The Future is Free

I don’t know if it could be classified as an ADD or ADHD thing, but I have a hard time focusing on one thing for a long period of time. At least, that’s the case if it’s not something I’ve specifically set my mind to doing. For instance, as I was graduating high school I was set to go into an IT course for network management. Shortly before I was supposed to start the school was shut down. I began an enrollment process at another school, but before I could begin my classes there, I decided not to go forward with it. I basically took a bit of time off from school and ended deciding to go to Lincoln Technical Institute to learn more about repair cars. It was a past-time I was interested in, I enjoyed it, and it seemed like a good thing to do as a career and a way to help other people save money (by doing side-jobs at a discounted rate).

Now I’m over a decade in to my career in the automotive industry, and I’ve been finding my desire to do things relating to IT have been creeping back up. It’s not like I stopped being a computer guy when I decided not to go to school for it, but I’ve always liked being a tinkerer, and tinkering with computers has always been one of my favorite forms of this hobby. The newer focus I have relating to my desire to work with computers has shifted a bit from my intentions all those years ago. Or maybe I should say, they’re going back to the root of something deeper in me. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been doing a little bit of research on the idea of a freelance editor. I’m not really as creative as I may have believed at one time, and I’m trying to embrace that more. But even without the actual creative gene, I’ve always liked figuring out how to get things done with a computer. This has only gotten worse since I was turned on to the idea of free/libre open source software. I started learning about all the ways people have worked together to create tools with and for each other. These free and open source programs are really what got me into Linux. As long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to do some kind of recording studio work on a computer to create, edit, produce, and/or release independent content. In the past this was always about music, but now I’m starting to get a bigger picture of the “people” taking over media creation from the large monolithic studios.

We used to have corporate sponsored radio shows; We now have podcasts.

We used to have record company recording and distribution; We now have Reaper, Ardour, LLMS, and others, followed up with sites like Soundcloud, Purevolume, and NoiseTrade.

We used to have giant newspaper companies; We now have WordPress, SquareSpace, Medium, and Steemit.

We used to have publishing houses for books; We now have FeedBooks and other similar offerings.

We used to have network television; We now have streaming and recording with software like OBS and services to Facebook Live, Twitch, YouTube and Vimeo.

We used to have restrictive copyright licenses; We now have CopyLeft and Creative Commons.

And these comparisons are only the tip of the iceberg. I could probably do a whole post just talking about the Internet Archive. There are so many different ways for independent content creators to get their ideas out there without the traditional restrictions of needing contracts, equipment, and sponsorships. People can go out, create things, and share them with the world so easily and beautifully these days that it fills me with a bit of wonder whenever I think about it.

This doesn’t even have to relate to religious or political opinions. There is plenty of reason for these things simply based on creative people needing the easiest way for people to get their ideas out into the world. The way this ties in to my new mindset about computer usage is that I want to be able to use my drive for making things happen to help others that have the idea for the content, but the lack of knowledge for how to make it happen. I don’t expect anything big to come of it any time soon, if ever. But sometimes it’s just nice to set your perspective correctly.

A New Year is Here

Happy new year! 2016 was a really awesome year for the Tiedemann tribe. The Mrs. and I really dedicated ourselves to becoming pretty serious about a minimalist lifestyle. We did a full declutter around the house and have pretty much moved into a maintenance mode with keeping track of what things we have coming in to the house. As part of this process I’ve decided to put being a musician on hold for a while. I’ve sold all of my equipment and have decided to give myself a bit of a mental reset in relation to music. I’ve spent more than half of my life in the pursuit of making music and as of right now I’m much more interested in being a consumer rather than a creator.

We also finally paid off my school loan! This was one of the biggest achievements of the year as the loan was twelve-years old by the time we got it paid off. It’s definitely been a cloud hanging over our heads and the push we’ve made towards being debt free (coinciding with the push towards minimalism) definitely encouraged us to really work towards it.¬†Along the same lines, this year we took out our first credit card, almost maxed it out, and paid it back off. At this point I will likely be calling the company and cancelling the card because we both came to see how easily a credit card can dig a really big hole. Considering things we’ve learned from listening to The Minimalists’ podcast, we’ve decided we will rely more on a regular debt to income ratio and an underwriting service if we really want to take out a loan for anything. We’ve gotten so dedicated to closing out our debt that we’re even looking at paying off our auto loan within the first quarter of 2017!

On a slightly different point, this year also marked the first full year that I’ve had facial hair (as in a grown out beard and mustache) and the first full year that I’ve been using a Mac (Book Air) as my primary computing device. Both of these changes took place at the end of 2015 but I found myself being committed to both of them this year. I know neither of these are really life-changing decisions but they have played a pretty big part in the way I perceive myself since.

There were some other pretty big changes for my family and myself in 2016, so despite all the negativity that was floating around about the year, I think it was a pretty awesome one. I’m actually feeling pretty optimistic about this new year. As I said earlier, we’re expecting to pay off our car loan in the next few months which will make us debt-free aside from our regular month-to-month bills. It won’t necessarily be a huge burden off of our backs as far as extra income available each month, but the idea of not having the shackle of owing money will be a big relief to us.

I wouldn’t really say I’m the resolution setting kind of person, but as I was thinking about what I accomplished last year, I started wondering if there was anything I would have liked to do that I didn’t. One of the things I always find myself regretting that I hadn’t done more of is writing. I finally released my first short story in the form of a post at Steemit.com (and later here, my personal blog). I’ve decided I want to hold myself to really make an effort at doing more writing. As I said, I don’t want to call it a resolution, but it’s just more of a goal I want to set. I’m going to work at keeping myself to a one-post-a-month minimum. With the ease of our financial burdens I’ve started to become more interested in finding some kind of work I can do from home and it usually ends up pointing towards something relating to writing. Maybe something along the lines of freelance editing, as I find it easier to be critical (constructively) of other people than I do to sit and work on my own writing. I’m hoping that by forcing myself to sit and do more writing that I can get better at doing the work of editing and find myself better equipped to put myself our there in the hunt for something like a stay-at-home freelance editing job.

So here’s to an awesome new year to you and yours, and may all your desires and aspirations find the fuel they need to keep the fire burning!