Often there are off the shelf solutions that can be applied at a much lower cost, or free. Usually adaptive solutions do require more effort to implement initially, but in the long run, that time is well spent when the time comes to make more changes. When an off the shelf solution requires a lot of adaptations or incorporates a lot of unneeded features or complex interfaces, a custom application may actually be cheaper. Another consideration is, if you want to use a specific application but it is expensive and you just can’t do it now, there might be a simpler low/no cost solution that the expensive application can import at a later date when you can afford it.

How does this apply to New Media? Integration. When you are building an online presence it should be consistent in appearance and function. There are times when the over all functionality of the web presence determines the applications used for the presentation.

In the long run, a consultant who is familiar with a broad range of internet applications, e-commerce, New Media, and Social Networking, you will most likely save you thousands on the first implementation and much more over time by tactically planning future upgrades. These savings are after the consultants fees by the way.


I frackin hate puters! (pt.2)

(Part of this is cross posted)


I figured out why the network drive wasn’t responding. It appears that the hard drive failed. Why how did you come to this conclusion? I made several attempts to connect the entire device through the network and by direct connection. After no response, I decided to pull the physical drive and test it in another computer. As all of the available and suitable computers are old, the results where unreliable. Although I had a suspicion that it was the drive, I needed to confirm it.

A Fry’s run. Normally I enjoy a jaunt to geek mecca, today I wasn’t feeling up to par and I already put time in doing diagnostics and cracking the case (the warranty is expired anyway) so I wasn’t thrilled. I thought of a couple of potential solutions and fortunately could afford, sort of, to get them both. I picked up a special USB cable for creating and peer-to-peer network and an SATA hard drive dock. The dock allows you to plug a hard drive directly into the dock.

Using the dock I found that the hard drive was fried. The mechanicals are good, but the on board control is screwed up from over heating. So what options do I have? Two, really. One, I could dink with the drive, having no experience opening a drive case or replacing the board; or two, send it off to a data recovery company. Lets look at the options. Option one, I stand a 90%+ chance of loosing all the data, but not spending any money. Option two, I have a 97%+ chance of getting all of my data back, but I spend $500 to do it. Oh, and I still need to get a back-up drive.

(not cross posted)

I have put the desk back together. Since it may be a few weeks before I get the data back, I have to put a few things on hold. I am trying to rebuild some of the data from other sources but the extraction is very slow going. I am building a file server on paper and will see how much that will cost.

In this day of home offices and everyone in the house on their own computers the back-up situation has gotten, interesting. When on the phone with one of the data recovery companies, I told him I was using a network drive and that it had been running for about a year. I was a bit thrown by his response, “Ya, thats about right. Actually you got your monies worth.”. I don’t agree with that last part. I can buy an inexpensive complete computer for $200-$400. A regular computer running on the network will last for several years, mainly because of the power saving features. Auto sleep, NIC access wake-up, HD spin down, and the like. Apparently the companies that build the pro-sumer / consumer network appliances didn’t account for this.

If you are looking to buy a network drive in this environment (home office / home) look closely at whether or not you need to shut the device down every night. A real computer can solve most of these issues and might just end up costing less, particularly if you want to run back-ups or add drive space on a whim. Don’t forget, just because they say it will work for a small office / medium, doesn’t mean it’s any better the standard home user equipment. It just means its more expensive, usually. If I thought I could compete with the lowball online discount retailers, and people would actually pay for quality, I just might sell custom built network storage / backup servers. I don’t think so.


Code Crazy

Recently I have been working on enhancing my coding and site design skills. I decided to delve deeper into PHP and CSS. Over the weekend I built a test server and installed an Apache web server, SQL Data Base server, and PHP. After testing the servers functionality I began writing and running some BETA applications.


So far things are running well. I hope to begin integrating PHP applications on several web sites soon. I have also been looking at incorporating applications into the WordPress blog model. I will start development of some of these here on this site.

For now, back to the books.