Mar 222012
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LINK: ‘Job seekers getting asked for Facebook passwords’ (
LINK: ‘Not Just No, Hell No!’ (
LINK: +facebook +employers +password +candidate (

I am SHOCKED at how many individuals cannot grasp the HUGE difference between allowing access to one’s profile CORRECTLY (for instance, by ‘friending’ them on Facebook), and alternately, giving another person (potential employer, in-law, roommate, significant other, etc.) ACCESS to MASQUERADE AS YOU by logging in with your credentials.

Though I haven’t yet checked (I will), I’m pretty sure this goes against the terms of service laid out by most social networks — but even if it isn’t, this horribly dark request can be easily illuminated by matching it in a different context. For instance:

  • I might be OK with an employer knowing who my family members are — but no one can convince me to provide them access to my children unattended.
  • I would likely be fine with them having my home address; but it would be idiotic for me to give them a duplicate key and let them ransack my house while I’m away.
  • It may be true that knowing who my friends are could be valuable in ascertaining what kind of person I am; but letting someone log into my Facebook account and ask my friend questions while pretending to be me is out of the question!

When an employer asks questions like this, say you’ll be reporting them — THEN REPORT THEM.

Jan 212011
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I believe I just found out why my job hunt is taking so long. Potential employers think I am fudging my educational credentials — and though they are meager regardless (an Associates in Computer Information Systems), the misunderstanding throws doubt on the whole of my resume.

The only reason I discovered the issue is that when applying to (finally) work toward a Bachelor’s degree, my transcript was discarded because, in the words of the CSA patiently leading me through the process, my old school, ‘Ambassador University’, was listed as a ‘diploma mill.

My eyeballs almost exploded.

Now, anyone who attended those two-and-a-half years with me will tell you that I was not the greatest student, that I didn’t have my personal act together, and that those two claims to infamy were likely responsible for each other in a yin-yang sort of way. But I did manage to escape with a degree, and with a GPA that wasn’t the worst among my cronies. And I was eventually able to parlay that brief collegiate experience into a career history that I am very proud of — with the help of some very good role models in my industry.


Fast-forward 20 years, and there is a new ‘institution’ that is clouding up the Google searches, should anyone want to investigate my alma mater.

The web addresses (registered in 1999), (2005) and (2008) point to ‘Ambassador University Corporation — which by all accounts (including their own slimy web presence) is indeed a ‘diploma mill’.

For the record, I did not purchase my diploma from ‘Ambassador University Corporation’, somewhere in the Middle East.

I attended ‘Ambassador University’ in Big Sandy, Texas!

Ambassador College, later renamed Ambassador University (, had been operated by the Worldwide Church of God ( ), now Grace Communion International ( ), between 1947 and 1997.

After working under state-only certifications for many years, Ambassador University was accredited in 1994 by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools ( and ).

Unfortunately, the school closed its doors just several years later, due to financial problems rooted in a doctrinal shift among WCG’s teachings. (originally , Google archive at , PDF of article at Ambassador_University_to_close_in_May_(press_release).pdf

Ambassador University Library Building at campus in Big Sandy, TXA detailed account of this very-real but now-missing educational institution can be found by anyone curious enough at

I also learned that the CHEA database ( ) does not list Ambassador as having been accredited, or even that it ever existed (though I was unable to locate in this or any other database where a listing might show *formerly* accredited institutions).

Next week, I’ll try to explain all of this to the Registrar at — and to several potential employers I have been shopping.

It’s even harder to explain the justice of this to my kids, who would simply like to trust that their Daddy can bring home enough money to pay for the Mac-N-Cheese, and renew the Netflix subscription.


Related Reading:
Bogus Institutions and Accrediting Bodies’ by Peggy Bell Hendrickson


Aug 282010
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After many fruitful years with a not for profit educational association, am now pursuing opportunities for growth and technical training in remote access, remote meeting, and VOIP (preferably Cisco).

Seated in the Indianapolis area, but would welcome telecommuting situations as well. Comfortable with on-call (24/7) requirements and some travel.

WordPress, FileMaker Pro, Adobe Creative Suites and ‘the cloud’ are favorite environments; big fan of open source deployments and low-footprint workflows where high functionality / low risk & cost are sought for distributed and volunteer efforts.

Jul 062010
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Today was my last day, at what had been my ‘day job’ for the last nine years. Aside from the emotional shock of Change itself, I am starting to feel good about the options ahead of me. The shop is left in good hands, and I’m off to find a different place to leave little silver bullets behind and damsels in distress to rescue.

