The Beginning September 2014 – January 2015

I did not conduct monthly reports from the beginning it is currently March and I began last September. I am starting monthly reports to track my own progress and so others can see as well.

Let’s see…where to begin… I have always been interested in running my own website I guess it really began when I was in elementary school. Here is one of my earlier attempts at a webpage (please don’t laugh to hard, were you coding in html in middle school) . I cannot find any earlier pages but I probably began dabbling a few years prior to this page using free website hosting websites.

The page above was also my last webpage to attempt until this one that you are reading currently. Like I said I have always been interested in having my own webpage and in 2014 I was reading Pat Flynn’s website and two week later I said shoot I’ll give it a shot part time and see what happens.

Now I must admit my recollection of web design involved tediously programming in html (like in the 1990’s) and I was not looking forward to learning html but I was committed. I went to godaddy.com and bought this domain and a year worth of hosting (about $20 on a special introductory offer). The goal is to by the time the introductory offer ends that I will have enough traffic and content that the website will pay for it’s own hosting.

I had a side goal of having a professional looking site that could be used to apply for future jobs. Kind of a display of my skills and abilities. Finally, I wanted to share my ideas and thoughts with the world.

I spent about two weeks brainstorming website ideas to get what I thought was the ultimate url: ASolutionADay.com  it was easy to remember and the title gave me a goal and a purpose “To produce A Solution A Day”. Then I bought the URL and a hosting plan using godaddy.com. The hosting plan came with Website Build a graphically oriented web design platform. I quickly realized that I didn’t need to learn html (apparently 15 years is a big time frame when talking about internet technology). I also quickly realized that Website Builder was inadequate and too simple for what I wanted to accomplish.

I spent the next day and a half researching and finally decided to use WordPress. I called godaddy and asked for them to switch my product to the other introductory offer. Which they did without any hassle. I have been using WordPress ever since and really like the product.

Very quickly I found out that there are two difficult things about successfully making a website on the internet:

  1. Generating Content
  2. Generating Traffic

In my opinion (after 6 months of doing this) content is king. If you do not have content then there is no reason for anyone to visit your website. Secondly, your content can be amazing but if people don’t know you exist then it doesn’t matter.

My focus is on providing good content that provides use or value in this goal I feel that I do well. Looking at graphs and reports the general trend was from September to November …I think part of this was inflated due to asking question on forums and getting help from people who have been doing this longer than myself.

September 2014 to January 2015 website traffic.
September 2014 to January 2015 website traffic.

In mid November I got frustrated and overwhelmed (thesis in graduate school) and the website fell to the side. I stopped producing content and pretty much abandoned adding to the site.

In December in an attempt to re-motivate myself I posted some of my previous academic content on fracking (which I should have scheduled on a weekly basis to show Google that I was regularly putting out content.

Oops, I forgot to mention that in September I put some affiliate advertising on my website (which I continue to use affiliate networks and other advertising programs). From September to January I successfully earned $0.  Currently it is March 2014 and I will write about February soon (the month things changed) and then March. Following this I will do a monthly posting looking at what has and what has not worked for me, You can compare this to Pat Flynn (this is his first year, so I have no idea how my first year is comparing and these are his monthly income reports) who has posted monthly reports for several years now.

Total Earnings to date:

$0

Total Expenditures:

$20

Grand Total:

-$20

So far this is pretty bleak as far as hitting my goal of self funding the website after one year (will need to make $9.99/month by September).

Logitech M560 Wireless Optical Mouse Review

The Logitech Wireless Mouse M560 is my current everyday use mouse. I use it (the mouse) on a Sager base custom built gaming laptop for both text editing, writing, academics and playing Elder Scrolls Online. My model is black but there is a silver option also produced. The color is flat black with a highly ergonomic grip design.

The back of my Logitech M560 Wireless Optical Mouse. The mouse itself is a nice flat black color.
The back of my Logitech M560 Wireless Optical Mouse. The mouse itself is a nice flat black color.

