And the good news is.... that my Widget sales are UP!

Did you happen to notice that there are no hopping gummy bears, bouncing across this web page? And that there are no loud videos playing (unless it's running in another window)? And did you notice that there are no advertisements? (I suppose, someday, the MAY be.)

I mean, it's not that I don't appreciate advertisers. Actually, I hate advertisements on web sites I visit. When I go to a web site, it's almost always to find information, and when I come across a web site with advertising, it tells me that the purpose of this web site isn't to provide information, but rather, to get you to click on the link to their web page so that they can make money through advertising.

It's not that I'm not interested in making money (actually, just making a living - I'm not out to get rich quick). Like most retirees, I can live without the extra money, but the extra really helps out.

Welcome to my website. I'm Dr. Bob Mertens, Ph.D., AKA Dr. Bob, Bob, Robert, Uncle Bob, Dad, Grampa, Great-Grampa, Dr. Mertens, Mr. Mertens, Professor Mertens, and probably a few other things. I have a wide array of interests, and I would like to share some of them with you.

There is interesting stuff along with books and stories that you can read.

I spent, maybe, two years doing youtube videos, and after those two, hard-working years, you can see the results of my efforts in my channels: basically 38 subs on one and 78 on the other. After the debacle, which many Creators are calling the, "Adpocalypse," in which many advertisers pulled out of yourube because of their advertisements appearing next to hate videos, youtube's initial response was to demonetize any channel with less than 1,000 hours of viewing time, which killed my Electrical Engineering Professor channel right away.

Apparently, that wasn't enough, so they pushed a bit harder, and demonetized any channel with fewer than 1,000 subscribers, which definitely hit both of my channels, and knocked me clean out of the biz. At this point, I decided I was just, "bad at it," so I quit.

Some people call it "failure," I call it, "quitting while you're far, far behind."

I have uploaded several of my videos to this web site, and you will see them as you browse through it, and then I realized how much work it is, just to start doing again what I've already been really bad at, and wasting a huge amount of time at it, so I stopped again. It's difficult to stop doing something you've been doing, almost mechanically, over the past two years. It's also difficult to let go of all the work and effort you've put into a project - especially one that's failed.

At this point, I'm in transistion between one life goal and another. I think I read somewhere, or saw, in a video, that you should NOT do what you love "and the money will be there," because, very often, we're crappy at what we love. Instead, some "experts" say, do what you're good at. They embelish with, develop the talents you have, and get training at that, NOT to develop the talents you lack - those are things for other people to do.

Honestly, I'm not sure who to believe. All too often, many educators and bad-advice-givers (should we call them that?) recommend that you develop your weaknesses and don't worry about your strengths. The people who say just the opposite will tell you that it's better to be a big fish in a little pond than a little fish in a big pond.

But I decided to go online and take an aptitude test. You would think that, at my age, I'm familiar with my aptitudes. Of course, as a young student, just out of the military, and on my way into college, I went to the university resource center and took TWO tests. One was an aptitude test, and the other was an interest survey. Between these two tests, and I suppose I should go back and look at them again, they gave me a range of job preferences and aptitudes that seemed to align with my interests.

But I can't help wondering if, since times have changed (and perhaps I have, too, with age), I shouldn't take some sort of test again. I don't think it would be to confirm or deny my previous occupational choices, but rather to search for answers to some questions that have persistently come up in my life.

For example, did I choose the right field to major in? I worked as an engineer, but for only seven years, after which, I was laid-off, when the company lost some major contracts and had to close down the plant. I spent several months looking for another job, in vain, and ended up losing my career. One very big mistake I made was to spend the next 25 years of my life trying to get back into that career. I can't begin to count the hundreds or thousands of hours I wasted, along with the money I spent, trying to get back to work as an engineer.

Add to that the additional years I spent in college, going back and trying to make myself "saleable" again, and attractive to potential hiring managers. These were quite a few, in which my college student loans went from a relatively small amount of debt, to, easily, more than seven times what I originally owed. And over my many under- and un-employed years, the interest has built and this student loan debt has grown to an amount that, for me, today, is virtually insurmountable. There's no way I'll ever be able to pay these off.

