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Fred Koschara

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Happy 18th, PhotoByFred.com !!

Oct. 26, 2022, under art, bootstrap finance, goals, history, progress reports

As midnight passed and the date changed to October 26, 2004, I was taking pictures in my apartment in East Boston because my artistic eye was appreciating what I saw.  I thought that if I had a website, I could share some of the beauty I see around me.  After discovering PhotoByFred.com was available, I registered the domain and tossed together an initial presentation of the site.  The first picture I posted was one I’d taken at about 12:05 AM:

PhotoByFred.com's first picture, October 26, 2004

PhotoByFred.com’s first picture, October 26, 2004

At that time, I figured I’d post pictures for a while, and see where it went.  I had no clue I’d still be posting a picture a day eighteen years later, but here we are:  PhotoByFred.com turned 18 today, it’s old enough to vote (in some jurisdictions, I’m sure…) and there are now 6575 different instances of “Your Daily Dose of Art” to be seen on the site.

It originally started as an art project, a chance to share some of the pictures I’d taken that I thought were pretty nice.  Over time, I have come up with a few ideas about how to make some money from the effort:

  • LimitedEditionPhoto.com offers limited edition prints of the photographs on PhotoByFred.com for sale, either for private collection and display, or as an investment opportunity (but some work needs to be done before it’s operational)
  • PbFpaper™ is an application to I was writing to update a subscriber’s Windows desktop with the picture of the day
  • PuzzleByFred.com will offer some of the pictures from PhotoByFred.com as [1000 piece] jigsaw puzzles
  • PosterByFred.com will offer some of the pictures from PhotoByFred.com as [motivational] posters
  • PhotoByFred – The Movie is a project to create a “flip book” movie showing all of the PhotoByFred.com, in succession. With an average display of 1/3 second per image, the movie would be more than thirty-six minutes long. (Even showing frames at the NTSC standard 30 frames per second rate would yield a film over three and a half minutes long!)

So far, none of those projects have generated any income:  I’m still posting to Photo By Fred every day as a labor of love, so that I can share the beauty I see in the world around me.  If anybody would like to invest in helping me turn any (or all!) of the “side jobs” into profitable efforts, my Current Projects page has more information.  I’d be happy to pay a referral fee if you can introduce me to someone who does make an investment into the work.

Speaking of referral fees, I’m actively looking for visionary customers interested in reserving a condo in the colonies at L5 I’m working to build, with occupancy circa 2050.  The L5 Condos site has more information, and I will pay a 10% commission for a referral that directly leads to a completed sale.  Get out your address books, and let’s pass some $1000s around 😉

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I stumbled again, but I’m still up and running !!

Oct. 22, 2022, under bootstrap finance, bugfix, disturbing, goals, philosophy, puzzling

Last Friday, October 14, I discovered the Buy Bonds buttons on the Invest page on Space Power Now were no longer working:  Between PayPal (continuously) changing their payment system API, moving the site to a different server than it was originally built on, and a few other details, bit rot had set in, and yet another one of my robots was broken.  With everything else going on, it took until Monday evening, October 17, before I got the buttons working once more in the PayPal sandbox.  It was the next morning, October 18, before they were live once more, because I forgot to switch the operation from the sandbox to the live system when I went out to have a few moments’ relief from the stress of working night and day.   It’s things like this that lead me to make comments such as “things break, everything takes longer than it does” as I did in my Deja Vu post on the 11th.

As if that wasn’t enough, I then lost another whole day, 24 hours straddling Tuesday and Wednesday, when I was trying to get the Donate buttons on Use My Middle Name updated and something happened to the server.  I don’t know what I did to trigger it, but after I posted some changes to the site, it suddenly disappeared, and one of the other sites started showing up instead.  I thought perhaps I had done something to the configuration when I was trying to get HTTPS set up.  I went through so many iterations of trying to go back to previous configurations, tweaking the server’s files, re-establishing the certificates, etc., that I completely lost track of how many steps I had taken.  Literally nothing I did made the slightest bit of difference, I couldn’t get Use My Middle Name to be displayed when I went to its URL, in either Firefox or Chrome.  Then I discovered I could go to the site on my phone – it had a few bugs that needed to be worked out, but at least it was the right site!  Unfortunately, a phone may be useful for browsing the Web, but it’s not a useful tool for developing and debugging it, so I had to go back to my laptop – which was still not doing the right thing.  I cleared the DNS cache, restarted the browsers, rebooted the machine – nothing made a difference.  I fell over from exhaustion, and when I came back from getting some rest, the problem was still there, and I had run out of things to try.  I repeated some of the steps I’d tried before I went to sleep, and as before, nothing made a difference.