I didn’t even whine when it was time to unplug the laptop for the last time; but I did get a bit choked up handing over the Blackberry — which has been within arm’s reach (except when showering — we didn’t opt for the ‘deluxe’ model) day and night for many years. It was the last tech I touched every night before bed. I woke up to its alarm applet. I shamelessly set it to ‘vibrate’ when everyone else was turning their phones completely off during church (what if God sent me a text?). I found comfort in the fact that I could play ‘field medic’ for any crisis that could be resolved with a quick trip to Wikipedia or Google, and even learned to post quick web edits on it’s tiny screen. Inbound emails were responded to within minutes, and eventually I became quietly snobbish toward people who only checked their email ‘once or twice a day’.

It took about 45 minutes for the withdrawal symptoms to set in — I keep feeling my hip buzz and reach to find nothing there. At the kids’ swim practice this evening, I had to scrounge for a scrap of paper in my wallet to take notes (… with a PEN) for the brain-storming and list-making I’d become used to typing all through the day.

Now well into the evening, my breathing has normalized and I’m thinking about all the projects I will take on around the house and around the city — I’ve dutifully transcribed my chicken-scratch from that crumpled receipt to my Google Docs account (where it belongs), and my wife is verbally inserting honey-do’s wherever appropriate.

My resume is nearly polished, and my shingle ready to re-hang. With a deep breath, I am looking forward to finding new opportunities and challenges that will make me a better professional geek than I was yesterday. The enemy of hi-tech people is getting so comfortable with your current tools that you lose the flexibility to grow new and stronger skills.

But ‘comfortable’ is nice, when it’s the well-worn leather of a Blackberry holster.

(click above image to download 1024×768 wallpaper)

Dec 082009
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More mirth from the mailbag:


Dear Ms. Architect:

Please design and build me a house. I am not quite sure of what I need, so you should use your discretion. My house should have somewhere between two and forty-five bedrooms. Just make sure the plans are such that the bedrooms can be easily added or deleted. When you bring the blueprints to me, I will make the final decision of what I want. Also, bring me the cost breakdown for each configuration so that I can arbitrarily pick one.

Keep in mind that the house I ultimately choose must cost less than the one I am currently living in. Make sure, however, that you correct all the deficiencies that exist in my current house (the floor of my kitchen vibrates when I walk across it, and the walls don’t have nearly enough insulation in them).

As you design, also keep in mind that I want to keep yearly maintenance costs as low as possible. This should mean the incorporation of extra-cost features like aluminum, vinyl, or composite siding. (If you choose not to specify aluminum, be prepared to explain your decision in detail.)

Please take care that modern design practices and the latest materials are used in construction of the house, as I want it to be a showplace for the most up-to-date ideas and methods. Be alerted, however, that kitchen should be designed to accommodate, among other things, my 1952 Gibson refrigerator.

To insure that you are building the correct house for our entire family, make certain that you contact each of our children, and also our in-laws. My mother-in-law will have very strong feelings about how the house should be designed, since she visits us at least once a year.

Make sure that you weigh all of these options carefully and come to the right decision. I, however, retain the right to overrule any choices that you make.

Please don’t bother me with small details right now. Your job is to develop the overall plans for the house: Get the big picture. At this time, for example, it is not appropriate to be choosing the color of the carpet. However, keep in mind that my wife likes blue.

Also, do not worry at this time about acquiring the resources to build the house itself. Your first priority is to develop detailed plans and specifications. Once I approve these plans, however, I would expect the house to be completed within 48 hours.

While you are designing this house specifically for me, keep in mind that sooner or later I will have to sell it to someone else. It therefore should have appeal to a wide variety of potential buyers. Please make sure before you finalize the plans that there is a consensus of the population in my area that they like the features this house has. I advise you to run up and look at my neighbor’s house that he constructed last year. We like it a great deal. It has many features that we would also like in our new home, particularly the 75-foot swimming pool. With careful engineering, I believe that you can design this into our new house without impacting the final cost.

Please prepare a complete set of blueprints. It is not necessary at this time to do the real design, since they will be used only for construction bids. Be advised, however, that you will be held accountable for any increase of construction costs as a result of later design changes.

You must be thrilled to be working on as an interesting project as this! To be able to use the latest techniques and materials and to be given such freedom in your designs is something that can’t happen very often.

Contact me as soon as possible with your complete ideas and plans.

PS: My wife has just told me that she disagrees with many of the instructions I’ve given you in this letter. As architect, it is your responsibility to resolve these differences. I have tried in the past and have been unable to accomplish this. If you can’t handle this responsibility, I will have to find another architect.

