Author Archives | Xnuiem

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5 Reasons Marketing Departments are like 3 year olds

September 10, 2011

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  1. You have to repeat yourself a lot.
  2. You have to explain things over and over again in different ways, and still not get the point across.
  3. It doesn’t matter what else is going on in your life, their wants are far more important than your (or anyone else) needs.
  4. They think everything for which they ask is very simple, and no amount of evidence will convince them otherwise.
  5. They think “Now” is a completely legitimate deadline.

Of course, this could apply to a lot of different departments, heck, I am sure some poor delusional soul out there thinks these could apply to IT, but for now, let’s remember, the just fit best with Marketing.  Not a specific Marketing department, but just about all with which I have ever worked.

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WordPress 3.2.1 Update broke the Arras Theme

August 1, 2011

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Looks like our theme was broken and so I have reverted the website back to the default theme.  I will be changing it shortly, so please look past the generic style.

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TSA at BWI

January 28, 2011

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Jess and I just got back from Baltimore late Wednesday night. A short three day trip for some personal business, sans kids. After all the media attention, we were already concerned about the “enhanced” security at the airports, but Baltimore is 24 car hours away, so we have to fly.

Well, at Dallas Love Field (KDAL) there was just the old method of metal detectors. Empty most of the stuff from your pockets and move along. Well, at Baltimore Washington International (KBWI) the scanners are in place and being used.

When we walked up to the security line, Jess asked, “Are those the new scanners?” Yep. She didn’t like the look of them one bit, and even hesitated a little bit. I did point out that not everyone was even being asked to go through, just about every third person.

We emptied our pockets of everything metal or electronic, and stepped up. Jess was waved through the normal “old school” metal detector, but I was instructed to go through the scanner. He, the TSA officer, did not inform me of my right to refuse and get a pat down instead, just told me to go through. I refused, politely. He THEN informed me that would mean I would get pat down, to which I replied “Let’s do this.” I knew the consequences of my choice, but there was no way in hell I was going to get a almost naked image of me taken and God knows what done with it, since the TSA is being very vague about what they actually do with those images.

Another officer stepped up and asked if I had anything in my pockets. I replied I did, my wallet, and he asked me to put it on the belt, to which I refused. I have NEVER been asked to remove my wallet or chapstick, since they are not metal, and most people don’t even notice them. This was new to me, and now I am very unhappy because I have already asked for a pat down, so why do you give a crap what I have in my pockets?

He said that I had to totally empty my pockets. I again refused and asked, again politely, to speak to a supervisor. He said that a supervisor “will just tell you the same thing, so I don’t know why I need to bother him.”. I then, more firmly but still politely, asked to speak to a supervisor. He argued a little bit more, I interrupted his excuses, and said “I have expressed my desire to see a supervisor. I have been polite, can you please just do as I ask.” Well, I suppose he didn’t know what to do with a polite but firm passenger, so he said “OK, fine.”

About a minute, perhaps not even that long, passed and supervisor came up and asked what was going on. I told him I had refused the body scanner, and refused to put my wallet on the belt, where I can not see it, they wont take responsibility for it, and I would be separated for perhaps several minutes while I pat down. I suppose that argument, again politely expressed, just made a lot of sense. He moved me through the normal metal detector, with my wallet in hand, and asked me to have a seat in the pat down area.

Another officer, Officer Bell, came up to me and asked for my wallet. I handed it over, and he said he would now go through with it me watching. “No problem,” I replied. My wallet is very small and very tightly packed. He really did seem uncomfortable with it, since he didn’t see how to get things out without potentially causing a huge mess. I asked him how he wanted to proceed and the supervisor, who was standing near by, said that he would personally run it through the scanners (the old normal ones) and ensure that it never left his sight, except while in the scanner, and he would take personal responsibility for it.

“Fine. Thank you.” That seemed like a very fair arrangement and let us both achieve our goals. His of getting me checked out and on my way and me of not losing my wallet at BWI.

