Posted: 2009-07-06 16:20:55
As you may have noticed, this site has a new design! I hope you like it.
I'll still be ironing out some of the kinks over the next week or so, and (I know you're gonna hate this) there will be a new rss feed. I've decided to go through feed burner. Right now, my RSS doesn't work (as a result of some of the changes I've made), but rest assured I'll have it back up and running soon.
As always, feedback on the new design and functionality is always appreciated.
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Posted: 2009-07-01 06:29:42
Man oh man have I been busy. A week away in Canada, though pretty sweet, will also put you behind in your work a bit.
I know I've promised to get this thing updated, and it's really really close! I should have some time in the next couple weeks to finalize the new design and get everything up. I should also have some pretty cool pics from Canada up here for you shortly, as well as some details as to what I was doing up in the wilderness.
Things are going well on the job front. Steady work is coming in, and I'm still enjoying this sort of freelance gig I've got going on.
I'm thrilled that it finally feels like summer here, and my scooter is enjoying lots of use. As I look outside, it's kind of gray right now, and I'm not sure if I'm gonna brave it or not. A little water never killed anyone, right?
Except millions of people who have drowned.
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Posted: 2009-06-16 11:57:27
Upgraded wordpress, screwed up my RSS feed. Should still work, but the post links are broken. Working on fixing it!
 Nevermind, I fixed it already. Thanks for bearing with me! [/edit]
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Posted: 2009-06-10 07:40:51
I'm a sucker for gadgets. I love technology, and I also happen to be a pretty big impulse buyer (don't look in my trunk...). This often results in my jumping on the newest and coolest gizmos on the market (hello HDTV, iPhone, PS3, etc).
This trend tends to carry over into my computer software as well, specifically my browsers. As a web developer, I need to have multiple browsers on my computer for testing purposes. But as a general computer nerd, I like to have the newest (sometimes beta) versions of these browsers. Sometimes, this can be a double-edged sword.
You see, when developing a site, it benefits the end user for me to test it in as many possible browsers as possible. Now, I write semantic code (meaning it is correct as far as the standards-setting W3C is concerned). This is great for modern browsers (under which IE8, Safari, Firefox, and Chrome fall), but for antiquated browsers (mainly IE7 and IE6), standards-compliant code means nothing. They live by their own rules and will render my pages however they see fit.
I know I've mentioned it before in this blog, but I really get frustrated that IE6 is even still around. No one uses their old Nokia anymore because the world of cell phones has advanced far past that. They simply aren't capable of delivering the experience that people expect from a phone.
This brings me back to my initial qualm: I like to have the best and brightest. I don't have IE6 on my computer, or IE7, or Firefox2, or Safari3. I want to experience the web as best I can, so I keep all my browsers up to date. And you know what? They are all free! It is to my advantage, as a consumer/user, to have these updated browsers. Whether I'm using gmail, searching amazon, or playing flash games, an updated browser is going to work better than an older one.
Our old PC (and I mean 9 years old, which is like 63 in computer years), asked me if I'd like to upgrade to IE8 yesterday. But I had to say no, because I still need IE6 on there to test for our clients who are unknowingly (or possibly knowingly) crippling their browsing experience.
So what is my solution for all this? Well, for any personal sites I build, IE6 support is out of the question (in fact, I may add a little something in there to persuade any users of old browsers to upgrade). For my freelance clients, by default I will only support modern browsers, adding in IE6/7 as an additional cost. I think things are starting to move in the right direction, but it's going to take some action on both the internet-savvy and the technophobes parts to really move forward.
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Posted: 2009-06-01 20:00:44
It looks like the economy is finally taking a turn for the better, but things still aren't great. That's why my decision to leave my full time job seems kind of crazy. Why give up the security of employment for the great unknown? It was actually I really easy decision, and I feel great about it. Here's why.
I've always been intrigued by freelance work. I like the idea of setting your own hours, working in coffee shops, having a gnarly beard, all that good stuff. But I know that with the freelancing lifestyle comes a lot of responsibilities and burdens. I've wrestled with the idea of going freelance several times before (after all, my field is very geared towards one-off projects), and recently the stars aligned and I took the plunge.
To keep matters private, my boss and I didn't see eye to eye on an issue, and I took the opportunity to start my career in freelance. Scary, right? Well, not too bad. I've worked out an arrangement where, though I'm no longer an employee of my job, I will still be doing work for them. Only difference is, I'm paid hourly (and at a much better rate!) and I don't have to get involved in any of the menial office tasks.
The way I see it is this: You've got some pluses and some minus to freelance.
Higher hourly rate
More free time
Make my own hours
Choose my own projects
Expand my professional network
Take care of all my own finances/taxes
And I'm pretty sure I could add quite a few more to both.
I've found some really good resources both through LifeHacker and FreelanceSwitch. I've started accounts at Freshbooks, Shoeboxed, and Outright to manage my time, expenses, income, taxes, invoicing, etc. The great thing about those three is that they all integrate with one another! I'm pretty nerdy when it comes to organizing things, so I think this aspect of it will work out really well for me.
The other plus side is that I have two really good sources of other freelance work right now. 1) Amber's new company has already offered me some work, and 2) Amber and I do freelance stuff together already! I don't think it will be too difficult for me to keep the work flow up.
I've made some fairly bold decisions in my short lived career (left Motorola, dropped out of school, took a crappy paying admin job...), but I'd say that all of them have worked out for the better. I've found that sometimes, the only way to get where you want to be is to build your own bridges (so goddamn deep!!!)
Wish me luck.
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Posted: 2009-05-27 08:21:49
It's happened to me a few times, and I know others who have had it happen to them. Your job asks something of you, but does not provide you the right tools to get it done. Be it software, office supplies, or even a phone number, employees need certain things in order to fulfill their job requirements.
In my own personal experience, there are currently 3 computers here at work using just 1 license for a piece of software. The result of this, while not only being illegal, is that only one computer can run the software at a time. If you attempt to start the program on another computer, a warning is shown, and the program shuts down. This inhibits the work flow and has actively prevented me and others from getting our work done.
I understand that companies, especially now, are cost conscious, but cutting corners like this is going to hurt more than it helps.
In my office, there are 3 different versions of OSX running (10.3, 10.4, and 10.5). This means that only some of us can install things like Firefox 3, Sequel Pro, Adobe CS4, not to mention important security updates. It also makes my job as the default IT person here that much more needlessly complicated.
My point is, an employer needs to provide for his/her employees the tools they need to get the job done. Sure, I could code a website in nothing but Text Edit, but I could also build a house with nothing but a handsaw and hammer (hypothetically).
Keeping up with technology and shelling out for new software every once in a while just comes with the territory of being in a technology-driven field, and doing otherwise is going to hurt your business far beyond the few hundred dollars you intially think you're saving.
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