Sep 242009
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Wow, I have to say, this advertisement (found on a YouTube page) took me completely off-guard. And though I’m sure (knowing human nature) that it will get abused by people who are ‘playing the field’ when they aren’t even supposed to be ‘on the market’ (read: already married) — I have to say that if you’re single, this would have been the place that I would have liked to be listed, before settling down.

Because, despite the ‘modern’ expectations of floating on credit, leveraging against the generations both before and aft, and generally living on borrowed time — my hope as a young man was to be ‘Established’ (by my own definition) before allowing myself the luxury of settling down and becoming responsible for a wife and family.

What was my criteria? Well, when I was in high school and college, I wanted to pass these milestones before tying the knot:

  • Have a solid job.
  • Have a reliable car.
  • Have no outstanding debts.
  • Have a place to live (that wasn’t my mother’s house)
  • Have a career-plan.
  • Have a college degree.
  • Be, by my own measure, an ‘adult’.

Well, my own behavior never did match my ideals — and when I finally ‘grew up’ to the point where I was forcing myself to avoid dating at all until I’d notched some of the above off the list, God (and my eventual wife-to-be) stepped in and informed me that they weren’t going to wait on my priorities.

But, if I’d had my ‘druthers, this would have been exactly the vendor that I’d hoped to have a profile on as a young man:

In the end, I can thank both of them (God, and the woman who promised to love, honor, and balance our checkbook) for giving me more happiness, if not financial independence, than I could ever have dreamed of 20 years ago.

Jul 312009
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We’re sure that government-provided healthcare subsidized by tax dollars and controlled by the same people who brought us the Postal Service, the DMV, PBS, and NPR will not undercut the pricing of legitimate healthcare providers, driving them out of business.

But if it does kill the industry, here is how you can know whether your employer has run out of options and ends up sticking its employees on the government dole…

(10) Your annual breast exam is done at Hooters.

(9) Directions to your doctor’s office include “Take a left when you enter the trailer park.”

(8) The tongue depressors taste faintly of Fudgesicles.

(7) The only proctologist in the plan is “Gus” from Roto-Rooter.

(6) The only item listed under Preventative Care Coverage is “an apple a day.”

(5) Your primary care physician is wearing the pants you gave to Goodwill last month.

(4) “The patient is responsible for 200% of out-of-network charges,” is not a typographical error.

(3) The only expense covered 100% is…. “Embalming.”

(2) Your Prozac comes in different colors with little M’s on them.


(1) You ask for Viagra, and they give you a Popsicle stick and duct tape!!!!!

May 212009
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From Moonshine to Mexican marijuana: Family gets busted (

The investigation showed how an 83-year-old grandfather adapted to the times, morphing from old school bootlegging to dealing Mexican dope.

Their story has all the intrigue of a classic Southern novel — three generations of a family business on the wrong side of the law, complete with an old fashioned family feud.

The drugs, mostly marijuana, were trucked from Mexico through California and Arizona and then distributed across five counties in Georgia and one in Tennessee, authorities say. They were hidden in just about anything — furniture, roofs of big-rigs and tire wells. Once the shipments arrived, the dope was put in 50-caliber ammunition cans and buried in the woods, where buyers would pick up the stash and leave behind thousands in cash, authorities say.

At the heart of the operation was 46-year-old Michael Leon Smith, who authorities say became one of the richest men in Chattooga County, population 25,000, as he laundered his drug money by buying up dozens of pieces of property. One tract of land sits on Old Justice Road, an ironic name considering the law finally caught up with him.

Smith’s 83-year-old father, Paul Leon Faulkner, was also busted. Eight others, including Faulkner’s grandson (Smith’s nephew), pleaded guilty to an array of charges related to the drug ring. The drugs mostly involved marijuana, but methamphetamine and cocaine were also part of the smuggling operation, authorities say.

“Michael’s a wonderful family man, a Christian — which means a lot to him, a very religious man. And I point out that in the Bible, God gave us every seed-bearing plant, and I think Michael looked at it that way. And, unfortunately, our government since 1937 has not seen it as a God-given right.” …

Dec 272008
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From the mailbag:

FROM: Pat Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: Everyone
RE: Christmas Party
DATE: December 1

I’m happy to inform you that the company Christmas Party will take place on December 23, starting at noon in the banquet room at Luigi’s Open Pit Barbecue.

