Goodies.

I was able to drive home my normal commuting route yesterday for the first time in a while. With all the flooding and such that has been going on this week many of the roads have been closed. I was happy to see that the Amish Baked Goods stand was open.

Another car pulled up to the small building ahead of me. They stopped to talk to one of the Amish men before making their way to the items for sale. As I looked over the goods, I noticed that there was just one pie for sale. It was an apple pie. I purchased that right away, along with a plate of chocolate chip cookies. The girl working the stand was the same girl that has been working there right along. She isn’t much of a conversationalist, but she did look me in the eyes when she said the only two words spoken to me, “You’re welcome”. I was happy to hear that we had progressed to two words, last time it was just “Yes”.

As I made gathered up the goodies and started back to the Jeep, the other couple made their way to the stand. I heard the woman exclaim, “Oh, pickles!”

I hope the stand is open for a few more weeks. The weather is perfect for a quick stop there before the weekend.

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Philanthropy.

It is no secret that Apple makes billions and billions of dollars profit on all their iDevices. They frequently bounce around the top 3 list of companies based on their value. They have tons of cash because they’re good at what they do.

While I believe they are giving back to the human experience by giving people quality ways to connect to one another through their iDevices, they’re not as active in philanthropic efforts as one would hope they would be. This is one of the reasons that I occasionally consider switching back to the Microsoft platform; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to bringing innovations in health, development, and learning to the global community (description taken from the website). Bill and Melinda are using a good chunk of their fortune to make important changes in the world. I like this, and this is the reason I have quite a few pieces of Microsoft hardware in my toy box.

I mention from time to time that I have a keen interest in Linux, the free, open-source operating system alternative to Windows and Mac OS X. While it pertains to my geek side very much, I also enjoy Linux, particularly Ubuntu, because it’s very design allows one to take an older, discarded computer and turn it into a relevant contributor again. This, in turn, keeps computers out of our landfills that much longer and allows us to send these machines that were deemed not powerful enough to places where they might not be able to afford it. They may not be the latest and greatest nor the shiniest, but they work just fine and are able to importing things in regards to research, education and the like. And as a quick plug for Linux: No Viruses!

It makes me happy to see that Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook is starting to turn the philanthropic philosophy at Apple around a little bit. I hope he continues that trend. As I get older and because I have the luxury to do so, I am start to consider these types of efforts more in my purchasing decisions. I am also pursuing Linux at home actively again, not because it’s a badge of honour for a geek to be using Linux, but because I have the ability to contribute to the various Linux projects, including Ubuntu, and if I can help make the experience better for the user, then maybe someone somewhere using Linux for an important cause out their in the wild will be able to do what they need to do that much easier.

I have started a little computer journey in the effort of using my skills to give back to the world. I am a lucky geek in that I get to play with technology for my job with a company that keeps people connected with one another. By contributing to various Linux based projects and by sharing my experiences and educating people, I strive to help others to stop thinking about how the computer works and instead focus on using their computer as simply a tool to achieve what they really need to achieve.

The new blog is located at thetechbear.blogspot.com. (Update: link fixed, thanks Erik)

A number of years ago, as I sat with my cousin in a hospital waiting room, wondering if my sister was going to make it through her battle with Legionella and come out in one piece, I remarked that I needed start doing more to contribute to the human experience and to make the world a better place. I suppose everyone says that sort of thing when a loved one is sick and they have lots of time to think and worry while waiting in a hospital. The important thing is to actually take the action and do something, using their natural skills and abilities.

When we do that, I believe we truly can make the world a better place.