Will you fix my computer / solve some other problem?
- Are you paying me for support services?
- Did I personally help you set up whatever's having problems?
- Are you using a program or service that I currently maintain or administer?
- Did you check a search engine for your problem, then give it at least a half hour's effort on your own?
- Did you read the manual or documentation for whatever's having problems (if it exists)?
- If the problem is interpersonal, have you tried having an honest conversation about it?
- Is the problem nerd sniping material?
- Have I explicitly told you to come to me if you have this type of problem?
If the answer to all of these questions is "no", then please make at least one of them a "yes" before asking me to help. I care about people, but there's only so much I can do without burning myself out (and then I can't help anyone). Don't sell yourself short- odds are that you can solve the problem on your own. At the very least, you should put it into a search engine and see what comes up. That's the first thing I do with any tough issue, and the answer is usually in the first few results. You might be surprised by how much you can do on your own with a little research!
Here's a handful of sites I like for troubleshooting my own problems.
Can I pay you to research something / solve my problem?
If you really need me to answer a tough question, give you tech support, or help you solve a problem, then I'm willing to buckle down and do the work for $10 per 30 minutes of effort (and most things should only take 30-90 minutes to do, so this is cheaper than it sounds). Want research? You'll get a nicely-formatted writeup with a long list of resources, summaries of each resource's contents, and even a synopsis of all the information found. I'll document my time carefully so you can be sure you're getting your money's worth. If you'd like, I can even publish a PDF of the results on this site. Want some tutoring or IT help? I'll do whatever you need for the full duration of the time I'm paid. Contact me with your question and we'll hash out the details. First hour is paid in advance.
I value my time and effort. If you don't want to put in the work yourself, then at least pay me if you're going to offload it in my direction. I don't mind doing the work if I'm being contracted.
Do you take music commissions?
I do! You can find information about commissions here.
Any pronouns? Which should I pick?
If you're having a hard time choosing, then I'll tell you the same thing I tell people offline: use whichever set seems the most wrong for me. Have fun with it.
In 2016, I needed a new username. The one randomly assigned to me as a kid by the Burger King virtual world (yes, really) wasn't cutting it anymore, so it was time for a change.
The easy way out was using the nearest pattern as a placeholder while I tried to think of something better. That happened to be a blanket with cartoon owls on it, so I started going by Owls online. The name stuck. Eventually, I dropped the S and my online name has been Owl ever since.
What do you find important?
- Growth: I want to be able to work through my problems and become a better version of myself in the process. If I'm taking a step backwards, then it's with the goal of taking two steps forwards.
- Respect: People deserve to be treated decently even if their opinions are ridiculous. Being wrong doesn't justify abuse.
- Acceptance: Not everything can be escaped or fixed, and trying to avoid discomfort 24/7 is exhausting and counterproductive. Change what you can, then accept what you can't change.
- Forgiveness: Specifically, well-placed forgiveness for honest mistakes and imperfections. Acknowledge that something caused harm, figure out how to avoid doing it again, and move forwards.
- Creativity: Sometimes, the best way to solve a problem is to destroy the boxes you've trapped yourself in.
But aren't you [label]?
Labels are tools, not definitions.
What's the secret to world peace?
The world would be much happier if everyone had a universal basic income, free medical care, free access to education, equal human rights, and treated each other with respect, but I guess that handing out cat memes will have to bridge that gap for now.
Are you kiki or bouba?
Bold of you to assume I ascribe to the kiki-bouba binary.
Have you ever broken a bone?
Not that I know of! That said, I might have cracked something in my nose at one point. I was playing monkey-in-the-middle back in middle school. As usual, someone threw the ball, I bolted after it, and my face crashed into another kid's noggin hard enough to make him cry. My nose bled for a full hour. There wasn't any bruising, just a lot of pain, but now I can crack the bridge of my nose like a joint every few minutes. It's a fun party trick and occasionally lessens headaches.
Arbitrary computer opinions?
Programming language of choice?
Python at the moment. I use a fair bit of BASH too, but it's not nearly as nice to write.
Vim or Emacs?
Both are nice, but I use Vim because my pinkies don't like chorded commands. Doom Emacs exists, but I might as well just use Vim at that point if I'm not extending anything else. I'll admit I'd like to look into Emacs a bit more, though.
Linux or BSD.
Firefox (with Arkenfox and uBlock Origin). Lynx is also lovely.
Fira Code Medium for monospace, Atkinson Hyperlegible for everything else.
VSCodium (de-Microsofted VSCode).
Favorite keyboard switches?
Cherry blues. Browns are nice as well. There was another brand's white switches that I liked a lot, but I don't remember the brand name.
iPhone or Android?
They both suck.
How do you feel about geese?
They're funky little dinosaur men that want to kill you. I love them.
Favorite prime number?
Three. It's odd, simple, and pleasingly shaped. More importantly, when I was a kid, I read a book about three sisters who thought all good things come in threes. It made me love the number.
Five is also very nice because of all the numbers it's a factor of. I love a good pattern.
What's the worst joke you've made?
There was a dance unit in middle school where we had to do partnered swing dancing (fun!). Unfortunately, most of the guys didn't want to touch their partners' hands, let alone lead them. I'd recently started reading vampire novels and cracked a joke along that line to try to calm my guy down.
"Come on, I don't bite... usually."
Dead silence. Poor middle school me was totally oblivious as to why the guy was suddenly flustered. In retrospect, maybe my parents' attempts to shelter me caused more social problems than they solved.
What font is in your site's header?