Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

There’s nothing I can’t do, just things I haven’t done yet

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

If you know me, you know I love a challenge. One of my oldest friends that I met in college, Dave — aka Utah — actually makes fun of me because anything I choose to pursue I become an expert in. I’ve seen this happen over the years ever since I was 15 years old when my older brother got his first car and I helped him install a new stereo. Within months I was a 12v expert and actually worked as an installer for various companies including Circuit City for almost 5 years.

Eventually stereos got old and my next love was automotive performance. This was far more challenging as I had to learn the ins and out of compression ratios, value overlap, and clearances. But this wasn’t enough either and I eventually became an expert in swapping engines. We’d order used Japanese market (JDM) engines from various importers and install them into our cars. The most popular was the Honda Civic because while the Civic in the US only had 125hp, the JDM engines were over 160hp — this might not sound like much, but it is when you’re talking about a 2500lb car. This actually lead me to start my own business with my good friend Shaun Torrente. We called it Upgrade Performance, but eventually had to do business as NRG (long story). My specialty was wiring because while many could buy (or fabricate) the appropriate mounts, rewiring a modern EFI system isn’t as easy. I’d create custom harnesses that would make it possible to put just about any engine in any car — as long as it was a Honda that is. I’d pride myself on making my custom harnesses look as much like an original as possible. It was challenging at first, but after you’ve done a few, it becomes mandane. A few times I even made custom ECU adapters so that people could use a better computer from a different car. This consisted of a trip to the junk yard to find donor plugs and an old ECU. You’d cut them out and solder all the pins to the correct location for the other car. So for example an Idle Air Control valve might be C4 on a 92 Civic, but on a 97 Integra Type-R it was A5. Sounds easy but there was like 100 pins and not everything had the exact same name.

The way I did this is the same way I’ve attacked every technical challenge in my life, by reading the directions. It seems odd to me that everyone doesn’t have the aptitude to pick up a book and just make things happen. This is actually how I’ve become successful in IT as well. I’ve excelled because no matter what the problem is, I can solve it. In fact I find technical support and formal training boring and in some ways stifling because usually I can figure it out or train myself faster. 

As you can imagine, when  you have as many interests as I do and such a thirst for knowledge, you want to share it. This is how I got involved at Engadget and on the various forums where I try to contribute. But this same helpful nature also has a downside. To some I can come off as a “know-it-all.” The irony is that I just want to help, but through the years I’ve found more gracious ways. I remember when I was kid, I got so sick of being called a know-it-all I actually came up with a come-back — remember those, they were great — in which i would respond “I know a little about just about everything, and I know a lot about a few things, but I’ll never know everything about anything.” Yeah I know, real cool right? But you have to admit it’s better than “I’m rubber you’re glue….”

Anyways, I’m not quite sure why I felt like sharing this today, but if you like it, you may like my other philosphical posts. If not, then you probably didn’t make it to the end anyways.

Personal accountability

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

This is a philosophical post that pretty much explains where I stand on the economic crisis. I believe that while in many scenarios more than one person is truly responsible, ultimately we are all responsible for our own actions.

So for example, a drug addict is to blame for their drug problem and not the dealer. A student is usually to blame for bad grades and not the teacher. The person who pulled the trigger is guilty of murder, not the seller of the weapon or ammo.

So understanding this about me, it should make it obvious that I blame we Americans for the mortgage crisis in our country right now. I blame myself because too, I have an ARM on my rental property and I didn’t put down 20% on my home.

I am part of the problem, and refuse to blame Wall Street — or Washington for that matter. Sure, without the banks willing to give us bad loans, it couldn’t have ever happened; but ultimately it is our crisis to bail ourselves out of and in a way the biggest mistake Wall Street made was to trust that we would all pay our loans back. Now personally I’ve never missed a payment on any of my mortgages, but I made the same mistakes that others have, it’s just that up until now, my mistakes haven’t caught up with me. The good news is that like many others, I learn from my mistakes and honestly believe that while this important lesson is going to hurt for now, in the long run it is going help us.

There’s always enough time

Friday, October 26th, 2007

We hear all to often that there isn’t enough time in the day, but is it really true? I don’t know about anyone else, but I always seem to find the time to do what I really want to do. In fact if I tell you I don’t have time, it usually probably means I don’t want to find the time or that I can think of 10 other things I need to do, that I’d rather do. I think everyone is like this, we all find time to do the things we want. Sure there isn’t enough time in the day to do everything, but as long as there is enough time to do what you really want to do, then does it really matter?

With understanding, comes acceptance

Friday, October 19th, 2007

This is one of the core philosophies of life, and a big reason why I am so dedicated to learning so many different topics.  There are many things in life that I don’t have any control over and that I’m asked to blindly accept. I’ve always found it easier to accept things if I understand them, and so I go on quests for knowledge. But many times there are things that go unanswered and this is something I find very difficult to accept. Why would a parent say “because I said so”, maybe it’s because they don’t know or don’t care enough to explain why.

Regardless, it is what it is, and I just hope everyone learns: that with understanding, comes acceptance — for me at least.