The mouse itself has two thumb buttons on the left side of the mouse next to a comfortable ergonomic indention. These two buttons are easy to push and require very little effort. They reflex (spring back up when released) very quickly allowing the user to quickly press the buttons again and again. The only problem I have with this mouse is with the rear thumb button (the one on the right in the photo below and closest to the user). Let me preface this, I have small hands (my 8 year old son’s hands are almost as big as mine) so this may be a problem related to my hand size. This button is easy to accidentally click and it is initially auto-programmed to minimize whatever window you are in and return you to your computers home screen. This was very frustrating…but I reprogrammed it to something that I don’t mind accidentally clicking in the middle of a boss fight or a heated PvP battle (my microphone) and it is no longer a problem (in fact it makes it super easy to communicate).

The side of my Logitech M560 Wireless Optical Mouse. The two side buttons can be seen as well as the top center button, the clickable scroll wheel which can toggle left and right and the left and right click buttons.
The side of my Logitech M560 Wireless Optical Mouse. The two side buttons can be seen as well as the top center button, the clickable scroll wheel which can toggle left and right and the left and right click buttons.

The front of the mouse has a left click and a right click button. In addition to a scrolling clickable mouse wheel. The scrolling mouse wheel (like many mice today) acts as a middle click button allowing similar function to other 3 button mice with the addition of the wheel function (which by default acts like the up and down arrows on a keyboard). In addition the mouse wheel has left and right tilt features (these by default work like left and right arrows on a key board). Finally there is a small square button behind the scroll wheel which (as I recall) opened it start menu by default (my memory might be off).

The front of my Logitech M560 Wireless Optical Mouse. The left and right click are one solid piece reducing the number of entry points for dirt and dust. Also seen are the central button, and the scroll wheel with arrows to show that the scroll wheel can be pushed to either side.
The front of my Logitech M560 Wireless Optical Mouse. The left and right click are one solid piece reducing the number of entry points for dirt and dust. Also seen are the central button, and the scroll wheel with arrows to show that the scroll wheel can be pushed to either side.

The mouse in total has eight click and two scroll input options that can be easily reprogrammed with the downloadable software from Logitech. It is a full size mouse that is comfortable to handle and has a good texture to the feel. In the photo below you can see how my smaller hands force my thumb slightly closer to that rear button and a slight shift in my thumb position depresses the button.

The side of my Logitech M560 Wireless Optical Mouse. Featuring my hand and the ergonomic thumb hold. It should be noted that with my fat fingers I have had to disable the side button furthest back in Elder Scrolls Online becasue I would accidentally click it and return to my desktop screen. Eventually I will rebind it to something (maybe as a push to talk button for Team Speak or Ventrilo).
The side of my Logitech M560 Wireless Optical Mouse. Featuring my hand and the ergonomic thumb hold. It should be noted that with my fat fingers I have had to disable the side button furthest back in Elder Scrolls Online becasue I would accidentally click it and return to my desktop screen. Eventually I will rebind it to something (maybe as a push to talk button for Team Speak or Ventrilo).

The bottom of the mouse has four large slider pads which provide a frictionless slide when moving it across various surfaces (cloth couch, mouse pad, bamboo lap pad with clear coat, paper and IKEA glossy finish side tables. It has a slide open compartment on the bottom which contains a battery (they advertise the battery should last for two years…but my wife’s Logitech M525 is supposed to be rated for three years and it died after about 4 months, she confessed that she neglected to switch the “Off” button on hers, maybe that explains her result?) and a storage slot for the wireless dongle. I didn’t take a photo of the dongle portion but its a standard Logitech dongle which minimally protrudes from the USB port and doesn’t get in the way for laptop users using a lap pad.

The bottom side of my Logitech M560 Wireless Optical Mouse. The line on the bottom is where the battery compartment opens and the USB dongle can be stored.
The bottom side of my Logitech M560 Wireless Optical Mouse. The line on the bottom is where the battery compartment opens and the USB dongle can be stored.

