Home Network, Part 2

So I have decided how I want my data network to be set up. To start with I need ethernet connections from my living room, garage, and office to terminate in my office. In my office I will have an area set up where the ethernet terminates (like a patch board) and with adequate power outlets (a dozen?). Of course this will take some planning and effort, but I believe it will future proof my home, data wise at least.

I need to get a switch, perhaps a NAS server, patch cords, and on. I think a shelving system is an important choice. I need to make some changes in my office.

The data part, while important, is not the end of it. There is also the stereo part. I don’t know if it should be based on Bluetooth or Wifi. I even found out about Apple Air Play 2 (yet another thing to research). I have been doing constant research on this for the past week, to the neglect of some other things I should be doing (reading and writing).

Along with that my wife and I have been clearing out the needed space in the rooms for the electricians to work. It has been quite a lot of work. Exhausting! It is amazing how many things you have stored away in your life that you completely forget about.

I have had to throw out a lot of things in this process. Things I forgot I had. Things I no longer need. Things I do not now understand that I ever needed to begin with.

All of this because I am getting the electrical in my old house (built in 1939) updated. Funny how this process, which is seemingly outside of myself, causes so much self-reflection. Reflection on what is important to you, along with how much it is worth to you in monetary terms.

What I know is that music and computers are important to my wife and I. Also important is that my house not burn down due to the lack of outlets and the knob and tube wiring. I suppose that as this process unfolds (which begins tomorrow morning) I will learn even more.

Home Network

Tonight I am preoccupied with building a home network. I am having electrical work done to my house starting next week. As part of the work I am having some network cables installed.

One of the questions I have to answer is how I want these terminated. Should I have a patch panel installed? Should I just work around a switch? Where should all of these be located physically? Lots of questions to answer.

Along with these concerns I would like to make sure there is a strong wifi signal in my garage and to the furthest reaches of my yard. I also want to wire the backyard for sound, but I am unsure whether to create a separate audio system for the backyard or if I should integrate it into the data network I am having built.

Because I cannot think of anything else to write about at the moment, this is what you get. Please feel free to comment if you have advice or stories of your own about being in similar straits. Also, any complaints? I would love to hear them.

Getting Out of Bed is a Bad Idea

Most days during the week, getting out of bed seems like a bad idea. Sure, I will have to get out of bed at some point to go to the bathroom or because I am hungry, but that is a natural progression. I am talking about getting up for work in the morning. Getting out of bed to get ready to go someplace where you would rather not be.

I know there are folks who love their jobs and enjoy getting out of bed to go to work. I am not one of those folks. On a workday I have a tendency to put off getting out of bed as long as possible. There is, however, a problem with that tendency that goes by the name of Jasper. Jasper, it seems, has no problem with getting up at any time of the day or night. He is particularly good at getting up between 6:00 AM and 6:30 AM and sticking his nose on any exposed part of my flesh to let me know that it is time to let him, and Ginger, outside. On weekdays this also means breakfast for the dogs, and cats, turtle and the fishes. On weekends I sometimes get up to let the dogs out and quickly get back into bed. Sometimes I stay up. But staying up on weekends feels different than getting up on weekdays. Perhaps because I don’t have to immediately start getting ready for work. I can sit down and watch TV, or do some work in the yard, or on my computer. On weekends I have a choice. On weekdays I have a routine.

I once worked from 10:30 AM to 7:30 PM at an old job. I could wake up at 9:00 in the morning well rested even if I had been partying the night before. I had time to shower and watch an episode of divorce court while I got ready for work. I usually got to work early and had time to settle in before I started working. My lunch came after the typical lunch rush so I was free to eat wherever I wanted. Traffic was not as bad when I left for home. I ate around 8:00 PM. By 9:00 PM I was free to go out and party until one or two in the morning, go home, and still get enough sleep to easily start the cycle anew the next day.

