Panning for bits of excellence in the river of my mind …

So you want to be an entrepreneur?

There’s been a lot of talk about The Great Resignation of 2021 in which employees are quitting their jobs left and right, sometimes to go on to other jobs, sometimes not. The common wisdom I’ve heard too often is that the government needs to stop “all these unemployment benefits” and get people back to work. That’s never been a convincing reason for me, though.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal offered more context. It seems, in addition to the job-changers and all the early retirees, hundreds of thousands of people are actually deciding to work for themselves rather than find new jobs. This is shown by Labor Department data based on the applications for tax identification numbers (up 56% from 2019) and workers listing themselves as self-employed.

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Your Daily Pep Talk

While wasting my extra “Fall Back” hour on Facebook, I found the Pep Talk Generator you see here posted by a friend. I’ve been trying to get myself to do more recreational programming lately, despite the obvious but completely undocumented mental health hazards involved. So, of course, I saw this as a great chance to throw together some JavaScript. Thus, without further delay, I bring you …


Test Post, please ignore.

This page, and the button above, takes random phrases from the Pep Talk Generator and assembles them into one line. Every time you refresh the page or click on the button, the code runs and instantly updates it.

If you would like to learn how to do fun stuff like this, check out W3Schools JavaScript tutorial. It’s one of many free resources on the web where you can learn to program.

The Advanced Ads plugin made adding JavaScript to this post (reasonably) easy.

Thanks also go to The Racoon Society from whose site you can obtain an art print of the Pep Talk Generator and other fun stuff for your home or office.

My Latest Videos

I’ve finally gotten back to making instructional videos on a regular basis and I’ve posted a few just in the past week. Early in 2020, I created most of an online course called Managing Your Data with Microsoft Access but other things intervened before I could finish the last couple of chapters. Now the course is pretty well finished with 5 1/2 hours of instruction and available for just $34.99. As a bonus, several of the videos are available as a free preview so you can have the chance to check out the course before buying.

This series is an expansion on my earlier series Microsoft Access: The Nickel Tour which demonstrates the very basics of Access and is still available on YouTube.

I really am trying to move beyond Microsoft Access so I also uploaded a short, free course on C# programming to YouTube. The Discovering C# series demonstrates just how easy it is to create your first C# application with the 52-Pickup program. This is a small application that demonstrates a number of concepts including the use of images in Visual Studio, programmatic creation of form controls and looping operations within collections.

By far, the most popular videos on my YouTube channel have been a couple that I created for my students when I was teaching programming back in 2018. A two-parter on creating custom user controls and events in C# have received a lot of good responses which showed me that people are still looking for guidance with the language.

Of course, while creating all of these videos, I gained quite a bit of experience with Camtasia and put together a couple more videos about how to deal with performances issues on longer video projects and equalize your audio in the absence of an actual equalizer in Camtasia.

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A Nostalgic Look at The Last Blockbuster

Browsing Netflix the other day for something a little different, I found a documentary about The Last Blockbuster video store which is located in Bend, Oregon and run by a lady named Sandi Harding who claims to have employed just about every teenager in town at one point or another.

The film gives a great overview of how Blockbuster came to be and eventually failed as the brick-and-mortar video rental market came and went. I think the one quote that made the movie for me was from Kevin Smith – “We got to see a corporation built up during our lifetime. We also got to see a corporation die.”

This is probably a rite of passage of some kind for every generation, or at least the ones in the last couple centuries. Technologies and trends come and go faster and faster with each generation and, at a certain age, you realize that things that weren’t even around when you were a kid are now obsolete.

My first experience with this was the fax machine. I remember the first commercials for them back around 1980 and thought they looked interesting. I used them quite a bit in one of my first jobs in the late 80s as we would fax daily records between offices in different parts of the country. Obsolescence does not mean that something has disappeared so they’re still around, especially in medical offices from what I understand, but they’re rapidly approaching the status that the old TELEX machine was at when I was at that job in ’89.

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More Access!

I’ve finally dusted off Camtasia and started making YouTube videos again. I actually put together a (more or less) complete Microsoft Access course last year and posted it on Udemy and Teachable. Then I got bogged down in some non-technical stuff and lost the momentum and some of my nerve.

It’s surprisingly hard for me to sit down and narrate a how-to video in the privacy of my own home and with the benefits of a full editing suite that actually makes me sound like a professional. There’s just a certain anxiety that pops up when I know that I have to sync intelligent commentary with the programming and design actions I’m performing on-screen. With practice, though, it gets easier … as long as I keep doing it regularly.

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The game I didn’t know I was looking for …

Back in November, I was flipping channels on YouTube and came across a video from Let’s Game it Out. This is a channel run by a guy named Josh who enjoys trying out new games, seeing how badly he can break the rules of the game (and often the frame-rate) and making videos about it with lots of snarky commentary. I see absolutely nothing but good things in that combination and, as a programmer, I have a healthy amount of grudging respect for the idea of testing software to destruction.

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Dude … ads? Really??

I know, it’s a brand new blog and I already have Amazon ads on here. All I can say is, it’s a habit. I’ve been an Amazon affiliate for many years now and the ads have not only paid for my hosting and domains, I’ve managed to eke out a decent profit each year. It’s nothing that would pay the bills but it’s better than I’ve gotten from any bank.

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Give me a minute while I get setup here …

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

For some reason, you pointed your browser at Maybe you have the same name as I do, you hoped the domain was free and found out it wasn’t. Sorry about that …

This is my latest writing project and the tagline, which might change by the time you read this, pretty much sums it up. A lot of people panned for gold over the years. Most came up empty …

… but a few got lucky.