Why I Hate Creating Websites For Other People

When I lost my job a few years back, I took a go at working for myself and running my business fulltime.  I had plans to have a few different streams of income from different sources, including developing apps and websites for myself as well as providing services for others.  These services that I offered included app development, web development, internet marketing and SEO, etc.  Most of my income actually came from creating websites for clients but it was by far the most stressful aspect of running my own company.  I didn’t create any applications for clients, but if I had I think it would have just as stressful, if not more so.  I would say that most of my customers were polite, cordial, and easy going and were satisfied with the end result.  Many people knew exactly what they wanted in the layout, design, and functionality and when I delivered what they asked for they were very happy with it.  Others were not quite sure what they wanted and so I walked them through the development process and provided them with ideas and proofs to help them decide what the site should be.  These clients were happy with the end result as well.

However there were a select few clients who were completely unsure about how the site should look and how it should be laid out.  These people were what caused me the most amount of stress and agitation.  At first they would give me a brief description of what they wanted the site to do and how they wanted it to look.  Then I would do some work and show them an alpha version and they would absolutely hate it and change their mind about what they wanted in the first place and give me another description of what they wanted.  This would go back and forth for a while until they were either happy enough with the site or they would back out of the deal completely.  If they had not paid me yet and they backed out, I never saw a single penny for all the work I did.  Obviously I was not too happy with this as I took time out of my schedule with no compensation.   After this happened more than once I started requiring the client to pay up front before I did any work of any kind.

So while I still do client websites here and there, I am very picky on what clients I take on and give upfront and strict directions on how I will make the site.  This helps reduce the amount of time spent on client sites, however I still don’t like to make sites for clients and have upped my rates to make it worthwhile for myself when I do.

Why I Buy A New Laptop Every Year

So it happened again.  Another Laptop of mine broke.  This time it was one of the most expensive laptops I have bought in a long time and it completely broke.  Usually they stop working as usable laptops but they still continue to function somewhat so they can still be used for projects or something.  But this time it completely stopped working for some odd reason that I can’t figure out and can only be used to harvest parts from.  I bought an external USB 3.0 drive bay for the SSD and was planning to harvest the RAM to use with my new laptop but unfortunately the new one I bought has the RAM soldered to the motherboard and is not upgrade-able.

This computer was a Dell Latitude 13 inch model that I really liked.  I got a really good deal on it because it was refurbished – something that I expect added to its inevitable downfall.  Since I got it there were small problems here and there.  First of all the case started to deteriorate in strange ways, I had to fill in gaps that started to form in the corners and other areas with super glue so that it would not completely fall apart.  And this was not the first refurbished laptop that I purchased that I had problems with.  Nor was it the last – the laptop that I just purchased was a refurbished Dell product as well.  The first one that I bought refurbished was an Apple Macbook – one of the first Intel laptops that Apple made.  In fact I still have that one, and it actually works relatively well.  The main things that went wrong on this one were the optical drive stopped working shortly after I got it, and then the battery stopped holding a charge some time after that.  This one also started to get case problems and it started to fall apart in some areas.

So why did I buy another refurbished laptop?  Well there is only one reason – price. But isn’t it worth it to spend a little more to get a better product that will last much longer.  Well in my experience, no.  Even when I get brand new laptops they don’t seem to last very long.  I have a Lenovo Ideabook that I bought brand new a few years ago that I really liked when it was brand new and worked perfectly, but that did not last very long.  Soon it started to have case problems as well that I had to fix with my ghetto superglue method for it to not fall apart, but eventually the trackpad and keyboard stopped working altogether.  And for some reason external keyboards don’t work either.

I can go on and on about all the laptops that I have had over the years and how the cases start to fall apart and then they are usually relegated to live on my desk until they are completely obsolete and retired or are used for some wacky project of mine.  For example, right now I am using my phone for my main internet connection at home by using a program to tether it to an old laptop via USB and then bridging that connection to my WiFi router in order to share the connection throughout my entire house.  The point is, though, that I use my laptops for what they are made for, and with the new laptops that are made to be super thin and light and not to be strong and sturdy – basically made for form over function – they don’t last long at all.  I like to bring my laptop with me to work on the go, whether its on the bus or at Starbucks, at the library or at the park, I just like to have variety and work in different locales.  And because of this, taking the computers with me and throwing them in a backpack, having them bump around on the journey to and from the location in question.