Overall the Logitech Wireless Mouse M560 is a great well priced wireless optical mouse that functions well for both small tasks like web surfing and data entry and more intensive and responsive activities such as mmorpgs and other gaming activities. If I were buying a mouse for a friend this would be considered. If you have small hands you might prefer the Logitech M510 Wireless Mouse (a fullsize and similarly priced and functional mouse) or the Logitech Wireless Mouse M525 (a smaller mouse designed for mobility). I have reviewed the M510 previously and plan to review the M525 soon.

Martian Combination Plant

A while back I posted about working on my thesis for my M.S. in Environmental Science. Now is the time where I am looking for a job. Let’s go back to the beginning of this website. Initially the goal was to do daily posts of useful information with weekly posts of big business environmental solutions. Some of these included Starbucks coffee cups and Drive Through windows. One that I held off on I am going to share today since I am using it in a cover letter for an application to SpaceX.

Obviously I have no idea how this letter will impact my application (I hope I get the job, well any job at SpaceX would be freaking cool! I mean who wouldn’t want to be a part of the team that potentially makes humans a multi-planet species). 

Oh yeah, SpaceX, here is the diagram I wanted to share with you…I made it a few months back and intended to write about it then decided not too. However your attachments section on the application wouldn’t accept images, so I figured I would go ahead and share with everyone. Condensation House 3

 

Also, to be fair to my readers, here is a copy of the cover letter which contains an explanation of the diagram.

I like to think of myself as an innovative and creative thinker. I am often taking ideas from vastly different fields and combining them to create solutions to problems. One such idea that I put together and had hoped that it could be used to help third world coastal communities is a solar powered water purifying and electric generating combo plant (which actually might be useful for martian colonization).

 

The idea relys on combining several simple ideas together:

 

First, the idea that the waste of one process can be used in another process (recycling).

 

Second, that some carbon and gold based nanoparticles can efficiently create steam (even in ice water) just utilizing sunlight.

 

Third, there are situations where sunlight is an underutilized resource and there exists a water and/or electric shortage. Some places might be Coastal Africa, an Ice Sheet in Antarctica, Dubai, Japan, California, Florida….the fact is as technology increases more people are on the power grid and this means that more power generation is always useful. As the population increases the supply of fresh water per capita decreases. Sunlight is plentiful it is emitted in every direction from the sun and will continue to be for another 5 billion years.

 

So this idea works on these existing ideas in a (hopefully) new approach. Basically, a greenhouse is built (it can be any size). This greenhouse contains a pool. The pool contains water (salt water in the case of coastal third world earth). Inside the water is dissolved nano particles and the roof of the glass house is a solar condenser(maybe a Fresnel lens). This concentrates the beam on a smaller area allowing for vigorous steam creation. This steam is funneled into a pipe, through a turbine generating electricity and finally sent into a condenser coil underground (possibly at a higher elevation to create a kind of uphill water storage area and function as both a storage for the distilled water and an electrical battery for times when sunlight is not available (similar to Raccoon Mountain, in Tennessee).

 

This is great (with development) for remote locations with poor access to modern infrastructure. For SpaceX I feel this has even greater potential a system such a this on the mars project could generate water, electricity, allow separation of hydrogen (fuel) and oxygen (for breathing), and the glass house (greenhouse) could be outfitted with hydroponics systems to capture and utilize any non captured solar energy. Additionally as a result of the atmospheric composition of Mars being thinner than Earth’s it is possible that more solar energy is able to penetrate to be utilized for the production of pure distilled water and electricity, and a backup battery storage system allowing for overnight power as needed.

 

Here’s a link to a copy of this letter and a basic diagram of the proposed system:

 

I know this job posting is for an environmental technician and the job description doesn’t exactly ask for innovation of solutions for space colonization…That’s OK, I will do whatever I can to help humanity (for SpaceX would be really cool) and if it is as simple as ensuring that other professionals are safe and able to solve these problems I am on board. I would love a foot in the door and an opportunity to be on a team changing the world.

