October 2003 Archives

Some links that have been piling up:

I am proud to announce a new Smart Goat client: The Chocolate Lizard, which features a large selection of decorating items for boys, has hired us to build an interactive virtual showroom. It will allow visitors to see how different combinations of patterns will look in a bedroom. It’s an exciting project — we will make an announcement when it is done.

We’ve got lots of exciting stuff going on. The Bike Stop project is almost complete. We have a couple of projects we are currently bidding on, including a huge potential client we have a meeting with tomorrow.

Good thing I don’t have a real job.

Dell Delves Into Digital Music — It’s disappointing to find out Dell is just repackaging the MusicMatch service. The more real competition there is, the better. I think the article gets something wrong: They say users will be able to download in MP3 or WMA format. Nobody lets you download MP3; MusicMatch, so far, has only offered WMA.

I’ve been using iTunes since it was released for Windows. I love it. It’s the best music organizer I have ever used. I’ve even bought a few things in the music store. It’s easy to use, and really great for getting that one new song on your favorite band’s latest greatest hits album. I don’t see myself using any of the other online services: I have an iPod, so the AAC format is fine, and WMA is not. Honestly, I would not download WMA files even if I had a portable music player that supported them.

iTunes is still missing a few features, like the ability to customize file naming when you rip a CD. But, like I said, it’s the best there is currently, and I can’t wait to see how Apple improves upon it.

World Domination for Small Web Businesses — A good article with compelling arguments for focusing your web company on a niche market.

It’s tempting, and something we may do in the future, but not yet. You need a solid portfolio, with multiple items in your industry of choice, to specialize. Also, there are few industries in the Oklahoma City area large enough to be sustainable.

I’ve been visiting SitePoint regularly for the past few weeks. Great articles on every aspect of being a web designer, and their forums are chock full of good information as well. Definitely one to add to your bookmarks.

The last month and a half has been busy. It’s a good thing we don’t have real jobs. Since the layoffs were announced, almost all development work has stopped. A couple of people have been working on a new, web-based version of our software. One person has been continuing to work on our current applications. Those of us who were laid off have spent our time looking for jobs.

It’s a strange atmosphere. Those fired are just putting in their time until it’s over. Nobody pretends to care anymore. There’s not a sense of hostility between The Haves and Have Nots, but there is tension. It seems likes The Haves feel a little guilty, and a little worried about their own jobs. Rumors of unpaid bills do not help that any. For the Have Nots, there is some resentment, but a lot of relief, and even a little sympathy for the Haves. I, for one, do not envy the job they have ahead of them, trying to keep this company from folding completely.

Besides applying for jobs, Angela and I have been busy with Smart Goat work. We’ve done a lot with Clemency’s site, and we think we are close to finishing another client’s site. We are also close to signing a couple of other customers. And, we joined the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, where there are a lot of potential clients. Our days are not all Slashdot and solitaire, like one might expect.

All the job searching has paid off for Angela. Just last week, she accepted a position with a building materials manufacturing company. She will be doing web development and Java development for handheld devices. She is excited, and the projects they have for her sound very interesting.

My own job search has led me to the opportunity of a lifetime. I have about decided to accept a full-time position with an up-and-coming web design company. :-) Not because I’m giving up, or because I’m not finding anything. It’s because Angela and I both believe this could be our chance to jump start our business. If our business is going to grow, someone needs to be working on it aggressively. We’ve talked about this a lot in the past week — she doesn’t mind being the main income provider, and I don’t mind staying home and working on the business. It’s a little risky, but that is exactly what we need: With big risks come big rewards. I can always jump back into the corporate world if necessary, but I’m determined to make this work.

My last day is two weeks from Monday. My first day is two weeks from Tuesday. Guess which one I’m looking forward to more.

The other day, I was sitting on my couch, browsing through the books on the bookshelf. I’m always looking for new recipes to try, so I picked up the Macomb FBLA Community Cookbook that I helped put together when I was in high school. As I flipped through 12 different recipes for chili, I stopped thinking about recipes and started thinking about those years. My trip down memory lane stopped when a folded piece of paper fell in my lap.

Kraft Barbecue Oven Tender Chicken

Barbecue Chicken

Blackened Chicken

Spinach and Artichoke Au Gratin

It was a list of recipes — dishes I was considering making for the night I asked Angela to marry me. A fork in the road appeared on memory lane, and I decided to follow it.

Continue reading “The Memories We Find”…