Unity West Career Day – Computer Programmer

Computer Programming is a great career that can take you so many different places and let you do many different kinds of jobs.  The two most important things to remember:

  • My favorite thing about computer programming is the ability to Create Something from Nothing
  • APPLYING computer programming to a problem is much more valuable than just knowing something about computers.

Things I mentioned:

Net Neutrality

You may have heard about Net Neutrality lately.  The FCC has recently made a rule change that removes protections that kept those that carry internet traffic from charging extra fees to content providers to allow their services higher priority.  You may have heard that the Net Neutrality rules were needless government intervention in the internet and that winy content companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook trying to get their way.  I have to disagree with this take.  In my opinion the real losers from this change will be the majority of internet users.  You and me.  We will suffer from the lose of new innovation, the monopolization of content, and an increase in the stranglehold that large corporations have on all that we do. All of the current large companies, whether content companies or ISPs (Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T) will be the winners in losing Net Neutrality and the losers will be you and me and all of those currently not in control.

I wrote several years ago about the risks of losing Net Neutrality, and the risks have come home to roost.  Net Neutrality (NN) is a term that means that ISPS (the people who bring the internet connections to your house) can not treat some data differently than other data.  The term itself sounds very friendly; neutral.  The lose of NN means that ISPs can charge a content provider a higher rate to give their content priority on the network.  This can mean that you get your YouTube videos faster than your emails which means higher quality video and shouldn’t impact your emails.  That in itself is a good thing.  However, we need to be thinking beyond that short term gain.  Killing NN will reduce the amount of innovation from NEW PLAYERS in the content area, the very thing that has driven the internet forward since the early days.  Many have argued that we didn’t have the NN policy when the internet began and things were just fine, why do we need it now.  I was there in the early days, and I can tell you that this wasn’t a policy then because there wasn’t enough money in internet traffic. All the players were ALL small and so who was winning was always changing.

The way the industry stands today, there are two opposing giants. On one hand you have the Googles, the Facebooks, the Amazons (the content companies); on the other hand you have Verizons, Comcasts, and AT&T (the ISPs), and not many others.  It’s true that these two groups are competing and with the death of NN the content companies will likely have to pay the ISPs more money if they want their products sent to us, the consumers, faster. But let’s think about which of these two groups is most likely to face new competition.

The ISPs are in the hardware business. They have large infrastructures that have been built up over years and years. They have run last mile connections to many homes and they have peering relationships with each other that basically closes the door on new competition. They even stomp out community based efforts to stand up better internet access in places that aren’t well served by them.  They are not likely to face new competitors in their current state.  The content companies on the other hand, while they are definitely well entrenched and have their own infrastructures that have been built up over years, face constant competition from every person with an idea. ANYONE can create a new service and put it on the internet to be weighed and evaluated by the world. That is why places like Yahoo, MySpace, AOL, and many many others are now fading or gone; replaced by new companies and Verizon and AT&T are still here, the same as they were 25 years ago when things got started.

So, if the ISPs are the same ones that were here from the beginning and they didn’t abuse their power then, why should we be worried now? The money! The internet has become THE WAY we get most of our news, entertainment, and communication. With NN dead the barriers to entry will go way way up. Likely, Google will have to pay Verizon extra to get their YouTube videos to you. Bad for Google. But very few new companies will be able to raise the money needed to create a competitor to YouTube. We won’t get the new competitors that move things forward and the real losers in all of this will be us the consumers. We will have to pay more for less choice and less innovation.

A neutral net allows new competition, new ideas, and new voices to come through and win on their merits. A non-neutral internet means less competition and more control by those in power today.

Relaunching Baxleys.org

It’s been 2.5 years since the last post to our site.  The site got lost in some technical moves and I’ve only recently been able to sit down and restore things.  We’re back with a much simpler look and I’m hoping that will keep it from getting into trouble through future upgrades.  But, as I tell my website clients, the CONTENT is what should really make a site and no amount of fancy web design will make up for that.  So, with that out of the way we’ll start posting here again.  You’ll find opinions, tech tutorials, baking tips, and annual newsletters.  We hope you enjoy reading!

School Board Elections

I’ll be running for School Board in April for Unity School District and I’d love to have your vote.  I want to have a hand in setting the direction of the school my children will be attending for the next 14 years and help continue the fine tradition of Unity schools.

I’ve lived in the area most of my life, and in the Unit 7 School District for the last 12 years.  My wife and I currently have 5 kids in school and one that will start Kindergarten next year.