So I have just accepted the fact that my laptops don’t really last very long with me.  If I want to use it then it will get wear and tear and won’t last.  But now I finally have a place where I have more room again to where I can get a desktop computer – something that I have not had in quite some time.  That is the reason that I have had to use my laptops so much.  Before I was just able to have a laptop that I used only occasionally and use the desktop most of the time.  But then when I moved into a place with roommates I did not have room for a desktop PC as well and I had to use laptops for my main computer.  So hopefully now I can save up some money and build a PC that will allow my laptop to remain in good condition for longer since I won’t have to use it as much.  For this reason I bought a cheaper laptop in order to save money so I can have more to spend on my PC build.  Hopefully it works out and in a few months I’ll still have a nice working laptop as well as an awesome desktop PC!  Here’s hoping!

Destiny Gurus Site Launch – Destiny Exotic Quests, Raids, and More!

A screenshot of the Destiny Gurus site

I am pleased to announce the launch of my latest client project, Destiny GurusDestiny Gurus is a site that offers services for those who play the hit game Destiny as well as the upcoming sequel to launch in a few days, Destiny 2.  Destiny Gurus offers help for players who are struggling with the game or who just want to get their characters up in level or pass a certain raid or quest without the hassle of actually playing through it.  So if you want to save some time and get past some raids or exotic quests or want some great new weapons or items, then go to Destiny Gurus. They play on both PlayStation 4 and XBox One consoles so no matter what console you have they can help you out.  They can even stream the gameplay so you can see what they do and check out their techniques.  This can help you even more as you can actually see what the pros do and how they complete quests and raids.

One of the owners of Destiny Gurus is my good friend and he is a great gamer who wants to help the Destiny community with his skills.  The site is 100% safe and secure and they are very trustworthy.  Do not worry about your personal information or payment details, as they are very trustworthy.  I can vouch for that myself.  And of course since I developed the site, it is 100% safe and secure.  No need to worry about hackers getting your credit card info or stealing your Destiny characters.  PayPal handles all the payment transactions so the site never actually sees your payment info.  And as far as your Destiny account info, only the player who handles your order will see that information and it is held safe and secure so nobody else can access it.  So don’t worry because it is absolutely safe and secure to order from them.  So if you play Destiny or plan on getting Destiny 2, be sure to check out Destiny Gurus.com today!

Top ‘Must Have Apps’ for New Windows PC Installations

Whenever I set up a new Windows installation – whether it be because I get a new computer, reformat and repartition my computer, or am helping someone ‘fix’ their computer by reinstalling Windows – there are a few applications that I usually always install.  These are the top applications that just about everybody needs to have 0n their computers, consisting mainly of freeware utilities and other applications.  Some apps are not free, but I have included freeware applications that are a good alternative where applicable.  Also, a few of these applications are not needed by everybody but I typically install them on my computers anyways, so I wrote this list in a vague most-to-least important order so that the most popular and important apps are first and the least important ones are last.  The first item in the list isn’t actually a program but it is a one-stop-shop for you to download most of the top software packages that you are likely to need.  Anyways, on with the list:

 

Ninite http://ninite.com/

The first thing I do whenever I set up a new computer or install a fresh copy of Windows is to go to Ninite.com to download most of the software I need in one fell swoop.  Ninite is a website that lets you select from over 80 programs to install and you simply download the customized installer program that will download the latest version of each program and install it automatically.  No need to go to tons of different sites in order to download each program individually, just go to Ninite and get them all a once!  If you don’t know what a program is you can hover your mouse over the name and it will tell you what the program does.  So whenever you need to install some up to date software for your Windows PC, check out Ninite.com.

 

Chromehttps://www.google.com/chrome/browser/desktop/index.html

Every computer these days needs a browser, and I prefer to use Google’s Chrome as my preferred browser of choice.  It allows you to visit any web page you need, as well as having a great built in web developer’s toolkit that lets web developers see and play with the different aspects of a web page as they load, helpful for determining what code is rendered for the browser and what CSS it is using.  Chrome also lets you modify the browsing experience by adding different plugins and themes.

 

Firefox – https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/

A close number 2 in my book is Firefox, the contemporary to Chrome.  It does just about everything Chrome does, and it is best to have at least 2 browsers installed in case some web site doesn’t load properly in the other.  I also keep two different browsers in case you want to log in to 2 different accounts to any given website.  This lets you be administrator and user on the same site to make sure both parts of the site are working correctly.  Also I like to make sure that every part of the site works in each browser.