Even these days, I sometimes see ads for jobs that I know I can do, that look very attractive to me, and I must curb my desire to apply for them, quite simply because it's a huge waste of time. I'm sure some of you may recoil at my comments on this, but after you've applied for hundreds of jobs, and not even gotten the first rejection letter (okay, I've gotten a few), but mostly just the big empty "ignore" (no response, no feedback, just nothing), then you might be more understanding. Those of you who've been lucky in life will be more judgemental about this (the research supports me on this - it wasn't just all of your hard work - you also had some luck on your side).

At this point, I can sit back and relax, retire, wait for the IBR to run out on my student loans (I can't pay them), or I can find SOMETHING to do with my life, my talents and my abilities. I think, most hiring managers will think that, being an "old man," I'm useless, but more critically, if you don't use your latest college degree, or you're unemployed for a period more than six months, you're pretty much out of the hiring system, and you'll really need a break for someone to let you back in. Otherwise, it's game over for you.

On the other hand, I have, for a very long time - almost all my life - had the desire to be my own boss. And I can't help wondering if this wasn't one of the wrong turns I made as a very young man, still in college, and running my own business, which I abandoned after I was hired at one of those big phat corporations. The money was a hundred times what I could make being my own boss, but if I had kept it up and stayed with it, I would have become a multi-millionaire in time, and nobody would have had the power to fire me or to lay me off.

Oh.... so what happened? I went to one website and took that aptitude test, and what did they say? I would be good in "AI and robotics."

Hell, I knew that. I'm a pretty good programmer, but I had only marginal interest in it, and the same thing with robotics. To me, these both seemed "too simple," for my "vast talents." But how are these different from other engineering jobs, anyway? And at my age, there's no way I'm going "back to college" for yet another useless college degree.

But I'm curious, now, and I honestly have nothing better to do, unless I want to deliver pizzas, and I was, at one time, a machinist, so I can design, program and build just about any robot I want. From what I've seen in the world and on youtube, the stuff that's out there kind of sucks.

Out of all my years of college, I've also learned that I'm very good at learning new things - even at my age. No hiring manager will believe that, so I figure I'm pretty much on my own if I want to turn this into a business. On the other hand, if I do come up with something new and amazing, which is pretty unlikely, then I'll be the one to benefit from my own hard work.

In fact, I did start looking into some of the new programming languages, such as Python, and as I went through some of the MIT online material, I couldn't help thinking how like C and C++ this is, and how simple the language is. It makes me wonder why they bothered with it. Wasn't C good enough?

Anyway, I'm having some fun making up this web site (figuring out how to get videos to work inside web pages was a pretty fun challenge - and I did it!), and somewhere along the line, I'm also going to figure out how to let you folks make comments down below, or even participate on this web site - of course, without resorting to all of the preprogrammed autowebsitebuilding programs. I think that sort of stuff is for rank amatuers ("web developers"? right), and I wouldn't stoop to such practices. In fact, this entire web site is only one page.

It'll be interesting to see how it's done. I'm not a stranger to SQL, so it may even be a little interesting and fun.

In the meantime, let's see if I can become interested enough to build my own robot girlfriend! Okay, seriously, I just need somebody to do my dishes. I hear they can't even get one to fold clothes (the robot - not the girlfriend). Although, I haven't been able to get my girlfriends to do the dishes, either. So it looks like I'll have to build a robot.

Another Story

Description of Website Links

Home: A place where you can sit back, relax and pretend that the rest of the world doesn't exist.

Videos: Here you can find videos of some of my adventures in sailing, racoons, gate-building and more.

Nanotechnology: We are beginning explorers in this fantastic new world of the extremely small - the nanoscale.

Gammascopes: We are looking at the use of an amazing material, aluminized Mylar, to make telescope mirrors.

Gammabooks: GammaPC was originally Gamma Publishing Company, which sold books. I still sell books. I'm also putting some of my books online, here, and you can read them free (with advertisements) or download them (commercial-free) to your reading device. Thank you for your readership. Soon, I hope to make them available in paperback/hardcover. Some copies of the TE Theory in hardcover are still available. These are extremely rare books (a single printing), which at one time, sold for upwards of $3,000. I used very high-quality acid-free paper to print them, so they're in mint condition (and new - never opened).

Spray Cooling: This is a subject of considerable research and we presently hold the world record for the highest heat flux through any electron device, an IGBT, at 825 W/cm2.

Services: We provide research, specifically in technical areas.

About Us: Find out who we are - pictures included.

Contact Us: A way to reach us.