My grandfather on my Mom’s side was born this day in 1928. If he were still living he’d be 84 today. He passed in 1998 from complications of cancer caused by mesothelioma. Before his death, he helped build hundreds if not thousands of public landmarks as a brick mason. Many throughout the Philadelphia area, Baltimore and upstate New York.
Next time you walk or drive past Washington Square in Philadelphia, know that my Grandpop constructed the brick wall with the “Washington caps” on top that surround the open space. Perhaps his favorite project, aside from the many schools, libraries, hospitals, police and fire stations, YMCAs, and other public as well as private buildings he helped construct after his time in the Navy in World War II.
An inspiration to me daily, we’re forever connected through our personality and generous, fun-loving attitude. Though I may no longer be able to hug him and tell him I love him, I feel his presence and his loving grace and I know I can tell him anything, even without speaking a single word.
I have been trying to tweet for 20 minutes. But no way to tell if my “What’s happening Twitter?” tweet has been sent. I tried it on Twitter for iPhone & Echofon but because my timeline won’t update I can’t see if it has posted.
Has this happened to you?
Did you know you can go to http://status.twitter.com/ to check and see if Twitter has timed out or has some server issue?
Go ahead.. give it a try.
As a kid growing up in the 80s, I spent every single summer “down the shore” with my family. I don’t remember being 7 months old, but there are pictures of me at that age (and every year following) on the beaches of Ocean City, New Jersey. Some of my closest friends will find this post amusing because I will have mentioned New Jersey in the title of a blog post before I ever mentioned Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Abington Township or Roslyn, PA … the native lands upon which I was raised. But I digress…
I think my earliest memories in Ocean City come from making sandcastles by the shoreline; before I knew the high tide would wash them away in a few short hours. I recall riding my bike on the boardwalk in the mornings to get Brown’s Donuts. Among my bike experiences, I ended up breaking off a training wheel in my Aunt and Uncle’s driveway and had to learn the hard way how to ride a two wheeler. Not just ANY two wheeler, either. It was a Knight Rider bike! Complete with a dashboard that resembled the dash in KIT. I loved that bike.
Back to the sandcastles. We made basic sandcastles by filling buckets with sand that wasn’t too wet or too dry, but a good mix. We had to dig down in the sand a bit to find that perfect blend. When we did, we would build a little town of castles. The “we” I am referring to are my cousins, who were all older than me. We have a bunch of fun stories I could share here about our days “down the shore” but before I get carried away with tales of mini-golf, frisbee & horseshoes, I’d like to talk about one thing that I’ve enjoyed every time I visited OCNJ.
MMMMmmmm…. Mack & Manco’s Pizza!! I don’t know their special secret for sure, but my guess is the South Jersey salt air mixed with the dough and the sauce – both of which are made on site daily – has something to do with making their delicious pizza.
If you’ve ever been to Ocean City, New Jersey you’ve most likely driven around the circle at the foot of the 9th Street Bridge. You probably passed The Circle Liquor Store, affectionately referred to as “Church” by my family because OCNJ is a “dry town” meaning there are no bars or alcoholic beverages served or sold on the island. But that’s why The Circle Liquor Store is right there on the other side of the 9th Street Bridge. “Location, Location, Location” right? Well… all of this is in the midst of a change.
The circle no longer exists, the area is now a big intersection resembling a major metro downtown traffic pattern. The bridge I used to ride my bike over is no longer there – don’t worry, they’ve constructed a brand spanking new, much taller and wider bridge in its place. The Mack family and Manco family have respectfully decided to separate. As of January 1, 2012 the greatest pizza place on the island will be known as “Manco & Manco Pizza” – though the locals, and people like me who’ve enjoyed their pizza and friendly service our whole lives, will likely forever refer to it as “Mack & Manco’s”. The good news, the Manco family has stated they will continue to use the same ingredients and methods to make their pizza. Whew! Glad to hear that!
One thing is for sure, I will always have great memories of my childhood in Ocean City, NJ. It was the first beach I ever laid on, played on, walked on, jogged on and ran on. I recorded my first ever mini golf hole-in-one, enjoyed my first surrey ride and bought my first rock t-shirt on the OCNJ Boardwalk. We hung out on the front porch til 3 in the morning and the back deck through sunrise. Speaking of, I took some of my favorite sunrise photos on the beaches of OCNJ. Sometimes walking along the break, climbing a jetty and strumming guitar. That’s something that I’ll always have the ability to experience, too. No matter what more may change on my favorite vacation island, I know the shoreline will always be there, the waves will always crash along the shore and I’ll always be able to enjoy the sunrise on the beach.