 

Sincerely,
J. Miles Jorgensen

P.S. Thanks for reading this far and I hope the rest of the applications you read can put a smile on your face.

Well that’s the letter…I hope it plus a resume and a copy of my thesis is enough to get me in the door to work at one of the coolest companies.

Logitech M510 Wireless Optical Mouse Review

The Logitech M510 Wireless Mouse is what I use as a backup mouse for my laptop at home. I actually like it a lot it has a comfortable ergonomic grip, a high performance laser and plenty of bindable keys for gamers.

The back of the Logitech M510 Wireless Optical Mouse. It's very shiny and I had trouble getting a good photo due to the flash reflection.
The back of the Logitech M510 Wireless Optical Mouse. It’s very shiny and I had trouble getting a good photo due to the flash reflection.

The overall mouse is a glossy two tone black mouse. There are other colors available such as blue.

The side of the Logitech M510 Wireless Optical Mouse. Visible is the ergonomic indention, two side buttons, top left and right buttons and the scroll wheel which moves left and right.
The side of the Logitech M510 Wireless Optical Mouse. Visible is the ergonomic indention, two side buttons, top left and right buttons and the scroll wheel which moves left and right.

In the image above the two side buttons are very visible. These two buttons have a firm recoil and click nicely to let the operator know when they are pressed. They are comfortably located above the ergonomic thumb groove.

The front of the Logitech M510 Wireless Optical Mouse. This is a backup mouse for when the kids hide mine or my wife's mouse. Shown are the front buttons and the scroll wheel.
The front of the Logitech M510 Wireless Optical Mouse. This is a backup mouse for when the kids hide mine or my wife’s mouse. Shown are the front buttons and the scroll wheel.

The scroll wheel on this mouse can be depressed and functions as a center mouse key. It also scrolls allowing web browsing with ease and the scroll wheel can be moved left and right which functions by default as a page forward and page backwards button. Utilizing the Logitech software all buttons can be rebound to other functions as desired.

The side of the Logitech M510 Wireless Optical Mouse. This is with my hand and unlike the newer M560 my hand never accidentally presses these side mount keys.
The side of the Logitech M510 Wireless Optical Mouse. This is with my hand and unlike the newer M560 (which is currently my main mouse) my hand never accidentally presses these side mount keys.

This is a full sized wireless mouse and is comfortable for my hands (which are on the smaller side). My main mouse, a Logitech Wireless Mouse M560, has a bad habit of the side button closest the the user being accidentally clicked. The accidental clicking could be due to my short fingers but I have had to disable that button in my main mouse. This backup mouse however does not have the problem of accidental clicking.

The bottom side of the Logitech M510 Wireless Optical Mouse. Also visible is the compartment that opens to allow access to the battery and the USB dongle storage.
The bottom side of the Logitech M510 Wireless Optical Mouse. Also visible is the compartment that opens to allow access to the battery and the USB dongle storage.

On the underside there are four pads which allow the mouse the easily slide on most surfaces I personally use it on an ergonomic gel pad I love but the mouse works equally well on a wooden lappad and the cloth couch. The bottom of the mouse opens allowing a user to change the battery (which is rated to last for 2 years and was included with the mouse!). Inside the battery compartment is a storage slot for the dongle allowing the owner to not lose the connectivity piece when mobile.

The only reason I got a different mouse is because my one year old toddler eloped with this one and I was on an overnight trip and didn’t have time to look for this one. My newer mouse the M560 and this mouse the M510 are both solid mice to purchase and I would recommend either one. I will be reviewing the M560 soon and you could read that article for comparison if interested.

Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 v1.0 Review

The Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000
is the exclusive keyboard at work and as such it will be the only keyboard I review in the near future. In the past I have used many different keyboards at work, college, grade school, and even at home.

The ergonomic keyboard in all its glory.
The ergonomic keyboard in all its glory.