Then, all of a sudden, almost exactly 24 hours later, it suddenly started working again.  I didn’t consciously make any modifications I could associate with the change, “it” just decided to start doing the right thing once more.  The fact that I have no clue what caused the failure, or what made the failure go away, is at least as much of a concern to me as the 24 hours I lost fighting with the problem:  I can’t explain what happened, or why, so I don’t know if another similar problem is going to come along at some (random) time in the future and take another bite out of me.

Once I was able to see the site on my laptop, it was relatively easy to get the cosmetic issues resolved that I had seen on my phone.  I haven’t gotten the buttons working properly yet because I had to go work on another, more urgent fire.  I guess I’ll have to make that a priority, once I figure out how to keep the electricity on, my phone active, my Internet connection running and get the domain name registration renewed for the sites that have disappeared over the past couple of days.

Right now, things are far from working smoothly for me.  I’m seriously struggling to survive, and it makes me question my decision to not get another J.O.B.[i] in my effort to break the cycle of insanity that has defined my adult life (also mentioned in my Deja Vu post).  However, as my Focus on Your Goals / Obstacles Will Disappear T-shirt advises, I’m doing my best to keep my eyes on the prize, and not let all of the stumbling blocks trip me up.  (You can read more of the T-Shirt Philosophy behind that shirt on FredLines T-shirts – which is yet another one of the Current Projects I’m hoping to find an investor for.)

If you get a cross-site scripting warning when trying to visit the FredLines T-shirts links, allow the page load to proceed:  The issue is a consequence of the ancient and decrepit PerlShop code still running the site – I haven’t had time yet to finish recoding it in PHP with a (MySQL) database behind it – another thing on the list…

I tell people “dancing is the art of not falling down.”  So far, the artist has been successful.  I just have to focus on making it so that continues to happen!

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So what is space t/e/d, anyway?

Oct. 13, 2022, under goals, philosophy, space t/e/d

Space Travel/Exploration/Development – a shorthand way of expressing the way we move into a new frontier:

First we travel there, go somewhere we’ve never been before, and come back (usually with interesting stories about the trip).  Once we’ve found that we can travel somewhere, and get back successfully, we’re bound to want to explore this new destination, see what’s there, what it has to offer, and if there are any opportunities worth looking into.  After doing enough exploring so that we know what we’re working with, we set out to develop the frontier and its resources, expanding into the new sphere of influence as the development continues.

For most of history, human civilizations have had frontiers to grow into, so that travel, exploration and development was a feasible way of approaching the rest of the world.  While there are still a few places that can be considered frontiers left on the Earth (the ocean floor, much of the Arctic and Antarctic regions, and some forbidding mountainous areas), they are actually hostile environments that really don’t offer a lot for those who might otherwise conquer them.  In effect, there are no usable frontiers left anywhere on the planet, a condition that has existed since the late eighteenth century.

Space is, admittedly, an extremely hostile environment – but we have developed ways to deal with that to the point where travel can almost be considered routine, and exploration is already under way.  There are a lot more resources out there than there are down here, all that needs to be done is find a way to capitalize on those resources.  When that happens, underwriting the development effort will become an obvious choice, and humanity will have a new frontier to expand into.  That expansion will drive a vast new array of innovations as new solutions are created for the unique challenges that can only be found in places we’ve never been before.

A frontier is necessary for the health of the human psyche:  It gives us room and resources to deal with an ever expanding population, and to make everyone more comfortable.  It also provides a relief valve for the discontent that’s always present in society, an opportunity for misfits to go carve out their own niche where no one will bother them, or be bothered by the different ways they want to do things.