Thank you for reading.
There are days when I think back to my childhood. I reflect on myself as a youth and how I was raised – to be genuine, helpful and true to what made me happy – and how I was both a help to my little sister and a nuisance. How both of those were enveloped in love. I helped because she couldn’t do it herself. I was nuisance because… well, because that’s what big brothers do to their little sisters every now and again (like every other hour… and again) but the time in between, we played well together and made each other laugh. To this day, we’re still very close.
Then there are the days when I reflect back to my high school days – little fish in a big pond – and recall being a friend to many, but never one to be in any clique or group. I was so much of an outsider I didn’t even fit in with the outsiders. So much a slacker I couldn’t fit in with the slackers. You get my point, I’m sure there are others out there who can honestly say they never really “fit in” anywhere in high school. At least I made friends there and we still keep in contact.
As I grew older, got into the working world, started paying taxes and began to understand responsibilities, I recall being overwhelmed and undervalued. Not that I thought the kid sweeping floors or scrubbing pots and pans should be making $500,000 a year, but one could dream, right? Perhaps because my family was more “blue-collar” and didn’t “come from money” – two expressions I barely understood then and increasingly find misconnected today – I was naturally humble. I was proud enough to go about my work and do it with efficiency and class, whether I was plunging a toilet or counting your money.
Being born in 1980 was like being born in a time when money was no object – the gold standard was abolished in America nearly a decade before – and when time was practically a myth, I mean who really had a Grandfather Clock or a Pocket Watch anymore, right? At least those items held historical value and still told you what time it was. Of course, this is more a reference to the days when companies offered their employees “Holiday Bonuses” and pensions (admittedly, I received a few “Holiday Bonuses” in my time) but I never worked for one company long enough to earn that majestic term that future generations will refer to as “ancient lifelong benefits” or something – you know… pensions. Besides, I was never wise enough to treat my “Holiday Bonuses” as anything more than a gift for myself. Probably bought something I didn’t need and didn’t use enough to gain anything more. Sound familiar?
I’ll admit I was quite a free-spender in college. Problem was, it was all my money. It wasn’t from government grants or scholarship money, it wasn’t my parents money or any inheritance. All the money I spent was mine. Earned in paychecks and borrowed on my credit cards (which proved to be the near death of me – financially speaking). But I learned the lesson that debt sucks. Debt can deprive you of practically everything you truly need. Like your sanity, especially when you struggle to map out a plan to even begin to figure out how to get out of debt.
Now I’m no master debt resolver, but I’ve assured myself that in the year ahead, I will not buy anything unless I have the equity in cash on hand to pay for it. Obviously, I’m not going to go Holiday shopping while carrying a ton of cash with me. So, I do use credit cards and debit cards when shopping. One thing that I’ve done to better my finances was to live a little – a lot, really – more frugally so that I would ensure myself some freedom. Financial Freedom.
The system I have is a daily system. I realized when I was 26 (far too late in life in my opinion) that sometimes is not enough; rather, its best to monitor checking account balances daily. Savings accounts are practically automatic, if you let them be. But where most consumers pay more fees annually is in credit cards and they wouldn’t be charging those fees (or interest for that matter) if they were paid off monthly. What I am about to propose is no secret. Its a mixture of how your grandparents lived after The Great Depression: Only spend a portion of the money you have. Never spend it all and never ever spend more than you have – and – how the rich tend to manage their finances by increasing their credit score, lowering their interest rates and increasing their available credit: Save enough to equal every credit limit before using the card, and pay the card off every single month.
Now, I know those two concepts may be foreign to some folks who are reading this and could be equally puzzling to those who allow others to handle their finances, but I hold out hope. I hold hope that we can all someday have the power to use credit wisely to increase our wealth (not just our possessions). I’m not a financial advisor, by any means. But I’ve learned some incredible lessons due to making a ton of stupendous mistakes. In these hard times, I’d like you to think about your credit cards, think of the one with the highest credit limit. Ask yourself one question: Do I have enough in the bank right now to equal the credit limit on this card? If you don’t, perhaps its time to start saving more frequently and using credit whole lot less. The new year is a great way to start, but you can start today.
