I like to splurge on something once each year, typically a gadget.

  • In 2000 I bought a Toshiba 1605 laptop.  I bought while on leave and took it with me to MCT and MOS training.  That laptop was pretty good at the time with 32MB of RAM that I upgraded to 196MB.  It had an 8GB hard drive running Windows 98.  It also had a built in modem that worked fairly well.
  • In 2001  I bought a Sony MVC CD1000 Camera.  I had been working at Pennswoods for quite a while and I had no bills to speak of.  Money was no problem for me.   I also started up my business, signing a 5-year lease on a commercial building.  The next month, 9/11 happened and I was told to prepare for deployment.
  • In 2002 I bought a Kyocera QCP 6035 smart phone.  During this year I also took a trip to Washington state for vacation.  This was a good phone.  It sometimes froze on me when I opened the flip, but it generally worked really well. It allowed me to combine my palm pilot and cell phone in one device, and I was all for that.
  • In 2003 I upgraded to a Kyocera 7135 smart phone.  This was my favorite phone of all time.  Palm OS, clam-shell design.  What's not to love?  Apparently it can no longer be activated in the US because it does not have a tracking GPS built into it.  I was deployed at the beginning of the year and left the 6035 with my parents.  When I returned, I read reviews on the 7135 and got it within a month of my return.  If I could have this phone now (activated of course), I would still think of it as the better phone even though it lacks bluetooth support.  I have not come across a phone that I felt I would enjoy more (inside or outside my price range).
  • In 2004 I was flat broke and bought Ramen noodles.  This was between deployments, between jobs, and I had serious car troubles.  It was a dismal time for me.  I spent each evening at a different house, moving from couch to couch.
  • In 2005 I purchased an HP dv1000 laptop.  I tricked it out with a whopping 512MB of ram, 80GB hard drive, and extended battery (lasts 3+ hours).  I should also point out that during the summer of 2005, I was again broke. My business was my sole source of income and not doing as much as I wanted it to. However, everyone else I knew was broke, and we all enjoyed that summer playing pool, eating at Dennys, and taking road trips to Western PA, Eastern Maryland, and Southern Virginia.  I don't know how we afforded any of it.
  • In 2006 I purchased a house.  Not exactly a gadget, but I believe it will outlast all of my other gadgets.  Business was doing a lot better for me during this summer.  Up until winter came, things were truly looking up.
  • This year, the year of 2007, I purchased a xv6700.  This is a Windows PPC 6700.  It comes with 64MB of ram, has bluetooth, wifi, is evdo capable, and will take mini-SD cards.  It has a touch screen and a slide out keyboard that works really well.  This device is more of a computer than a phone, and in that regard works very well.  The phone side of it leaves a bit to be desired.  There seems to be a slight delay between when you press a key and when it updates the screen, which is a bit distracting when placing a call or entering your pin.  Otherwise, this is an amazing gadget.  The phone portion is vastly improved if you use a bluetooth headset.  Plantronic Voyager 550 is the one I got and unlike those earpieces that you corkscrew into your ear, I barely notice that I'm wearing the headset.  I linked to a video review that I would highly recommend watching even if you're not in the market for such a phone/ppc.  There are reasons I chose a phone that is more of a computer than a phone, and I will go into that next.

As you may have read, I am working for "the man", a big corporate entity in Virginia.  My main business has become a sideline endeavor for the foreseeable future.  I still have customers I support, and I'll still do a lot of the same stuff.  But, I'm not taking calls constantly for the business and not using my phone that much as a phone.  I'm shifting to work I can do remotely such as server administration, scripting, and device configuration.  Most of this can be done via web and email.  With an email/web/ssh capable mobile device, I can even handle some emergency tasks from just about anywhere.
On another note, not splurge related, I have finally been placed on Night One.  This is a wonderful shift that is basically 3-4 (alternating) nights each week.  I will always work Sunday night, Monday Night, and Tuesday night.  Every other week, I will work Wendesday night as well.  The shifts go from 6pm till 6am.  Once I am done at either Tuesday or Wednesday morning, I am off to do my own thing until the following Sunday night.  The long shifts sound horrible, but I much prefer the shorter work week (even though I might go home to do even more work, of a different kind).

We are forming

So far, work down here has been pretty good. I get along with those that I work with, I understand the job, and I've been able to be valuable with some of the knowledge I picked up along the way.

Now, the place I'm working at is not the only place down here that's hiring, but I know that they are looking for people and not getting them in. Right now, it seems like things are pretty slow (and the seasoned workers also say it's kind of slow this time of year) but there are busy times of the day and there will be busy days. They are also expanding which will create more work.

So they need people, my friends need jobs. I can't give them a job, but I can at least link people up. The first link up was Chris and that went pretty well. He "passed" both the Level II and Level III test. While it's not official, I'm sure he has the job. Shortly, we will get an apartment together like we did in Everett -- reforming our little techie gang.

I have two more people on deck to apply here. One will probably be applying shortly, the other I'm going to try to get to apply in August (they can't start working till September).

We are forming.