Right now if someone or a group decides they don’t like the way things are being done, they can leave their country – but the only choice is to go to another country, and try to live with a new set of laws and lifestyle:  Everywhere on Earth that’s a habitable place to be is in the jurisdiction of one nation or another (or under dispute of which nation is in control):  There is nowhere “beyond national boundaries” left where someone can carve out a place and say “this is my home, leave me alone” and have that desire respected.  Expanding into space, and developing the planets, moons and rocks beyond will give us back the frontier our species needs to survive:  We need space to grow, to live, and to thrive.

That’s why Space t/e/d is so important…

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Condos for sale at L5

Oct. 13, 2022, under bootstrap finance, call to action, goals, space t/e/d

In case you missed it in my Deja vu post on the 11th (buried three quarters of the way down the page), I’ve decided that, absent any other proposals for working on one of my other current projects, I should spend my time working on selling reservations for condos in the colonies I’m proposing to build at L5.

For most of my working life, I’ve had a dream of being able to fund what I now estimate to be a $50 trillion dollar project because when we get to the bottom line in 30 years, there’s going to be a huge profit for everyone who invested into the effort.  The problem has always been – how do I get the first million? so that I can actually spend my time working on said project, and attract other people to work on it with me? i.e., how can I start hiring enough people to have a reasonable chance of getting it done?

The idea is actually quite simple:  I’m asking people to invest into reserving a condo in the colonies, secured by a deposit of $10,000 (for the first 100 units).  The final purchase price is obviously going to be much more than that, but if I can sell one reservation a week for two years, that’s the first million dollars that has been my stumbling block all this time.  I’m building L5Condo.com as the vehicle for making those sales, actively constructing the site while I look for visionary investing customers who can see the value of financial participation in the project at this early stage.

Part of my problem is that I don’t personally know many people who would be interested in signing up to join this project at that level.  Consequently, as mentioned in my Deja vu post, I’m willing to pay a 10% commission – $1,000 – to anyone who introduces me to a customer who does reserve a condo and puts down the $10,000 deposit I’m asking.  Even if, like me, you don’t necessarily know anybody who fits the bill, tell your friends they have an opportunity to earn a commission:  The more people spreading the word, the sooner I’ll be able to start hiring people – maybe even you – to get the whole system built.

Let’s work on this together – let’s all make money – lots of it!

Money is a tool, just as a hammer is, or a screwdriver. Like any other tool, money can be used to do good or to do evil: That choice is made by the person using the tool, not the tool itself. Don’t condemn money as evil, any more than you would another tool.

I want to make money, enough to support myself and let me build the dreams I have of a better future. In order to do that, I expect the people working with and for me will likewise make enough to support themselves, and build their dreams.

Change is always going to happen.  Even if you do nothing to move the world forward, change is still going to happen.  Please join me in working to make the world a better place, because if we don’t, it’s still going to change – and if it’s not getting better, …

 

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Deja vu

Oct. 11, 2022, under bootstrap finance, call to action, goals, philosophy

I’ve been through this cycle more times than I want to count, starting when I left college after the first semester of my sophomore year:  I run out of money, so I go get a job, building other people’s dreams while mine whither on the vine for lack of attention.  Working for some time, I get to where I’m frustrated or the project gets to a milestone and the job goes away.  With some resources set aside, I start working feverishly on one of my projects, trying to get an income that supports me.  Instead things break, everything takes longer than it does, so I run out of money, go get another job, and repeat the cycle.

Being hypercreative, I’m inventing things, coming up with new projects faster than I could possibly finish them – sometimes two, three, or even more in a single day.  I’m sure there are drugs that could curtail that “problem” – but would I want to be the person they turned me into?  I strongly suspect not.  Consequently, going to get a job to “solve” my money problems is going to lead to my being frustrated, even if the work is something that enjoy.  This is simply because I spend all of my productivity working on someone else’s dreams while mine get left behind when I think up another one in the mean time.  Throw in daily 45 minute to two hour “stand up” meetings that require everyone in the company’s attendance, or work that is mind-numbingly different from what I originally thought I was being hired for, and many jobs, especially “FTE” (full time employee) ones, end up causing me to have attendance issues.  Any job I take is going to end up being a “temporary” one because either the contract will run out, or my interest in participating will.

