Archive for December, 2007

My Best Writing of 2007

Photo by adactioThe year is over. If you’re into the Gregorian calendar, that is. Else, it’s only Dhu-Hijja 21, 1438 (if you’re Muslim), Teveth 22, 5768 (if you’re Hebrew), or Dey 10, 1386 (if you’re Iranian). If you happen to be a Unix machine rather than a person, you can kindly refer to this day as a time() value of 1199059200.

But for those of us who like the western calendar, I suppose it’s somewhat of a milestone since our year changes tomorrow. It’s been 365 days since that happened, so it’s supposed to mean something, according to the people that tell us what things are important in our lives. I believe most of those people work for Hallmark.

George Eads and Trish Suhr - Separated at Birth?

Photos by Trish Suhr & RetnaEverytime I saw Trish Suhr on Style’s Clean House television show, I kept thinking she reminded me of someone. Someone I knew, someone on television, someone… Finally, it hit me a few days ago. Her mannerisms, her vocal inflections, her accent, and her looks are all very similar to actor George Eads.

Of course, I’m all too familiar with George Eads because I think I’ve seen nearly every episode of CSI in which he plays character Nick Stokes. According to their bios, I’m supposedly dead wrong. But maybe they have a common ancestor because the similarities are uncanny. If you know Trish or George, have them check out their genealogies together (they could use Geni which is a great way to share family histories).

Google Analytics Script does not Validate in XHTML 1.0 Strict

Photo by .dan.Call me a standards fanatic, but I try (!) to keep a few of my websites pure and clean. Clean from bad code, that is. Being a web developer, it seems not only important for outward purposes (just in case anybody be spying on me code!), but I also learn a lot by holding myself to a higher standard.

Images in WordPress Posts

Photo by ZanastardustFor some time, I’ve been meaning to put a contextual image with each post. I’ve been too busy. Then, I stumbled upon Zen Habits today, because of Leo Babauta’s announcement that he is leaving the Web Worker Daily blog to start an eBook. Fair enough, but I didn’t know he had his own blog anyway, so I happily subscribed.

Then, I noticed his wonderful images from Flickr on each post and I thought, yes, yes… I’d like to do that. Better than creating custom icons for posts as some bloggers do, since I don’t really have time for that. So, I do a little search and find a wonderful guide to using Flickr on blog posts by Skelliewag, to which I also subscribed. (See Part 2 here also).

Vote for my Manifesto

Photo by EsseI have a proposal for a ChangeThis manifesto entitled Create an Unassailable Online Identity. Each month ChangeThis accepts a modest number of proposals for what they call manifestos. If voted high enough, they give the manifesto a green light and publish it at their site. Some of the best author’s on the internet have published ChangeThis manifestos, and I’ve learned a lot through them. Thus, I thought it only appropriate to share something in return.

Cnet predicts demise of Circuit City before Best Buy

Earlier this month, I wrote why I think Best Buy will soon follow CompUSA into the retail deadpool. Not even two weeks later, Cnet has written a piece entitled “Is Circuit City in Danger?” The piece makes the excellent argument that, if anyone is going to take the plunge into bankruptcy next, it will be Circuit City over Best Buy.

I don’t retract my prediction, but I fully agree with author Don Reisinger when he says, “Simply put, why shop at Circuit City if you can go to the Best Buy down the street?”.

Interviewing Myself as an Entrepreneur

I don’t really think of myself as an entrepreneur. I can barely spell the word. But if I had a million dollars, I’d be a billionaire overnight. So, when I saw a little miniature interview that Shane and Peter were promoting, I thought about taking it. Then I realized there was a possible prize, so what did I have to lose?

I’ve talked about Shane and Peter, web developers, a few times here and here. All the questions here, except the last one, are from Shane and Peter. They also want each participant to come up with their own question as part of the contest. So that last doozy is mine. Don’t blame them for that one.

Why the need for part-time Web developers?

I keep seeing ads here and there for “part-time web developers”. I have to confess my ignorance, but I don’t understand these advertisements. Is there a website to develop or not? If so, isn’t it to the client’s benefit that the website be done as quickly as possible?

