Going back to college

Going back to college

It has finally happened: I’ve gone back to college. My friend Brandon has pointed out that I’m doing things backwards though. He says “you are supposed to go to school, graduate, be miserable for 40 years, THEN retire.”

Regardless of whether I’m doing it backwards or not, I’m now a few weeks into the semester at BYU-Idaho. If you know that I live in Connecticut, you may be wondering how I’m attending an Idaho school. The answer is the most awesome innovation in education that I’ve had the privilege of participating in: the BYU-Idaho Pathway Program.

Here are the basics:

  • The program is available to all active LDS members that are 18-30 years old (only available in some areas). Keep in mind that BYU-Idaho’s operating expenses are subsidized with LDS tithing, so they shouldn’t be faulted for expecting you to be an active member of the LDS church.
  • You don’t have to have a high school diploma. It doesn’t matter if you are married or single. You don’t have to take the SAT or ACT. The application is only one page long. Pretty much everyone is accepted.
  • Classes are only $65 per credit hour. There are no application fees, matriculation fees, student fees, technology fees, etc. Just $65 per credit hour. To make it even better, for-credit Institute religion classes are free.
  • You can transfer credits from previous colleges, and they have a “no credit left behind policy”. If you took the class, they’ll find a way to make it count for something.
  • Students that maintain a B average can optionally transfer to the BYU-Idaho campus after the first year. Students that choose to stay where they are can graduate without ever going to Idaho.

Most of the work is done online. Once a week the class meets together at the Institute of Religion building for a few hours.

The weekly meeting is split into two parts: an Institute of Religion class taught by a missionary couple, and a class discussion led by the students themselves. I was skeptical at first about the class discussion, but it seems to work really well. My classmates and I are eager to participate, excited about the material, and honestly have fun at these weekly meetings.

So how long until I have a degree? Well I haven’t transferred my credits yet, so I’m not sure. The first year is very structured. I am required to take specific classes, regardless of my background. After the first year I am given some flexibility in what classes I take. With my existing credits, I suspect I could get an associate degree in a year or two without a very heavy load. I’d like to go on and get a bachelors degree, though, so I’ll probably be in a school for a few years.

Anyways, I’m very excited. The downside of course is that I’ll have less time for my business. I think in the long run the knowledge I’ll gain from my classes will make up for the time I spend doing homework and in class.

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Why you should have an account at allthis

At the beginning of this month I stumbled upon allthis, a website that lets you buy and sell 10 minutes of people’s time. I was a little skeptical at first, but now that I’ve been using it I am hooked and absolutely convinced that it is going to be huge.

Here is how it works:

  • You signup and get some free time credits.
  • You use those credits to buy someone’s token.
    • Each person only has one token available at a time.
    • The token can be redeemed for 10 minutes of that person’s time.
    • Or you can hope someone else buys it from you at a higher price so you earn a profit, which you can then spend on someone else’s token.
  • Keep in mind that someone can buy your token, too, and possibly redeem it for 10 minutes of your time.

So why would you want 10 minutes of someone’s time? Well, maybe you are an aspiring novelist, so perhaps you’ll buy 10 minutes of another writer’s time to get their input on your idea for a new book. Or maybe you make websites and aren’t very good at social media and want some tips from someone that is. Or maybe someone just plain sounds interesting and you’d like to spend 10 minutes chatting. Or maybe you won’t redeem any tokens yet, and are just trying to build up a huge chunk of cash so you can buy someone famous when they join allthis.

Like I said, I’m convinced this is going to be huge. It is easy to use and engages the visitor. There is always a reason to come back (to spend more credits or to fulfill someone’s request for 10 minutes of your time). But most of all it is fun. Its like a people stock market.

Unlike Facebook or Twitter where it doesn’t really matter when you sign up, there will definitely be an advantage for people that signup early for allthis. They’ll have more time to build their virtual credit balance and so they’ll have easier access to more interesting people in the future.

So go signup! Not sure who’s token to buy first? You could always buy mine.

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Android Notifier

A few days ago I stumbled upon the coolest app I’ve ever put on my phone: Android Notifier.

This app takes all the notifications from your phone like incoming calls, SMS/MMS messages, battery status, etc, and displays them on your desktop. Automagically. You just install the app on your phone, install the app on your desktop, and BAM! It magically sends notifications to your desktop.

It is smart enough to use the notification system appropriate for your system, like Growl or libnotify, and provides an encryption option if you are worried about other people seeing your txt messages as they are sent to your desktop.

Anyways, I’m loving it. I often forget my phone in my bedroom in the morning, which makes me miss calls because it isn’t loud enough for me to hear in my office. It also warns me when my battery is getting low.

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Name Generator in Your State

I’m very excited to announce the launch of my latest site: namegenerator.in. I know what you are thinking, “oh geez, another name generator site..”, but this one is different!

Instead of just listing a bunch of fake information, it displays it on a business card. There are several business card designs (made by my beautiful wife!). You can flip through the cards by clicking left/right arrows, get new fake details by clicking an icon, or get a permalink that lets you send the info to a friend or post online.

You can also generate details for specific states. The site tries to detect your state automatically. So if I go to the page, it automatically selects Connecticut because that is where I live.

As an added bonus, try entering the Konami code.

Anyways, check it out and let me know what you think: http://namegenerator.in

 

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2011 Goal Update (August)

This is my eighth monthly report on how I’m doing with my goals for 2011:

  • Read the Book of Mormon again. I’m still behind, but I’m making serious progress towards getting back on track.
  • Earn as much from my side business as I was earning from my day job. If you didn’t notice, the economy took a tank this month. Fortunately my earnings didn’t plummet, but they didn’t go up either. I’m no longer on track to hit this goal.
  • Build a dining room table. Build a piano keyboard desk. Build something. Still nothing.
  • Launch twelve new websites. I added significant new functionality to the Fake Name Generator. I’ve made it possible to log in and save your names, track your orders, and things like that. I also created 32-bit or 64-bit, which lets you easily determine if you are running a 32-bit or 64-bit OS.

I’ve also been working on a few goals that I didn’t originally blog about:

  • Max out my 401k and Roth IRA contributions. The 401k is maxed out. Yay! The stock market dropped. Boo!
  • Start an email newsletter. I’ve been planning on doing a dating tips newsletter to go along with The Awkward Turtle site, but I have a new site in mind that I’m pretty excited about and would work well with a newsletter, so maybe I’ll do that instead.
  • Create a game for mobile phones. Haven’t put any time into this yet. Maybe will be working on something with my brother.

Goals I’ve accomplished this year:

  • Quit my day job. I’m basically retired. I play with my daughter, work on hobbies, and sleep all day. Its a pretty good life.
  • Become a dad. I’m a dad! Yay! My daughter Anna was born in late May.
  • Publish my first book. I’ve published my first book (paperback, Kindle, and Nook). Took me a couple years, and I already found 2 typos (grr!) fixed the typos, but at least it is finally in print.
  • Paid my taxes. I make money from a lot of places which makes my taxes really complicated, so getting this finished was awesome. I also started paying quarterly taxes because my self-employed income has gotten pretty high. It is uber painful to write a big check every couple months to the IRS, but oh well, that is the cost of making money..
  • Get out of debt. We’ve paid off the last of Becca’s student loans which means we are now debt free! Yay!
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