Continue reading “School Board Elections”

Family Slider Program

A few weeks ago, my youngest turned 13. Our first teenager. I was discussing with a group how many teenagers we’d one day have in the house at one time (6, Lord help us). It reminded me of a tool I had built several years ago. The tool allowed me to see the ages of each of my kids on a timeline and then slide the whole group along to see what their relative ages are. I dusted it off and added some extra features to make possible for anyone to load their own children. You can load in your kids and see what combinations you’re going to be dealing with as they grow up. You can also click the “Load Demo Data” button to roughly see our situation.

Baxley Family Slider

School Board

I’m headed on a new journey.  I’ll be running for School Board in April, and I need to collect 50 signatures to get on the ballot.  I want to have a hand in the direction of the school my children will be at for the next 14 years and help continue the fine tradition of Unity schools.

I’ve lived in the area most of my life, and I’ve lived west of Sadorus, in the Unit 7 School District for the last 11 years.  My wife and I currently have 5 kids in school and one that will start Kindergarten next year.

Continue reading “School Board”

The Looming Loss of Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality has been in the news off and on for the past several years, and it’s something that many people don’t understand and generally just ignore.  I’m here to say that you should definitely NOT ignore it and it could have a very big impact on the way you get the Internet

What is Net Neutrality

The European Parliament passed a law in April of 2014 that defined it this way.

“Net neutrality” means the principle according to which all internet traffic is treated equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference, independently of its sender, recipient, type, content, device, service or application. ((http://gigaom.com/2014/04/03/european-parliament-passes-strong-net-neutrality-law-along-with-major-roaming-reforms/))

Continue reading “The Looming Loss of Net Neutrality”

Serious Internet Security Vulnerability Found

There’s a nasty vulnerability out on the internet right now called Heartbleed that could be making the secured sites you go to unsecure.  Normally I would say that if you see the padlock icon in your browser you are ok and can trust all the traffic you send to get to it’s destination safely.  This security hole calls that into question, and worse it could mean that anyone who has been gathering and collecting encrypted traffic could now decrypt it.


There’s not much you can do yourself right now as a website consumer.  There is a fix for the vulnerability, but it has to be applied at the server level.  Responsible server admins will be patching this very quickly as there is an update to their software and it’s fairly easy to apply.  I would give them a day or two to patch their systems and then seriously consider changing the passwords to your important things like your bank and places that have your credit card on file.  Otherwise, someone who has squirreled away your old traffic could now decrypt it and find out your passwords.

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Sam’s Ranch Trouble – Chapter One

Samantha Cole leaned down and patted a small young calf on the ground as she walked towards Mary’s paddock.  Mary is Sam’s cow.  Sam had trained Mary to cooperate in a rodeo when Sam competed on Topone her horse.  Topone is well trained and instantly obeys Sam’s commands.  Sam continued toward Mary’s paddock with her rope halter.  When Sam whistles Mary comes trotting in a cow way up to the fence.  Sam slips the halter on and at the same time slipping an apple slice into Mary’s mouth.  Sam hears the warning bell for breakfast to tell the dudes to hurry up.  Sam starts running quickly to help Mama serve up the dudes.  Sam lives on a dude ranch where people, or on the ranch “dudes”, can help out, explore, and have fun.  When Sam reaches the house she can already tell what’s for breakfast.  Biscuits and Gravy with pork sausages on the side, orange juice or milk.  Sam washes up and waits for the dinner bell while she pulls on her kitchen gloves.  Finally, when Sam is in her position the dinner bell rings.  Dudes come flowing in full of chatter of what they plan to do that day.  Then Sam busies herself pouring gravy onto crumbled biscuits as dudes pass her.  One girl even remembered to say please and thank you.  After all the dudes had their food Sam serves herself and sits at a table in the smaller kitchen for her family.

Continue reading “Sam’s Ranch Trouble – Chapter One”

Homemade Honeywheat Bread!

So Nate keeps telling me I should start blogging about random stuff that makes my life with six beautiful children and one awesome husband easier and healthier.  We rarely eat out and since I spend most of my day in the kitchen preparing all of our meals and snacks, I’ll start there first.

My bread recipe.  I bake bread once per week, usually on a morning or afternoon when I find the the time to fit it in and when we’re running low on bread or I look at our week’s schedule and stock the freezer. The entire process usually takes around 2 hours and then cooling time.  Note: the flour can be adjusted to your family’s taste.  Even all whole wheat flour works fine in this recipe. Here’s my recipe: Continue reading “Homemade Honeywheat Bread!”