June 2003 Archives

Today’s meeting with the potential client went well. I can’t tell you anything about the project, but I can tell you that it is a good idea, and this person has the passion and drive to make it happen. She’s had a dream for many years, a dream of helping people, and she is determined to make it a reality.

This is the work I want to do — helping good people do good things. No politics, no power plays, just work I can feel good about at the end of the day.

We’re going to put a quote together, then hope for the best. Keep your fingers crossed…

The lack of updates here probably had you thinking we had just up and closed shop, huh? Nothing could be farther from the truth. We’ve just been busy, and it seems like everytime I think I have two minutes to write, I get interrupted about one minute into it. Here, in no particular order, are the updates:

  • I’ve been making some minor changes here at News Goat. The menu consisting of one non-working button has been replaced by a search option. I’ve imported all the lengthy stories into MT, but I haven’t published them yet. I don’t really want them all to show up on the front page as if I just wrote them, so I’m going to try to put them in at the approximate date they were originally written. Once that’s done, I’ll make the old /story links work again. I’m also going to add category- and author-based archives to the side menu. And, once I have everything exactly the way I want it, I’ll likely change everything.
  • I’m looking at this project as the possible backend for the new Crafty Goat. It has one remarkable feature that puts it ahead of all other e-commerce systems I’ve used: it is designed to be modified. Changing the look and how it works is incredibly easy. And, now that I have a fully working backend system, maybe I’ll get off my own lazy backend and get it done. :-)
  • We have a variety of leads we are following up on, at least one of which would be a huge project. We meet with one of our leads tomorrow. In preparation, we have been designing some templates that, even if we don’t use them for this client, most likely will come in handy at some point.
  • We will be presenting to the OKCPCUG next month at their general meeting. Angela & I plan to demonstrate how easy it is to publish a personal web site. We will cover a variety of blogging tools, as well as Mozilla Composer and HTML-Kit. The presentation is on July 24 and is open to the public. We do not know the location yet, but when we do it will be published here and here.
  • Be watching Clemency Ministries for new tour dates and new pictures.
  • We got a new dog! Her name is Kelly, she’s a beautiful black lab mix, and she occassionally coos like a turtledove. I kid you not. I’ll post pictures soon.

And, before I forget: I’m working my way through The Poynter Institute’s tutorial on the use of color. It’s an excellent lesson for those of us who are developers first, designers second.

Though the Feist ad ended up being one of the “90 day” projects that didn’t work out, we did set up a similar ad in the SWBYP today. We ended up with a better deal on the ad, which is great for a phone book which I still consider the standard. It was still a big expense though, especially considering that about the only calls we’ve gotten through our regular listing in the phone book are calls asking if we’re hiring. (Well, that, and the random telemarketing calls… like the one doing research on singles in the workplace, or the one asking for the head of our Imaging Department (let’s see, is that me?), or the one where the caller knows nothing about us but wants to know if we’re willing to sell our business.) Perhaps having a larger ad will catch the attention of actual customers. We’ll definitely keep an eye on the response before we sign up for next year…

New Potter Books Stolen in Late-Night Heist

The mass hysteria surrounding the latest Harry Potter book fascinates me. I’ve never read any of the books — I’ve watched the movies, which are great, but I’ve never had any interest in reading the books.

I have to admit, I’ve been following the hype: from the extra security hired to guard the warehouses to the record-breaking pre-order sales. Now, someone has stolen a truckload of the books just a week before it is released. Wild.

Good for Harry Potter, and good for kids. They will look back on these books the way so many people look back on the Lord of the Rings books and the Star Wars movies. The same way I look back at the Foundation books. A bit of childhood that lingers with you forever.

Cam just announced his latest project: WatchBlog, a multi-editor blog ala BlogCritics. This one focuses on the 2004 presidential election, with a separate blog for each of the three major political affiliations.

It looks interesting, and it could be a good source of information for the upcoming election. I only hope they will setup a RSS feed soon. Or, more appropriately, three feeds — one for each affiliation. I also hope he posts statistics some time about which sections get the most hits.

Update: Cam has now added RSS feeds for all the blogs. Thanks, Cam. I have added them all to my news reader.

Via Mark via Simon: Web Development Bookmarklets. The “Edit CSS” bookmarklet is something you have to see to believe.

Update: Bookmarklets are broken in Firebird 0.6, which is disappointing, since that’s what I use at work. Both bugs have been fixed, but they have not made it into a milestone release yet. Use Mozilla 1.3 instead. Also, any stylesheets you include through an @import statement are not automatically pulled into the “Edit CSS” screen. My mistake, they are. Regardless, these are this is a minor complaints about useful tools.

Update update: “Edit CSS” does not work as a bookmarklet in Firebird 0.6, but it will work as a link on the page. So, I used the handy-dandy button maker and added a link to the front page. If you have a Mozilla-based browser, you can click that image to play with the CSS of this page.

I’m catching up on my reading of web design sites — and, by catching up, I mostly mean reading for the first time:

One of the good things about being blocked at work from any news sites other than just headlines is it makes the articles funnier. The following is from CNN:

Several skulls unearthed in Ethiopia, pocked with mysterious cuts, represent the oldest known evidence of modern humans, according to a new study in Nature.

I dunno… Despite this evidence, I’m still skeptical about the existence of modern humans. I certainly don’t work with any.

We have mostly recovered from our latest web hosting nightmare. I have a few glitches yet to work out on OKMensa, but other than that things seem fine. Our sites are taking up permanent residence at our new host. I sympathize with our old host, Dot 5 Hosting — everything that could possibly go wrong, did. But, it is still going on, and they are becoming less and less responsive to my requests to fix what remains broken so that I can verify we have recovered everything.

A web host that lasts at least a year, is that too much to ask?

I have retroactively posted the last two entries of our 90 days. Rather anti-climactic, eh? I prefer to believe the server just could not handle the exponential growth of our business. Please allow me my delusions.

In other news, Ad Goat launched this weekend to much fanfare and little sleep. Thanks to Perl Studio for providing the Perl/PHP solution that powers PayPal Instant Payment Notification on Ad Goat. When paying for an ad, a user can pay via PayPal and the software will instantly update the ad as approved. It is an example of a useful web service. When a user creates an ad, they see a link to PayPal. If they pay via that link, PayPal will post to a URL on our site the details of the transaction. The script on our side then posts that information back to PayPal, which will then respond to the script, telling it if the transaction was verified. If it was verified, our script updates the ad, marking it as approved. The user now has an ad, and we have our payment, all without any human intervention.