This is a full sized keyboard ergonomically designed for comfort at the desk. The ergonomic features cause it to be a bit bulky so if you are limited on desk space then perhaps a different keyboard would be better. Out of the box it is USB plug and play, with forward and backwards buttons for internet surfing. A scroll button, a home key, a search button, an email button, volume controls and calculator button. I’m addition to those hot keys there are 5 other buttons that can be programmed for other functions.

The back label of the keyboard.
The back labelof the keyboard.

I only use a keyboard at work because at home I use a fullsized (17″ widescreen sager) gaming laptap and my lap desk barely has room for a wireless mouse. With that in consideration if I bought a keyboard tomorrow this is the exact keyboard I would buy (as long as it fit my desk). Microsoft hit a home run with this device and a person can use it comfortably all day with any activity. After thousands of hours of use on multiple identical keyboards the only complaints I have been able to come up with are:

A) The paint wore off the keys before the keyboard wore out…which really is minor unless you need the labels.

B) With a fulltime 24 hours a day 7 days a week work crew banging on these pads all the time. A single one  of 60 has had a spring in the space bar quit providing adequate reflex.

Additionally it has legs that can be folded out to raise the rear of the keyboard and the grip pads on the bottom prevent the keyboard from rubbing on the surface and prevent the device from sliding.

The bottom line is that this is the keyboard I would buy and I don’t need to test any others because it is optimal and very well priced.

Microsoft Wheel Mouse Optical USB

At work we have about five Microsoft Wheel Optical Mouse devices. These are ultra cheap wired optical mice the light up red light on the back is stylistically nice.

This is the Microsoft Wheel Optical USB mouse.
This is the Microsoft Wheel Optical USB mouse.

This mouse doesn’t offer much ergonomically providing slightly less ergonomic comfort than the Microsoft Comfort Optical Mouse 1000. The actual curvature of this mouse is somewhat superior to the comfort model providing for slightly better hand comfort on the top. The sides are slightly less indented then the already meager indentions of the Comfort model.

The side view of the Microsoft Wheel Mouse.
The side view of the Microsoft Wheel Mouse.

The reinforcement plastic around the scroll wheel is split (unlike in the comfort model) and this allows the structure to flex when the buttons are pressed producing a very flimsy feel.

The front view of the Microsoft Wheel Mouse USB looking closely the dark circle halo around the scroll wheel is actually two pieces giving the mouse a more flimsy feel.
The front view of the Microsoft Wheel Mouse USB looking closely the dark circle halo around the scroll wheel is actually two pieces giving the mouse a more flimsy feel.

As for the bottomside of the mouse it actually slides much better and tracks on multiple surfaces much better than the more expensive Microsoft Comfort mouse. In the actual functioning catagory it seems to be a better product even if it feels more flimsy and has fewer ergonomic indentions.

The bottom side of the Microsoft Wheel Optical USB mouse.
The bottom side of the Microsoft Wheel Optical USB mouse.

Overall, this mouse is functionally superior to the Microsoft Comfort mouse. It is less comfortable overall (not by much). It feels more flimsy in its construction but at the price point you could break a few and replace them without sweating it too much. My personal recommendation is to upgrade to a better mouse but as far as cheap mice go this one will do the job.

Microsoft Comfort Optical Mouse 1000 Review

We have a bunch of Microsoft Comfort Optical Mouse 1000 at work and I figured why not write a review on them. It is a cheap bottom tier Microsoft wired optical mouse and labelled as “Comfort Mouse”.

A view at approximately 45 degree angle from the user side of the mouse.
A view at approximately 45 degree angle from the user side of the mouse.

 

It is marketed for use on any surface. It has a left click and a right click and finally a clickable scroll wheel in the center. Aesthetically I kinda like the grey and black contrast with the gray halo around the scroll button and the contoured lines around the sides.

This image shows the grey halo around the central clickable mouse wheel.
This image shows the grey halo around the central clickable mouse wheel.

