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Entered By: Mark
Entry Date: 2009-03-20 21:48:02
Subject: Friday March 20, 2009

     Well, it's been awhile. I've been up to no good and so you tend to avoid broadcasting that sort of stuff. Wednesday morning at 3:30 AM, we returned from a 12 day trip to see my nephew get hitched near Austin, Texas. Brian was the first of the next generation of Colbaths to tie the knot. Best wishes to Mr. and Mrs. Brian Colbath. They both work in a Baptist Encampment near Lake Travis. It's a beautiful place. Brian just graduated university last year and he's all set to become a real missionary with a relevant degree. In fact, he is already a missionary since he is serving the people in a spiritual way with low pay.      John and I both went to Texas and were able to visit family once again. I do not foresee any trips back for myself or John in the next couple years. The cost of travel is fairly prohibitive so it will be time for Paula and our other kiddos to go. We are not sure when that will be. Hannah has expressed her desire to go and get a summer job, but that means she'll have to wait until Summer 2010 when she will be 16. Of course, summer vacation for a home schooler could take place any time of the year once the studies of the year are complete.      John and I did a few things besides attend weddings and my mother's 70th birthday party. We were very busy acquiring things for school, our home here and some of our old things in storage. We also did a little research by attending a livestock auction for the first time. The auction was very interesting with some moments of humor. Austin has been in a drought for quite awhile. Much needed rain seems to arrive in Texas coinciding with visits by our family from Massachusetts. This coincidence has run for decades. Last week was no exception. In some parts of the state, the ranchers were reporting over four inches of rain. The auctioneer asked another rancher if "he was getting any" (rain). Of course, in a room full of cowboys the response of "I'm trying to!" brought an uproar, although it was not entirely unexpected. We hope to someday bring a sale barn to our area of Honduras, where typical acquisition of livestock requires traveling to different farms and asking if there is anything for sale. Oddly enough, most often the answer is "no". I guess that's at least one difference between America and Honduras. If an American rancher was asked if his cows were for sale, he'd probably tell you it depends on the price. Selling livestock in Honduras is even more difficult unless you want to just sell to the local meat packer, which has a monopoly.      Computer programming jobs are getting scarce, even at my discount rate. I've been contemplating a move for years concerning my tire software, which I developed with help from my brother and father. The software runs on Windows right now, but will not for long. At an increasing rate, people are attempting to install the software only to fail. The problem is that the software will not install on the new 64 bit versions of Windows. It has been working on every version of Windows since 1996, but the Microsoft development tools I used to develop the software has not been upgraded to run on 64 bit Windows. Basically, the software will be completely obsolete and useless in a few years. So, the move I've been contemplating has been to make a web version of the software that will also run on mobile phones. This is a substantial effort, but I think a single man month of programming (about three months of my time, given my other pursuits) would probably get something working. It would probably be another month to get the software to do what it does already. The good news is that it should not be obsoleted for many years and the software would run anywhere on any computer with an Internet connection, not just MS-Windows computers. The bad news is, I really need to be earning over $1500/month on the computer to keep from running out of operating funds. Since I would not see any income from this venture for several months, it is difficult to devote time to it. I am certainly not above a venture capitalist throwing $5K my way in exchange for some passive income.

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