About

I started my first blog, on a hobby topic, back in 1995. Considering the HTML-based web was all shiny and new in 1994, this was an early start on blogging! When I shut down that blog in the early 2000s, it was one of the oldest continuously published blogs in the world, at the time. (I shut it down partly because I was losing some interest in it, and partly because the ISP at the time made a major error that dropped the site offline for almost a month – during which I lost half of the readership.)

A blog is a bit of a personal diary. For some, it is a way of selling something – their product or service, or establishing a personal brand.

For me it is a personal diary of items I found interesting and perhaps worth sharing. As I explore topics, I jot down notes – which often turn into blog posts. I figure what I am learning may be of help to someone else. By posting it here, people can find it online – and I can go back and find information on something I’ve learned about in the past. Consequently, this blog is more personal notes about topics than anything else.

One of my other blogs, on 3D and photography, is a place for me to keep notes on, and possibly promote an interest in 3D photography and video.

Another is called SocialPanic.org. In 2014 I noticed I was seeing lots of propaganda on social media. I then knew little about propaganda but began reading books, papers and more about the subject of propaganda. I started the blog as a place to keep notes. It was private for 18 months! I eventually decided there was sufficient material that it might be of interest to others, so I made it public.

Finally, there is learn2c.org/appinventor.pevest.com, a blog with tutorials on programming using MIT App Inventor. The site started out as the pevest.com URL, and then I moved it to WordPress hosting at learn2c.org due to some security issues I was then dealing with. I am now looking at migrating the learn2c.org site back, but doing so in a way that is transparent and so that the old URL continues to work.

About Me

I am recently retired from the computer industry. I have a BS in computer science, an MS in software engineering, and an MBA. I have additional graduate course work in medical informatics and computer security. In addition to working in industry (Silicon Valley start up, later Microsoft, Agilent Technologies, Vivato wireless and other firms), I also did consulting work for small businesses, a native American tribal business development group, and taught dozens of university courses as an adjunct instructor. I am the author of a dozen books, mostly on computer topics.

Fun Hobby Things

I have interests in aviation, RC model aircraft, ham radio, and amateur astronomy. I have a home built 14-foot hovercraft and a home built 10″ reflector telescope.

Not Fun Things

Things I have done that were not fun include half a dozen traumatic brain injuries ranging from

  • skull fracture/moderate TBI
  • fall from a tree/concussion and mild TBI and subsequent speech problems (1.5 years of speech therapy)
  • two bike crashes that broke my helmet and other bones, concussion, mild TBI. Led to sleep disorders, anxiety, visual migraines, ultimately 5 or 6 different kinds of headaches – about 18 effects in all.
  • fall on ice, concussion, mild TBI
  • head impact, no knockout but left me with slow brain, slow speech and heart arrhythmia for weeks. Led to tinnitus.
  • Due to incompetent health care, I was not diagnosed with these traumatic brain injuries until age 58, when I finally received care. I struggled unnecessarily through life with headaches, visual migraines, brain disorders, sleep problems and anxiety for decades.
  • Missed almost 2 years of K-12 education due to illness and injuries (skull fracture) and stupidity. I missed one third of my 9th grade year due to having a systemic Staph A infection, culminating simultaneously with influenza and pneumonia. I had seen the family doctor many times, but he missed the Staph A infection all year. I missed my 12th grade year due to foolishly encouraged to leave high school one year early and go direct to college. Dumbest thing I ever did in my life.
  • I earned my MBA at age 41 and my MS in software engineering at age 54. FYI most graduate degrees earned past age 30-35 will not yield a positive financial return on investment, and those earned over age 40 – while personally beneficial, will not provide any job benefits. I earned these degrees because at every job I held – every one of them- I was denied job opportunities and even denied input into projects because, I was told, I lacked a graduate degree.
  • I had my first job starting at age 10 and paid for 100% of my own undergraduate and graduate tuition, fees, books, etc. from my own savings and earnings.

Brain Injuries

Brain injuries are a serious health problem across the country and around the world. Most go un-diagnosed and untreated and may have lifelong effects.

When I fractured my skull, I was seen by a family doctor. I was not even x-rayed until 5 days after the bike crash and not informed of the fracture until day 6. A long linear fracture from left temple to behind my left ear – about 5″ long. I then proceeded to lie in bed, throwing up for 2 weeks. I was out of school for more than a month, and then half time in school for many months. During my time back at school, a kid threw a football that hit me in my head, right over the fracture. I was out of school again for another week mostly for protection. I have no idea why I was not referred to a hospital or treated properly.

Today I would have been seen in an ER, received imaging of my head, would likely have been hospitalized, likely treated for nausea, and then have had follow up with various therapists (speech, physical, occupational, possibly mental health). Today, a skull fracture is recognized by default with an assumption that there is internal brain bleeding. But alas, I had no treatment until almost 50 years later.

Incredibly, no one ever mentioned the letters “TBI” to me and I spent my entire life dealing with TBI-related gremlins (about 18 of them). In the spring of 2018, I was searching online for something unrelated to TBI when I stumbled on to an ebook about traumatic brain injuries. I started reading and there, on every paragraph of many pages was a description of what I had been dealing with. I was stunned. This was followed weeks later by a chance meeting of a friend of a friend who made a joke about brain injuries (it’s okay, it was funny). I joked that he was probably referring to me as I’d had a few. He asked me to briefly describe them, which I did. His response was “I cannot believe you are standing in front of me on two feet and speaking coherently“. Unknown to me, the late Dr. Eric Ming had a PhD in neuropsychology. That brief conversation changed my life and was likely the most important conversation I have ever had.

I then made an appointment to discuss this with my doctor. In all my life, I had never been asked about my head injuries and had never had a discussion about them with a health care professional. I was diagnosed with post-TBIs and referred to a neuropsychologist (a specialist in the cognitive effects of brain injuries). I was also put on medication for a while too.

All things considered, I view myself as one of the luckiest people on earth. I now know people who had far less injuries than I yet far worse outcomes. I also know people who had devastating head injuries with very difficult and partial recoveries, and some who have made incredible recoveries.

Under the advice of my doctors, I now avoid activities that might lead to further head injuries (like bicycling). The effects of TBI may be cumulative – that means a mild injury now could have much worse effects than would normally occur from a mild injury.