In summation, this blog post has been, in part, a life story… at least my life story (abbreviated) up until current times. Maybe you’ll understand me a little more, maybe you’ll just think I’m crazy. I have an answer to that presumption.
I’m laid back, not lazy;
Creative, not crazy;
Sometimes drunk and
Now that I’ve shared the greatest quote I’ve ever written or spoken, I’m sure you can understand me a bit better. ; )
Thank you for reading.
As we near the end of the year, its always a good idea to go through files and find the things we need to keep, like paystubs (until W-2′s from employers arrive) for instance. And with the other pieces of paper we have held on to throughout the year? Well for the most part, we can go ahead and shred it all. No, wait… better yet read this New York Times article first.
There are plenty of things we’d like to hang on to; both in the tangible physical world as well as the digital virtual world. For instance, you probably don’t want to throw away photos of your childhood or relatives from decades, even centuries, ago. This doesn’t mean you should scan and upload those photos to Facebook. Funny story: I’ve been tagged (by an adoring cousin) in my parents wedding photo, as has my sister (we weren’t born for another 2 & 4 years later). On the other side of the coin, we don’t need to print out everything we’ve shared or stored online. Frankly, I think the photos of my college days on Myspace were deleted with that original handle for good; as much as I wish I could still access those pics, I don’t miss them, I still have the memories.
This brings me to the picture you see above, the very first photo I ever took on an Apple. I didn’t even know what Photobooth was when I bought my MacBook Pro in 2006, but once I got it home and played around, I opened the app, explored and learned quickly. The MacBook Pro I am typing on at this moment is that very one… and it still has every single Photobooth image I ever snapped. That got me thinking about purging files and I have also entertained the idea of viewing every single photo on this computer and choosing to keep it, move it or delete it. A task of that magnitude could be quite time consuming, considering I’m closing in on 5,000 images. Thanks very much to my iPhone, which increased the amount of images by some exponential percentage I can not even begin to fathom.
As time goes on, I’ll share more photos, like the one below. Like I said, I have thousands of images saved and about 500 of them are snapped from Photobooth. I won’t share them all, though (you wish! haha). Just wanted to share these two because they were both taken the same day way back in 2006 – over 5 years ago, within the first 24 hours of playing around with my very first (and still operating) MacBook Pro.
For now, I’ll just keep the image files stored on this MacBook until I can transfer them to a free cloud account or an external hard drive. As for all the files cluttering up my filing cabinet and office space, I’ll get to sorting through them sometime in the week ahead. I promise.
Thank you for reading.
Earlier today, Twitter released their fresh new user interface both on the web and on their mobile apps. After much conversation between my tweeps and myself, I’ve noticed some things we collectively like & some things we collectively dislike.
An Overview on the layout:
Its FAST! and shiny… it looks and feels new. That’s exciting!! : )
The app now features four very different menus at the bottom.
“Home”: Where your timeline appears – this is the least changed screen, but the way tweets appear is different. They kind of float over a background and that floating page has curved edges at the top until it updates with the incoming tweets from those you follow, then they appear to attach them to the page, squaring off the edges.
“Connect”: This is what replaced Replies. Now, this screen has a sub-menu. “Interactions” and “Mentions”. The former is a list of not only the tweets you’re mentioned in, but it shows you who recently followed you, favorited your tweets and listed you. This is a very nice feature to have on the mobile app. You can now instantly follow those who have followed you within moments of them following you.
“Discover”: This is where you’ll find all the other things you’ve seen added to the web version. Its my guess that this part was included to help us connect with things of interest. I do not know how these things are recommended, however. Stories, Trends, Who to Follow, as well as Find Friends and Browse Categories.
“Me”: This is where you can view your profile, Direct Messages, Drafts, Lists & Saved Searches. You can also Switch Accounts (if you, like me, operate a few more than just your primary Twitter handle), Settings and Help.
That was a brief rundown of the new layout. Like I said, it is quite new & it runs faster than the earlier version. I don’t know about you, but I noticed the older version would lag and sometimes crash once I had upgraded to iOS 5.0.1 – but that was then… this is now:
When I think of this, its tough to declare it as simply “good” because this is the primary feature I was hoping would be available to view for quite some time; the ability to see who retweeted me and who had favorited my tweets. Finally, I don’t have to wait 12+ hours to see that someone I truly appreciate had retweeted me the day before. It now appears in my “interactions” tab within the “Connect” menu as they push the retweet button or that little star. This makes me happy.