If a website were a building construction project, what would you think about everyone being asked to work part-time? In the end, the project will still cost the same (since everyone is paid hourly), but it will just take a lot longer now.

Prediction: Blockbuster Bites the Dust

I’m not a member of NetFlix. Nor Amazon, Walmart, or any other online video rental service. In fact, I’m technically still a Blockbuster member. But only the in-store membership. And yet, I’m convinced that 2008 could be the last year Blockbuster survives.

Already, Blockbuster is toying with kiosk ideas, trying to figure out its way, and some analysts point to Netflix’s success as directly creating some of Blockbuster’s misery.

But I don’t think so. Here’s why Blockbuster will leave the country littered with vacant video stores.

Peter Patera Strikes Back - at Spam!

A fellow blogger, Peter Patera, took a little time (okay, a lot of time) spam-baiting a Sri Lanka spammer into carrying on the most insane email conversation I’ve ever seen. You should read his account if you can afford the time. As I commented there, “If we all join hands and stand our ground, the enemy will flee back to Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Budapest, and other forbidden territories.”

Peter’s emails are tongue-in-cheek and clearly meant to reveal his true intent. But the spammer carries on the conversation, sending Peter all sorts of files and attachments, and in the end, doing five terrible website mockups - for free. All to try and win Peter’s business at a dirt-cheap rate of $14/hour.

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs by 2012 - or Else!

If you haven’t heard, President Bush signed a new energy bill into law. FiveCentNickel has a pretty good summary here (although a bit critical).

The biggest change is that traditional incandescent bulbs will be outlawed, starting with 100 watt bulbs by 2010.

If you recall, I announced that I would switch my entire home to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL’s) in February of 2007. As of now, I’ve had all CFL’s for about 10 months. I have not replaced a single bulb since then. I used to replace at least one incandescent bulb per month.

Is Ron Paul a complete fool?

I hate even bringing up an election that is so far off, but is Ron Paul completely ignorant of politics and public impression?

Ron Paul has formally announced that he will keep, yes keep, a $500 donation from an openly-acknowledged white supremacist. Ironically, the white supremacist’s name is Don Black. Somewhere, deep in the heart of the Black Power movement, there must be a guy named Don White. Can we just get these two idiots together and put them in a mud wrestling pit to sort out their problems?

Who Do You Want to Work For?

I get a lot of calls from recruiters, potential employers, and those needing contract work done. Needless to say, I turn a lot of it down. A lot of time I get turned down. It’s a funny game we in the freelance world.

We put out our resume on Monster, Careerbuilder, Hotjobs, Dice, and other resume “career” websites. And then we wait for the inevitable telephone calls. From anyone and everyone who might stumble across it based on some keyword search. Often, the person I’m talking to on the phone hasn’t spent more than 30 seconds looking at my qualifications, background, or interests before picking up the phone. They want to know basically one thing before continuing: Will I work for $X to do Y work at location Z for company Q? I’m supposed to say, of course, “yes” and then the real qualifying begins.

The E-Book Experiment

I hinted yesterday’s post about Alan’s 30-Day Blogging Challenge that I was going to unveil another blog that I have been preparing to start. Except that it’s not a blog. Except that it is a blog, too.

In fact, it’s a book. Or more accurately, it will be a book. Most likely an e-book. But I’ll be writing it one chapter at a time. And not necessarily in order. In fact, most likely not in order at all.

New Year Resolution: Learn How to Subscribe to RSS Feeds

RSS Feed IconIn the blogging world, we all subscribe and read feeds regularly. So, if that isn’t you, and you don’t “get it” or think it is some technical trick, I encourage you to pay attention for a minute.

The Old Way

If you don’t use a feedreader, you are missing out. You are forced to do one of two things to stay on top of things: subscribe to things via email, or remember to visit certain web pages with regularity. Both have intrinsic problems.

Email interrupts your day. Email should be reserved for business-like items, friendly quick exchanges, and the like. It should not be for news and updates. Not anymore.