 

Opera – http://www.opera.com/

Although Opera is not my favorite browser I still usually install it on my regularly used systems, however I am setting up a system for someone else or if I am setting up an installation of Windows for a particular purpose I don’t typically install it.  Opera has some pretty neat features and claims to be fast at loading and rendering web pages so you may want to check it out as an alternative to Chrome or Firefox.  But as a web developer I like to have all the commonly used browsers in order to check the compatibility of web sites to make sure that they load on all browsers under different versions of Windows.  That is why I included it on this list but at a lower spot than Firefox or Chrome.

 

VLChttp://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-windows.html

In order to play all the media files that you may download, you need a player that will play them all.  The built in Windows Media Player that comes with Windows is not very useful and does not play all file types, so it is usually necessary to have another media player application that can play all your files.  VLC is my go-to media player that will play just about every file type and has many great features.

 

MPlayerhttp://www.mplayerhq.hu/design7/dload.html

Another good player that lets you play all the files you may download is MPlayer.  MPlayer is lower on my list because it has a few ads that are a little annoying but it still makes the list because of all the great features it has.

 

WinRARhttp://www.rarlab.com/download.htm

In order to use some of the files that you download that are compressed, you need a good file extraction program such as WinRAR.  WinRAR allows you to compress and decompress files in many different formats like .zip, .tar, .gz, and of course .rar.  There are both free and paid versions of WinRAR that you can download.

 

K-Lite Codec Packhttp://codecguide.com/download_kl.htm

Many audio and video files are compressed with a certain codec, and many of these codecs are not included with video players and must be downloaded seperately.  One way of downloading them all at once is by downloading the K-lite Codec pack.  This pack includes all of today’s popular audio and video codecs.

 

Microsoft Officehttps://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/office.aspx?q=office

As the standard for office type applications, Microsoft Office is almost necessary for today’s computer users.  I try to install it or an alternative on all systems I work on.  Of course the downside to Microsoft Office is that it is expensive and most users don’t want to have to pay for it only to use it every so often.  If you don’t already have a copy of Office and don’t use it enough to pay for it, I recommend an alternative such as OpenOffice or LibreOffice which are both listed below.

 

OpenOfficehttp://www.openoffice.org/download/

A great alternative to Microsoft Office is OpenOffice, which has programs that are equivalent to Word, Excel, Outlook, and all other MS Office apps.  I usually install OpenOffice if I cannot get a license for Microsoft Office because it has much of the same features but you don’t have to pay for it.  OpenOffice is not as polished as MS Office but does have just about all the functionality you need and can read MS Office files.  So if you want the functionality of Microsoft Office but don’t want to buy it, give OpenOffice a try!

 

LibreOffice – http://www.libreoffice.org/download/download/

Another good alternative to Microsoft Office is LibreOffice.  It contains all the typical office-like productivity applications, including programs for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, database creation and manipulation, charts, and more.  And it lets you both read and write documents in standard office formats so you can share documents with friends and colleagues who u    se Microsoft Office with no problems.  If you do not want to pay for Microsoft Office but still want to be able to have the ability to write letters, make spreadsheets, manipulate databases, etc., LibreOffice is a very good choice.

 

iTuneshttps://www.apple.com/itunes/download/

Apple’s media player, iTunes is a must have for anyone with an iPhone or iPad.  I usually install this for most people as a lot of people have iPhones or iPads.  Even if someone doesn’t have an Apple device, iTunes has many good features, including the iTunes store for music, movies, TV shows, and more.  This allows people to buy or rent videos and music to watch on their computer or portable device.  However my favorite feature of iTunes that is the main reason I install it on my own systems is the podcast library.  Podcasts are basically radio shows that can be downloaded and listened to at anytime, and there are tens of thousands of podcasts out there.  I regularly listen to many podcasts and iTunes is the best way to browse and listen to podcasts on the computer.