My routine is set by the dictates of industrial age factory work. It is silly that work hours are set according to the dictates of an age long past and now obsolete. I am bound to a schedule that has me getting to work hours before I am fully awake. I have to eat quickly at crowded restaurant because the geniuses who oversee the work of the masses let everybody out to lunch at the same time. I am also fighting traffic to and from work. None of this makes any sense when you consider that I interface with nobody other than my coworkers throughout the day. My bosses say it is because they need coverage, of what I could not say. They stuck in habits that stopped making sense years ago.

IVAT 24th International Summit on Violence, Abuse & Trauma

This past Saturday (September 7, 2019) I attended the IVAT 24th International Summit on Violence, Abuse & Trauma Across the Lifespan in San Diego CA. According to the event overview, “This Summit is a unique forum for professionals across all disciplines and philosophies to gather for in-depth exchange of current information on all facets of violence, abuse and trauma prevention, intervention and research.” I attended this event because of my interest in and knowledge of conflict resolution. I thought some of the information I could gather here would be germane to my academic interests. I was correct, but not in the ways I thought beforehand.

Though the summit started on Wednesday, September 4, I attended only on Saturday. I had to work at my day job and lacking any prior experience with this event I did not want to risk my precious time-off to be disappointed. I attended three workshops.

The first workshop was the reason I decided to attend this summit to begin with. Using Film & Storytelling as a Community Engagement Tool for Prevention Efforts, presented by Meghna Bhat, was an overview of the uses of film, cinema, and Digital Story Telling (DST) within the context of community activism. Though the presentation was ostensibly about prevention efforts, the information provided seemed applicable to any community activities. I have been dabbling with video for the past year or two; this workshop gave me ideas that will help me further along on that journey.

The next workshop was a panel entitled Effects of Junk Science on Attitudes and Beliefs. The panel featured Kathleen Faller, Viola Vaughan-Eden, Charles Schudson, and Seth Goldstein. The moderator was L.C. Miccio-Fonseca. I was surprised that the discussion centered on abuse within the context of the courts; however, I suppose it makes perfect sense given the venue. There was a gravitation toward discussing parental alienation syndrome and how it has affected custody and abuse cases in the courts. There was quick discussion of front groups, e.g., the Heartland Institute. This discussion of front groups was interesting because members of the panel predicted the introduction of treatises (published works) from these ideologically driven organizations as evidence in future court cases. The lessons of this panel are to always review the methodologies behind anything you want to accept as truth/evidence and make sure you educate your audience to the realities behind the scenes of what you are presenting.

The final workshop was a twofer entitled VIOLENCE AND TRAUMA: THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND SUPPORT. The first presentation, by Christa Nettles, was Community Violence, Victimization & the Urban Community. Nettles described the conditions that create crime-ridden communities, making the point that many, if not all, of these conditions are outside the control of the residents of the community. She painted a picture of a despairing community that lacks the power to solve its problems (which is an excellent example for my own interests in structural violence and social capital).

The second presentation, Postvention After Mass Violence: Providing Trauma Informed Community Support, by Fiona Vajk & Anneka Busse was an overview of how a more privileged community (a college campus) can deal with the aftermath of a mass casualty event. Busse is a survivor of the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas (1 October 2017). She provided insights into the communities of survivors that have coalesced from the mind-numbing litany of mass murder events in the United States. Busse also shared personal anecdotes about her coping mechanisms and the support she has received since that incident.

What struck me most about the final workshop I attended was the transition from the description of a helpless community unable to provide basic necessities for its residents beside the description of a privileged community that has the resources to provide basic necessities, as well as educate and support the survivors and bystanders, and others, of traumatic events. The first presentation described an existence that is traumatic. The second described an intrusion, however profound, into an otherwise contented existence. I felt like I experienced a kind of a cognitive whiplash. I am not sure how the two were connected except as an explanation of the extremes and disparities of care offered by the two types of communities.

I enjoyed this summit. I learned about some familiar things in ways that I have not considered before. I was intrigued that some of the presenters I spoke to were unaware of the concept of structural violence, even as they dealt with it regularly. All in all it was a good experience. I think I will probably attend future summits.