One of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing, over and again, expecting different results.  From my perspective, going to get another J.O.B. (just over broke) simply because I’ve used up my immediate resources fits the definition of insanity:  I’d be starting the same cycle again, expecting it to lead to having the time and resources to work on my projects long enough to get (one of) them done.  After all these years, after all these repeats of the same cycle, I know it just ain’t gonna happen!

Clearly what I need to do is find a way to be able to work on at least one of my own projects long enough to get it to where it’s supporting me.  My Current Projects page describes many of things I’d like to be working on.  Any one of them could lead me to where I’ve got people working for me, to get more and more of them done, ultimately leading to building space colonies, solving the pending oil shortage crisis and opening doors that can only be found on a frontier, and saving humanity.

I’m looking for one or more investors who not only can see the value in what I’m trying to achieve, but also expect to make money on the deal, too:  Talk is cheap, and those who give me valid advice can expect the same in return.  When someone puts up cash to make things work, though, I expect to give them a handsome reward in return for their investment.  Terms are negotiable, depending on the project, the size of the investment, and other factors as appropriate.

I also recognize the need to pay commissions when someone brings me a lead that results in a sale.  For example, if someone introduces me to an investing customer who wants to reserve a condo in the colonies that we will be building at L5, and that customer puts down a $10,000 deposit toward the property, I will pay the referrer a 10% commission – $1,000 – for the introduction.

Money is a tool, just as a hammer is, or a screwdriver.  Like any other tool, money can be used to do good or to do evil:  That choice is made by the person using the tool, not the tool itself.  Don’t condemn money as evil, any more than you would another tool.

I want to make money, enough to support myself and let me build the dreams I have of a better future.  In order to do that, I expect the people working with and for me will likewise make enough to support themselves, and build their dreams.

Let’s work on this together – let’s all make money – lots of it!

 

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The #RaceToSpace project now has its own site

Dec. 26, 2017, under bootstrap finance, call to action, goals, progress reports

I’ve finally gotten the initial version of the new site for the Race to Space project up and running. There’s a teaser on the Home page, an opportunity to pre-order copies of the book at discounted prices, and the “Corporate” section has a copy of the investor goodies I first published on the L5 Development Group Web site.

Check out the new site, and if you’re sufficiently intrigued, pre-order a copy of the book.

Race To Space

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#BlowUpTheTunnel renamed to #RaceToSpace

Dec. 03, 2017, under bootstrap finance, call to action, goals, progress reports

Someone told me they thought the name of my #BlowUpTheTunnel campaign was promoting domestic terrorism – really?!?!?!?  That idea was so totally out of my perspective when I built the campaign I couldn’t believe it.

Now the project has grown in scope, and a new name is in order:  It’s now called #RaceToSpace. Instead of just resulting in a book describing how to get space colonies and solar power satellites built, there’s a full-length “predictive fiction” action novel thrown into the mix – and maybe a major motion picture, if things go right.

The campaign to underwrite the project is on GoFundMe, donations are now being accepted…

Race To Space

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Reaching for my dreams

Feb. 28, 2013, under call to action, goals, opinions, philosophy, space t/e/d

When I was five years old, I decided I wanted to be an astronaut. That’s still a core part of my objectives, but in the intervening years additional layers and other things have gotten added. Now when people ask me what I want to do with my life, I say “I want to build a privately funded space exploration and development company, move off-planet as a free and sovereign individual, and make [a lot of] money in the process.” (In this context, the meaning of sovereign being used is “independent of outside authority” rather than “supreme in rank, power or authority” – i.e., the way citizens of the United States of America are supposed to be “sovereign citizens.”)

My ambition is to build space colonies at L5, and manufacture solar power satellites for installation in geostationary orbit.  Accomplishing those objectives will be a bigger undertaking than anything that has ever been done before.  In spite of the daunting size of the project, it’s something that has to be done before we run out of oil or civilization will implode, and humanity itself may not survive.  Once the system is built, however, we can look forward to a reliable and effectively eternal supply of energy that’s cheaper than what we have now, with practically no pollution, and the whole investment could be repaid in 30 years at an extremely reasonable rate of ten cents per kilowatt/hour.