 

WinRAR – https://www.rarlab.com/download.htm

If you download things from the internet then you will probably need to extract compressed files such as .zip, .rar, and .tar.gz files and as such you will need a program such as WinRAR.  Supporting pretty much every compression and archive format you can imagine, WinRAR is easy to use but still has all the great features that you could want.  It integrates into the Windows shell so you can right-click on any archive and extract it like that.  WinRAR is a paid product but comes with a free trial that never expiress;

 

NotePad++https://notepad-plus-plus.org/download/v7.4.2.html

Any power user needs a good text editor, and there are a few pretty good ones for Windows.  My favorite is NotePad++ which is great for developing software and web sites in all different languages.  It has automatic formatting and coloring to help you write and read code for all kinds of languages.  It is a must have for all developers as well as all general users.

 

TextPadhttp://textpad.com/download/index.html

TextPad is another very good text editor that facilitates the editing of all kinds of files.  it automatically recognizes the type of file and helps you edit many different types of source code files for all kinds of languages.  It also has many great text editing features like search/replace, macros, regular expressions, etc.

 

GIMP – https://www.gimp.org/downloads/

A free open source alternative to Photoshop is GIMP, the GNU Image Manipulation Program, which allows you to create and edit images of almost any format.  If you do any type of photo manipulation and cannot afford or get a version of Photoshop, then this is your best bet.  It is a little hard to use and get used to, especially if you have never used Photoshop before, but once you get past that it is very powerful.

 

FileZilla – https://filezilla-project.org/download.php?type=client

If you need a good FTP program then FileZilla is a great choice.  It allows you to upload files to a remote server over FTP or SFTP protocols.  Not all users need an FTP application but if you do then you should try FileZilla out.

 

PuTTY – https://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/latest.html

Most users will probably not need a terminal client, but if you do need to connect to remote servers via SSH or telnet, then PuTTY is my favorite one for Window based PCs.  The program features many options and lets you customize the terminal in many different ways.  If you need a good SSH or telnet client then give PuTTY a shot.

My Dog News and Information Blog

Jared and his dog

I do not have kids, so I treat my dogs like they are my children. And as such I love them very very much and want them to be the healthiest, happiest dogs ioDn the world.  And because of this, I am constantly reading all kinds of information about dogs and am always interested when a news story appears about the canine world.  So in order to help keep myself and others on top of the latest dog related news, I have created a new dog news blog all about dog related news and other dog information.  The blog contains news stories about dog health, food and nutrition, food and toy recalls and other safety information, courageous and heart wrenching dog news stories, dog and animal charity information and events, and everything else dog related that crosses my path and is blog worthy.  So if you are also interested in any dog news or other dog related information, please come check out my new Dog News and Information Blog now!

Electric Vehicles News and Information Blog

As two of my interests are cars and electronics, it makes perfect sense that I would be into electric powered vehicles.  So because of my interest in electric cars, I have created a new electric vehicle blog to showcase information, news, and how-to’s related to the electric vehicle scene.  One day I plan to start building my own electric vehicle and I want to include posts on how others can convert their own cars to electric power and if or when I do begin my own build I will start to write posts to document the entire project.  But until then, on my new EV blog I will write on the current news of the electric vehicle world, reviews of electric cars, how to’s and do-it-yourself guides for everything from maintaining your electric car to converting a gas vehicle to all electric.  So for all your electric vehicle needs, check out Jared’s Electric Vehicle Blog.

How I ‘Fixed’ My Dell Laptop’s Power Issue

My main computer that I use is my Dell Inspiron 13 i7359 Convertible 2-in-1 Laptop that I purchased about a year ago, and it has performed very well since then.  But two weeks ago I started having some issues.  At first the computer started to tell me that the power adapter was not being recognized as an official Dell product and that it would not charge the battery since the power output could not be determined.  This continued for a few days but I didn’t really pay any attention to it since I usually use it plugged in anyways.  But after a few days the laptop just stopped working at all.  I couldn’t get it to turn on or do anything at all.  I tried everything I could think of and searched the internet for answers to no avail.  I was thinking that the power supply was powering the computer fine but not charging it so it seemed like it was fine but short from sending my computer to Dell and see what they said and possibly pay for them to fix it, I don’t know what I would do to fix the problem.

At this point I was at my wits end I decided to just go ahead and buy a new power adapter and try and see if it works.  So I ordered one on Amazon for $40.  And when it arrived, sure enough it worked and my laptop started up right away.  I was so exstatic that I fixed the problem that I didn’t even mind spending that $40.

