The Chinese proverb says "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" which means that one cannot end their journey or meet their goal with taking that first step. Technically, this post does not mark the beginning of my journey, but it does mark the beginning of a new phase of my journey. First, just a little about me.
I have worked with technology since my first job at 16 years old. In fact, 2020 will make it an even 30 years since then. I have worked in the trucking industry, education, software distribution, the medical field, telecommunications, online yellow pages, a PC manufacturer, financial services, and the automotive industry. All in positions where I was supporting the technology that ran my employer's business.
I have worked in desktop support, server administration, capacity management, disaster recovery, and various aspects of IT Service Management. I have a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Master of Science in Information Technology. Now I'm in middle management and manage managers.
I saw the rise and fall of modem-based Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) and dial-up Internet with it's pre-World Wide Web protocols such as Gopher, IRC, and FTP. I saw Y2K come and go. I saw the introduction of broadband, podcasts, smartphones, social media, Web 2.0, and now devops and the cloud.
Politically, I'm a libertarian. On the left-right spectrum I consider myself to be fairly in the middle as more conservative on fiscal issues and more liberal on social issues. I always knew on some level I didn't agree wholly with either side of the political spectrum, but I was able to put a label to my beliefs after reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I discovered there is also an up-down axis between libertarian and authoritarian.
I mostly want my government to be as small as possible and only serve to provide a common defense, keep anyone from hurting others, and to serve as an arbiter to resolve contract disputes. Nearly everything else, such as marriage, should be left up to individuals who are consenting adults to decide what is best for themselves. That includes the right to do stupid things and hurt yourself. If you aren't hurting others, go for it.
Free and Open Source
Given my background, it might not be a shock to hear that I support the free and open source movement. I first discovered UNIX at my first job and got to work with AT&T System V and SCO Unix/Xenix. The average person couldn't afford to use them back then, but that changed in college when I discovered Linux and FreeBSD.
Maker at Heart
I have earned my Extra class amateur radio license from the FCC and made a variety of electronics projects to include building radios and various antennas. I have taught licensing classes.
I helped form a group that was trying to create a new Makerspace and lead a local amateur radio club. I have enjoyed giving my time and money to these types of pursuits for the benefit of bringing technology and communications capabilities to those who are interested. I have a particular interest in emergency communications, Skywarn storm spotting with the National Weather Service, and the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) programs. Prepping for the worst goes hand-in-hand with making things.
Getting to the Point
This new phase of my journey is about liberating my data, owning my privacy, refreshing skills which have atrophied since moving up to middle management, and learning skills and technology that will be useful for the next 20 years of my career.
Like many people, I've been seduced by the cool free (and not) products offered by technology companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook. Of course, I know they use my data. Yes, I know I'm the product, but they are just so convenient. They will probably still get my data even if I stop using their products, they are now firmly embedded in all aspects of our lives. However, I'm not going down without a fight.
In my next post, I will outline the project itself. The tools, resources, and philosophy that will drive this long-term, multi-year project.