This mouse (we have about 60 of them) has performed quite reliably considering it is bottom tier. The comfort level is OK (at best…it can and has been used for 8 hours), but I prefer something more ergonomically designed like Logitech Wireless Mouse M560 that I recently purchased to use on my laptop at home (I will probably write a review on the Logitech in the near future once I have tested it a bit more).

The side of the mouse where stylistic lines and very minor and hardly noticeable ergonomic indention (only a few mm).
The side of the mouse where stylistic lines and very minor and hardly noticeable ergonomic indention (only a few mm).

The mouse also has more friction than I prefer it seems to rub (quite a bit) on the solid wood surface of the desk. It performs well enough on a mouse pad though and not so well on paper.

The bottom of the Microsoft Comfort Optical Mouse 1000.
The bottom of the Microsoft Comfort Optical Mouse 1000.

Overall, for a desk or an office this is not a bad mouse. It works reliably and tracks well. For a laptop or for gaming or anything more intensive than light desk use then a different mouse will probably serve you better.

Proposed MMO PvP time delayed exp calculator

So I know there are some World of Warcraft players here….who remembers Alterac Valley? <raises hand>…at the end (and as the objective of the battlefield you had to defeat some NPC bosses …now imagine that those bosses offered exp…say blizzard determined that the average AV fight was over in 12 min (most were zerg rush but a some were drawn out ordeals 12 minutes is easy math). Suppose those end objectives on average took 12 minutes that’s 5 matches per hour. Suppose blizzard wanted players to average 100k exp per hour….OK, 100k exp divided by 5 (matches per hour) yeild 20k exp for completing the objective…OK fairly straight forward….except if it’s real competitive then you will only win 50% of the matches ….OK so here is where the magic comes in….the exp needs to be doubled (remember 50/50 chance if everything is equal sooooo 40k * 2.5 = 100k/hour…not quite there though because a good faction will win more and get more exp and become stronger and thus win even more creating a positive feedback loop causing one faction to rule supreme….thus one additional step is needed to counteract this positive feedback situation. This is what I term time delayed calculated modifier. This is to prevent the problems that stagnated Fusang in The Secret World (if you played that).

[b]Time delayed calculated modifier[/b] – essentially this is based on a love statistical analysis, I’m not going to work out the entire process but outline the system. Basically what the TDCM does is it examines a factions performance over a given time interval (or intervals if more stability is desired). Then experience tracking events are tracked (ie each time an event occurs a character gains experience …then the faction gets a +1…there are different catagories so a player kill would be one counter, a keep steal would be another, quest completion would be another, NPC kill might be another. Keep boss might be another ….

Anyways these are tallied over a specified time (say 72 hours, but maybe longer or shorter is better). Then every hour the modifier is recalculated basically the modifier looks to see what factions are doing the activity more and then the formula generates a modifier which rewards experience to counteract the bias of the positive feedback loop.

So a faction that completes the task less (either because they have fewer characters or they are not as skilled or…insert reason here) will get an equal reward when they do complete it which will maintain the balance and integrity within the system.

A sample formula for this might be:

 

A =  your faction’s count

B = one enemy faction’s count

C = other enemy faction’s count

Z = the number of factions that can complete the event (in Elder Scrolls online Cyrodil this number is 3 but in WoW Alterac Valley it is 2, in TSW Fusang it is 3…this number is determined by the game design and by the PvP design but it will be somewhere between 2 and infiniti).

base exp = the amount of exp that (given random results) would be required of the activity to produce the desired levelling speed (100k umelightened exp per hour,  like pve, or 400k per enlightened hour).

 

Total Count = T = A+B+C

Enemy Count = E = B+C

 

E/T * 1/Z * base exp

 

Here I made a proposed solution calculator so that you can experiment with different values to determine the exp per kill on a player using my formula above.  In the formula above (E/T * 1/Z) is the TDCM. Note: It doesn’t take into all the variables that an in game should but it should give a decent idea about how it would work.