The app hasn’t crashed yet. And I don’t think it will (more on the power of positive thought later). There will be plenty of time to push the app to the limit, all while doing my best to avoid twail (twitter jail) – when you exceed the amount of tweets, follows, listings or some other data transfer/entry style things on the Twitter server.
This all new Twitter for iPhone app has been loading tweets much faster, sending tweets two steps quicker and guess what; I have not had one – not one – tweet “saved as draft” due to some error. That has definitely put a smile on my face simply because I save much more time now and don’t miss a ton of quality content scrolling through my tweetstream. There was a time when it seemed that every third or fourth tweet was “saved as draft” – and it was frustrating.
We can no longer see if the profile we’re viewing is following us. That’s a big letdown in my book. I do my best to maintain a mutual network everywhere online. Facebook is the only site where its required. Google Plus and Twitter don’t require it, and I don’t think they should, but that’s not the point. The point is the last version showed whether they were following or not, this new one doesn’t.
URL shortener services are no longer an customizable option. I haven’t seen them anywhere within settings (where they used to appear). We can still choose our photo, video and our “read later” services, though. But back to the URL shorter… Correct me if I’m wrong, but there is still a 140 character limit on Twitter & yes, t.co is an URL shortener, but why not let us use is.gd or bit.ly or any other URL shortener of our choice?
Favstar is no longer featured. Given, the new app will tell you when someone stars (favorites) your tweets as soon as they do it, but there’s no way to view at all your favorited tweets or all your retweets for that matter. This is something I relied on. I was (and still am) in the process of archiving every tweet of mine that was retweeted since Twitter instituted the retweet button… now, it just got a whole lot more difficult to find all those tweets that were worthy of a retweet.
Can we PLEASE (pretty please?) – I’m asking nicely – have the ability to search our timeline again? I really Really REALLY miss that feature. Especially when there was breaking news of interest like a sports injury or some traffic incident in your area it was much easier to search for that players name or the route/street name. PLEASE Twitter?
And another thing… WHY did Twitter put the Direct Message option within the same button as “Report for Spam” and “Block”? Could they not find someplace else to put it? Really? Why not just emulate the profile screen when I’m viewing my profile where it says “View Direct Messages” – can’t there be a simple “Direct Message” button on other profiles?
All in all, I think this app is an upgrade over the one it replaced, but I will not be entirely satisfied until I can search my timeline once again for specific content that I am seeking.
I’ll close it out with a tweet I received in a reply as I was working on this post.
“Trying to find a new Twitter app is like trying to find a new best friend. It’s hard, yo.” – @GuiltySquid
Thank you for reading.
Two and a half hours after posting this, I logged into Twitter on the web and was welcomed to #NewNewTwitter
which is what has been trending today as the hashtag around this buzz. You see, just over a year ago #NewTwitter changed the whole layout of the site. A few updates since then allowed photos and videos to appear on the profile and within a tweet (without a click through to a hosting site). Twitter currently hosts all images uploaded on Photobucket.
One main new feature of #NewNewTwitter on the web is the ability to embed a tweet anywhere online.
— Billy 8D (@iWIC3) December9, 2011
Now… only if you could reply, retweet, favorite or share the above embedded tweet without leaving this page.
Added @ 2:15 PM 12/9:
I’ve taken four screen shots from my iPhone & am using the WordPress app to upload the pics. Curious how this will turn out & how I can adjust how they display.
Because there is no perfect way to start anything, I’ll just begin.
What you’re going to find here is a multitude of things. You’ll see me writing articles on music, film, sports, tech, gadgets, apps, and just about anything else that grabs my attention long enough to write about. You’ll also see me sharing links of content I’ve found throughout the web from friends on various social sites.
You can find me by name ( Billy Wichterman ) or my Internet ID ( iWIC3 ) everywhere online.
I sincerely appreciate all comments and all those who share what I’ve written and shared.
Without your eyes reading and your fingers clicking, or touching a link on a touchscreen, I would not have been so inspired to follow what many others have done and followed their lead to create this domain in my name.