No-host bar, but plenty of eggnog! We’ll have a small band playing traditional carols… feel free to sing along. And don’t be surprised if our CEO shows up dressed as Santa Claus!
FROM: Pat Lewis, Human Resources Director
DATE: December 2
RE: Christmas Party

In no way was yesterday’s memo intended to exclude our Jewish employees. We recognize that Chanukah is an important holiday which often coincides with Christmas, though unfortunately not this year. However, from now on we’re calling it our “Holiday Party.” The same policy applies to employees who are celebrating Kwanzaa at this time.
FROM: Pat Lewis, Human Resources Director
DATE: December 3
RE: Holiday Party

Regarding the note I received from a member of Alcoholics Anonymous requesting a non-drinking table … you didn’t sign your name. I’m happy to accommodate this request, but if I put a sign on a table that reads, “AA Only”; you wouldn’t be anonymous anymore. We’re not trying to exclude anyone, honest! How am I supposed to handle this? Somebody?
FROM: Pat Lewis, Human Resources Director
DATE: December 7
RE: Holiday Party

What a diverse company we are! I had no idea that the party occurs during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which forbids eating and drinking during daylight hours. There goes the party! Seriously, we can appreciate how a luncheon this time of year does not accommodate our Muslim employees’ beliefs. Perhaps Luigi’s can hold off on serving your meal until the end of the party — the days are so short this time of year or else package everything for take-home in little foil swans. Will that work?

Meanwhile, I’ve arranged for members of Overeaters Anonymous to sit farthest from the dessert buffet and pregnant women will get the table closest to the restrooms. Did I miss anything?
FROM: Pat Lewis, Human Resources Director
DATE: December 8
RE: Holiday Party

So December 22 marks the Winter Solstice… what do you expect me to do, a tap-dance on your heads? Fire regulations at Luigi’s prohibit the burning of sage by our “earth-based Goddess-worshipping” employees, but we’ll try to accommodate your drumming circle during the band’s breaks. Okay???
FROM: Pat Lewis, Human Resources Director
DATE: December 9
RE: Holiday Party

People, people, nothing sinister was intended by having our CEO dress up like Santa Claus! Even if the anagram of “Santa” does happen to be “Satan,” there is no evil connotation to our own “little man in a red suit.” It’s a tradition, folks, like sugar shock at Halloween or family feuds over the Thanksgiving turkey or broken hearts on Valentine’s Day. Could we lighten up for a minute?
FROM: Pat Lewis, Human Resources Director
DATE: December 10
RE: Holiday Party

Vegetarians!?!?!? I’ve had it with you people!!! We’re going to keep this party at Luigi’s Open Pit Barbecue whether you like it or not, so you can sit quietly at the table furthest from the “grill of death,” as you so quaintly put it, and you’ll get your salad bar, including hydroponic tomatoes. But you know, they have feelings, too. Tomatoes scream when you slice them. I’ve heard them scream, I’m hearing them scream right now!
FROM: Teri Bishops, Acting Human Resources Director
DATE: December 14
RE: Pat Lewis and Holiday Party

I’m sure I speak for all of us in wishing Pat Lewis a speedy recovery from her stress-related illness and I’ll continue to forward your cards to her at the sanitarium. In the meantime, management has decided to cancel our Holiday Party and give everyone the afternoon of the 23rd off with full pay.

Jan 302008
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I caught a nice article by Dave Buda, WI2Q on the web site (that’s for ‘ham’, or ‘amatuer radio’ for you young kids) that brought back a few good memories… “59 Years Later, I found my Elmer”.

What’s an ‘Elmer’? From Wikipedia:

“Elmer, the person who teaches and nurtures the neophyte ham radio operator. A mentor for Amateur Radio Operators. Almost all hams have had at least one Elmer in their Amateur Radio life. Many have had the privilege of being an Elmer to a new ham. The term ‘Elmer’ — meaning someone who provides personal guidance and assistance to would-be hams — first appeared in QST in a March 1971 ‘How’s DX’ column by Rod Newkirk, W9BRD (now also VA3ZBB). Newkirk called them “the unsung fathers of Amateur Radio.”

Well, I never got deeply involved in ham radio; though it still seems like a good idea (you know, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, terrorists and Democrats are everywhere). But what I did get involved with was a fascination with the new communication technology of our generation: good software and the internet.

And the person I credit with piquing my interest from being a ‘user’ to a ‘fan’ was Yolanda Malone, my boss at the first decent job I had after college. She taught me how to use FileMaker Pro, and pointed out how certain office politics did or did not serve the business of doing business.

Though I had already been exposed to Macs (still my favorite ride), graphics software, and found myself more comfortable than most adapting to the environment provided in most business software, I only saw them as individual tools for specific tasks until she showed me (using some pretty terrific software, which helped) how to think first about processes and ideas — and how to make them happen with a little good thinking and engineering on the screen.