So if you are having a similar problem with your dell computer, where it isn’t turning on and you don’t know why, it might be a good idea to go ahead and try a different power adapter.  The reason is that Dell laptops require Dell OEM power supplies in order to function properly.  If they don’t detect that they have a proper power supply they won’t charge, won’t operate at full power, or possibly won’t turn on at all.  If you don’t want to pay for a new power supply because you aren’t sure it will fix it maybe you can try a different one that should work, maybe you can borrow one or use one at a store or repair shop.  Try going to a store that sells computer, like Best Buy or Fry’s Electronics, and bring in your computer and try to plug it in.  Tell them that you bought it there and you want to try a new power supply before you try to return it or something like that.  Or try to find a computer repair shop that has a proper Dell power supply that you could use.  Tell them that you want to get your laptop fixed but you think that it might work with a new power supply and if it doesn’t work you want them to diagnose and possibly fix it.  That way if it does work you know that you just need a new power supply and if it doesn’t maybe they will diagnose it for free and you can then decide if you want to pay to get it fixed or not.

Building the Cottonwood Cove Houses

All the Cottonwood Cove houses

A few years back my dad and his business partner bought up a large lot of land and went on to build 9 houses on it.  It took a while to get though planning and approval because our city has a ‘No Growth’ policy in place that only allows a few new houses to be built every year.  You see, we live in a pretty small city on the outskirts of Las Vegas and they don’t want it do be over come with people trying to get away from the big city.  Our small town is nice and quiet and they want to keep it that way.  Because of this it is hard for those who do want to build to get approved.

But shortly after the approval did happen, they broke ground and the houses started to go up.  I helped my dad do many of the smaller, more menial tasks, as well as being around to see him do a lot of the more important things so I learned a lot of things about construction and real estate.  I helped him do things like doing the low voltage wiring and helping him decide on some of the design issues that he was unsure about.  He wanted these homes to have the ability to have custom home entertainment packages and high speed data run throughout the house.  As such I designed and ran the wiring set up for all the houses to include surround sound and HDTV wiring built in to all the houses so the buyers could have the option to have them terminated and connected or even have an entire home entertainment package installed for an additional fee.  Also when the houses were done being built I created a website and flyers for the advertisement and sale of them.

Here are a few pictures that I took during construction and after they were built for the website and flyers.

 

New Homes for Sale Banner
New Homes For Sale Banner for the Cottonwood Cove homes.
New Homes Sign for Cottonwood Cove Houses
New Homes Sign for Cottonwood Cove Houses
Cottonwood Cove Entryway
A view of the entryway in one of the homes at Cottonwood Cove.
Cottonwood Cove Kiten
A view of the Cottonwood Cove kitchen with light colored counters.
Living room at Cottonwood Cove
Cottonwood Cove living room with home entertainment system
All the Cottonwood Cove houses
A view of all the houses on Cottonwood Cove
House on Cottonwood Cove
One of the houses on Cottonwood Cove

Photos From My College Graduation

Jared Connell with family at his college graduation celebratory dinner

It has been exactly 10 years since I graduated from ITT Technical Institute.  I received my BS degree in Information Security – basically anti-hacker training  (or hacker training depending on whether you are white-hat or black-hat).  Here are some photos from my graduation ceremony and celebration dinner later that night.

 

Since it is now 10 years after my college graduation, here are some photos from my ceremony and celebration dinner

Jared Connell stands with his father and great grandmother on graduation day
A picture of me, Jared Connell, with my father and great grandmother on the day I graduated from college
Jared Connell with family at his college graduation celebratory dinner
A picture of me, Jared Connell, with my family on the night of my college graduation at the celebration dinner.
Jared Connell and family at college graduation dinner.
A photo of me, Jared Connell with my family and friends celebrating my college graduation

Playing Golf With My Dad and Brother

Jared playing golf with his brother and father

Going through a few old photos I came across these from a while back when my brother, my father, and I all went to play golf.  I believe it was on a holiday, perhaps Thanksgiving.  It is a very happy memory as it is one of the few times that we all got to hang out as a family on a holiday and do something fun that we still have pictures from.  And as my dad has since passed these are very treasured photos and I would like to post them here for posterity.

Joe Connell, with his sons Justin and Jared Connell, playing golf

Jared Conell watching his brother and father play golf.
My father, Joe Connell taking a swing at the local driving range. I, Jared Connell am sitting down and my brother, Justin Connell is getting ready to tee-off in the background.
Jared playing golf with his brother and father
A picture of me, Jared Connell, with my father and brother playing golf together.