A Little Thought Experiment

I have some expertise in the field of negotiation, some training and experience. Sometimes as an exercise I like to think about negotiations from a different perspective. Something akin to Einstein’s thought experiments; though perhaps not as profound. One of my favorite thought experiments is thinking about how I might teach a dog to negotiate.

Dogs possess a few weaknesses as negotiators. Dogs are seemingly not strategic thinkers. They display their emotions openly. They react to a different set of stimuli than people. Dogs are much less complicated than people.

They are not hopeless, however. Dogs are excellent observers. They read us very well. I have two dogs and on watching them interact I suspect they are good at reading each other. I cannot be entirely sure of this, but they seem to know how to get on each other’s nerve as well as any pair of siblings. A couple of things I noted as a weaknesses a paragraph ago, that they display their emotions openly and that they are less complicated than people, could also be considered negotiating strengths; that is, if they are dealing with a trustworthy counterpart. I suspect that dogs dealing with each other would generally be trustworthy.

So how do you teach a dog to negotiate? They already do it to a certain extent. My dog Jasper is always running around. He is a whirlwind. However, if he thinks there might be a snack involved he sits perfectly; telegraphing that he is a good dog and deserves a treat.

Ginger, my other dog, generally shows no interest in treats. However, if she knows Jasper got a treat she will usually show up to make sure she gets a treat too. Ginger communicates that she does not want to be left out.

Thus, I know my dogs have negotiating styles. Jasper is direct and immediate; Ginger is indirect and usually shows up well after the negotiations with Jasper have started. Jasper gets more treats because of his directness. Sometime Ginger misses out because she is late to the table.

I have watched other dogs in action. I have watched dogs play tug of war with whatever toy of the moment is at hand, until one of them gets away with the toy and a chase ensues. The winning dog will attempt to keep the prize from the other. When the other dog loses interest in the game, the winning dog will drop the prize, and they both move on. The game will pick up a little later when a new toy is discovered or the old toy is rediscovered. Thus, they are playing a zero-sum game.

The first lesson I would try to convey to a dog is the difference between distributive bargaining and integrative bargaining; that is, the difference between zero-sum and win-win negotiations. The winner take all of a session of tug of war is a fine example of distributive bargaining in the context of dog negotiation.

This would lead into the second lesson: tail control. In a distributive bargaining situation a dog’s tail will give them away. They might start wagging their tail as soon as they received an offer they liked, giving their counterparts insight into their positions. In an integrative negotiation this would just be a signal that the negotiation is on the right track. In a distributive negotiation this could lead to the current offer being rescinded and replaced with a worse offer.

The hard part is teaching a dog the difference between a distributive and integrative situation. They are pretty straightforward creatures. When I figure this part out, I will update you all.

Book of the Week, Update

I finally finished my book of the week from last week (August 31-September 6). Last week curtailed many of my regular activities during the week. As a result, it took me a bit longer to finish this book.

The book in question is Design is Storytelling by Ellen Lupton. According to her bio Ms. Lupton is a senior curator at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City. So, the first thing I learned from this book is that there is a Smithsonian Design Museum.

I learned some other things as well. The book offers numerous lessons about design. The point of it, I think, is to craft your designs in a way that tells a story to your audience. Using examples in art, architecture, writing, psychology, among others; Lupton offer ideas about how to use storytelling as a device in any imaginable endeavor.

I decided to read this book (it is a more recent acquisition) now because I am currently interested in narrative and communications; specifically, constitutive communication as a framing device communication and narrative as a tool for effective communication. Since this blog is my main vehicle for communicating to the wider world I figure it does not hurt to have an understanding of design and communication theory. It is also a decent follow up to the ideas in Presentation Zen, which I read about a month ago.

These books about design and communication will lead somewhere. The blog is part of it, but I am working on bigger, more academic projects as well. Of course, my main interests: conflict resolution, social capital, structural violence, and other stuff will figure in as well.

My next book is going to be a much larger project than can be accomplished in 1 week. I will be reading various articles from The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice. This is because I am writing a short introduction to conflict resolution and I want to make sure my bases are covered. There will be more information about that project as it evolves.