Humanity needs a frontier where misfits and malcontents can go to live their different lives without disturbing or being disturbed by the mainstream community.  There is no longer anywhere on Earth that can truly be called a frontier.  Life on a frontier also spurs people into a creative resourcefulness that yields innovation in often totally unexpected ways.  The Earth’s population is over seven billion people, most of whom live in or near poverty.  If everyone had the affluent lifestyle of the comfortably well-to-do of the industrialized societies, there wouldn’t be enough resources to go around.  The only way to fix that problem is to get more resources – which can only be done from beyond Earth’s boundaries – in space.  We have to go to space to survive!

I’m an extremely creative person – which is both a boon and a bane.  On one hand, it allows me to figure out a solution for nearly every problem that’s thrown at me – but not necessarily where to find the time or resources needed to implement the solution.  On the other hand, quite often in the process of solving one problem, I end up working on another one – often because the new problem is part of the solution for the first one.  “They” say that before you do anything, you have to do something else.  What “they” don’t tell you is it’s a recursive problem.  Some years ago I guesstimated that I had seventeen lifetimes worth of work that I need to get back to – stuff that got pushed to the back burner by something else having to be done first.  Sometimes it seems like I need to turn my creativity off to be able to get anything done.  That thought, however, falls smack in the middle of “be careful what you wish for” – it’s not something I would really want to have happen.  What has happened is that I’ve ended up with countless projects and ideas that I’m going to get to “one of these days” – when I have nothing to do, and a staff to do it with!

I don’t come from a wealthy background:  My parents made enough of their fortune to be comfortable in their retirement years, in spite of having five somewhat problematic children.  Without their pensions feeding the kitty, though, I don’t expect what they leave behind will last long.  I’ve “joked” for most of my life that my inheritance has fourteen zeros and a minus sign – but it looks like I might have underestimated the number of zeros.  I wish it were a joke, but the US national debt is so large that it’s approaching the point where it could never be paid back.  I dread the day when that happens – especially since most of the rest of the world is in the same boat, or even worse off.

The net result of all of this is I’m trying to figure out how to get from where I am, with effectively nothing, to being able to borrow trillions of dollars so that I can solve some of the biggest problems that have ever faced humanity.  This is probably the most important puzzle that’s ever been presented to my creativity, and I’m embarrassed to say that, even after all this time, I still haven’t figured it out.

I would like to be spending my time on finishing the redesign of the L5 Development Group Web site, getting the L5 National Bank set up, building public awareness through Space Power Now, starting real development of the LunaRobots project, establishing SpaceColonists.com as a vibrant community of like-minded people who actually want to move off-planet with me – so many things to do, and I know I can’t do them all myself.  Financial reality, however, is preventing me from making significant progress on any of those goals:  I’m so busy trying to figure out how to cover this month’s bills that I can’t even begin to think about where to raise the first million dollars, let alone where to find the trillions that will be needed to bring this dream to fruition.

Now I find myself once again looking for projects I can use to fill my coffers, identifiable and (fairly) well defined tasks where I can come in, bring my diverse range of experience to bear to solve a problem, then move on once the job is done and I’ve been paid for my work.  I’m not looking for a “safe” career of spending a long time building an empire in someone else’s organization, doing their work:  I have enough (too many?) projects and prospects of my own that I want and need to be working on: My career is in my company.  In order to continue getting paying projects, though, I know that when I do a job, I have to do it well:  A reputation for shoddy workmanship is one I wouldn’t want to try to work past.

Instead of me working for an employer, I need to have other people working for me – hundreds of thousands of them, millions even.  If anybody has any solid, actionable suggestions about how I can get from where I am to where I need to be, I want to hear them – and sooner is much better than later.  Filling time covering nothing more than the current bills isn’t going to allow me to progress to the next level, and beyond.  I really do want to fix the world, and before we run out of time.  Your feedback, comments and suggestions will be sincerely appreciated.

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