This began my love affair with Really Great Software, and my very vocal loathing of Microsoft’s Evil Hegemony. Apple, Google, Lotus, LemkeSoft, Adobe, and many other software companies — and quite a few open source projects — have benefited from my very active participation in the beta process thanks to the foaming-at-the-mouth interest she fostered in me for good software that supports real productivity.

Yolanda Malone was my Elmer.

May 232007
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All you folks on the west coast, whining because your multi-million-dollar mansions keep sliding down the mud into the ocean (or getting burned by forest fires that reoccur twice a year on three sides of your 4 acres) can stop bitching about the war and whether we should even be there. If we just fought it as if we were actually ALLOWED TO and sent in people who are used to getting the job done right the first time — and stopped letting the suits in the skyscrapers make decisions they have no business sticking their well-trimmed noses into, you wouldn’t have anything to complain about.

For instance, here’s a letter home from one such soldier:


Dear Ma and Pa,

I am well. Hope you are. Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the Marine Corps beats working for old man Minch by a mile. Tell them to join up quick before all of the places are filled. I was restless at first because you got to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m. but I am getting so I like to sleep late. Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot, ! and shine some things. No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay. Practically nothing. Men got to shave but it is not so bad, there’s warm water.

Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc., but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, ham, steak, fried eggplant, pie and other regular food, but tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit by the two cityboys that live on coffee. Their food plus yours holds you til noon when you get fed again. It’s no wonder these city boys can’t walk much.

We go on ‘route marches,’ which the platoon sergeant says are long walks to harden us. If he thinks so, it’s not my place to tell him different. A ‘route march’ is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city guys get sore feet and we all ride back in trucks. The country is nice but awful flat. The sergeant is like a school teacher. He nags a lot. The Captain is like the school board. Majors and colonels just ride around and frown. They don’t bother you none.

This next will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep getting medals for shooting. I don’t know why. The bulls-eye is near as big as a chipmunk head and don’t move, and it ain’t shooting at you like the Higgett boys at home. All you got to do is lie there all comfortable and hit it. You don’t even load your own cartridges. They come in boxes.

Then we have what they call hand-to-hand combat training. You get to wrestle with them city boys. I have to be real careful though, they break real easy. It ain’t like fighting with that ole bull at home. I’m about the best they got in this except for that Tug Jordan from over in Silver Lake. I only beat him once. He joined up the same time as me, but I’m only 5’6″ and 130 pounds and he’s 6’8″ and near 300 pounds dry.

Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join before other fellers get onto this setup and come stampeding in.

Your loving daughter, Carol”

Aug 142005
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For some, the military life — and the threat of losing it the quick way — are a bad fit. And that’s putting it gently.

Truthfully, I cannot imagine what it takes to put yourself on the line for your country — because I haven’t done it. But I know for those who do, there should be at least a glimmer of understanding that perhaps not everyone is up to the task.

For those not suited or able, I wish they could all be weeded out before going on active duty. But apparently, either our recruiters are SO overzealous that they make a better sales presentation than necessary; or, maybe some of these recruits are dim enough to really believe that the armed forces are really just a scholarship program.

Recently, Harper’s did an article on those soldiers who went all the way in, and then wanted all the way out. The military doesn’t feel too friendly to these guys. Go figure. The article is actually a pretty good read, if not a little bit bent toward the unhappy soldiers themselves. But that isn’t why this feature made news of its own.

On the cover of that issue, a handful of new recruits were shown under the ‘AWOL’ headline; and not only are their faces clearly recognizable, but they are only recently ‘into the system’ — meaning they are on active duty now and may have some explaining to do for those who recognize their friends, relatives, and coworkers (past and future) on that cover.

Since the magazine doesn’t seem interested in printing a correction, named here are a few of those same faces that deserve our honor — for not only sticking to their incredible responsibilities, but for doing so when there is no doubt that each of them will see wartime situations during their tours.

Lance Cpl. Kyle Bridge

Lance Cpl. Britian Kinder

Philip Hennosy (rank unpublished)

The upside of all of this is that there will, in the end, be many thousand times the number of photos showing what is amazing, brave, selfless, and heroic in those who are serving. Some magazines understand that it’s not the one-sided political agenda, or the cheap marketing tactics that will survive the years.

Because I don’t have the right to speak with credibility on what it takes to be the soldier that we need ‘standing on the wall’, I offer the words of one who has:

“As a 18 year old, did I really know what I had signed up for? No, not really but I did know that I HAD signed. I had put my name, my honor and promise down. My parents had taught me that by doing that, I was commited and that I had to keep my promise, my commitment.

I never even considered running away, because my parents taught me to keep my promises. Besides, I never would have left my new friends, my buds, the guys who needed me and loved me almost as much as I needed them and loved them.

Papa Ray
West Texas