He did that and came back and handed it back to me. Thanked me for my cooperation, and left the area.

Officer Bell then asked me to step on the spots on the floor mat, and put my arms up, palms up. He had latex gloves on, was well groomed, and professional. At all times he told me what he was going to do. He started with my shoulders and chest, worked down to my stomach, and then went to my back. He was not rough, forced, or any of the other crap I would have expected based on the media’s repeated telling of the situation.

He then said he would use the back of his hands to go over my buttocks. I replied “alright”. Done. Now, again telling me before hand so I am very informed, he said he would use the back of his hand to go down the zipper of my jeans. “Sure”. Again, done. Not forceful, not threatening, in no way invasive. He then moved down my legs and about 90 seconds after it started, my “enhanced” pat down was finished.

I collected my things and moved along.

Now, the real question is, was my experience normal? Or was the entire staff, with one possible exception, just amazingly polite and professional? I hope not. I hope exactly what I went through is what can be expected no matter what airport you are in. I think the entire TSA situation sucks, and we, as a country, could do better for our security. But, my experience, and the entire time I stayed polite, honest, and professional, and I am glad to see it was not too much to expect them to treat me the same way.

What about the rest of y’all? Anyone pass on the new scanners and ask for a pat down? How did it go?

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Jake

December 13, 2010

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Well, for those of that dont know, Jake, our horse, passed away back in September.  We had to put him down after he had been very ill for about six weeks.  We took him to a vet to try and figure out why he wouldnt eat, and it ended up being stomach cancer.

Cancer is unheard of in a 9 year old quarter horse.  He just wasnt old, he was just getting into life.  We had him for just under a year, but were and still are very attached.

He was a great horse.  He would go out in the pasture and run and run with me, come back and be calm enough for Illianna to ride by herself without even a lead.  He loved the girls, would protect Jessica, and tried to get in my lap once when I sat down out in the pasture.  He was very convinced he was was a 1500 lbs puppy dog.  He would always come up to you in the pasture, and give all he had when you had him under saddle.  He was the type of horse that would make anyone think they were amazing with horses since he just knew it all, with very little teaching.  He wanted to please which made it so easy and wonderful to be around him.

We have put up all the pictures we have of him at his picture gallery.  If you look at the one picture of him being led by Illianna, you can see how much weight he lost.  That was taken the day before we found out about his cancer and put him down.  He was our first horse, won’t be our last, and taught us that even though he didn’t live with us, he was a huge part of our life and has changed our family forever.  Jake, you are remembered, and will always be loved.

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Amateur Web Design

November 3, 2010

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There are a lot of amateur web designers out there.  They post on forums, and advertise freakishly cheap prices, like $150 for a website.  The differences between them and those of us that do this professionally are too many to be named.  Obviously the pricing is a huge difference, they charge for an entire website what my hourly rate is.  But then again, I don’t really make just the brochure 4 page websites, we actually write custom applications that do very complex things ranging from e-commerce to mission critical business processes.

Another huge difference is the professionals actually stick to standards and try to keep up with trends and new technology, unlike the 15 year old designers working from mom’s house.  I found out recently about this “company” (LR Web Design).  First, they call HTML “coding” which is a complete misnomer.  And then talked down Dreamweaver, and yet their “code” is at least 10 years out of date.  No CSS, inline font tags, UPPERCASE tags, image maps for menus, and tables for very basic positioning.  Here is another one of their websites: http://knbcolo.webs.com/ .  They don’t even use a true host, but a free website company.  Let me fill you in, none of this is what you want your company to have on its website.  It is unprofessional and doesn’t really put your best foot forward.  But if you want a slow loading website on a free host with no custom anything, by all means go with one of these people.  Otherwise, go with someone with training, experience, and credentials, as well as a portfolio with real clients you have heard of.

Like wine & cars, you get what you pay for with websites.  I wouldn’t want my company looking cheap.

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Freelancer.com ? Really?

October 26, 2010

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I have been wandering around some of the freelancer websites looking for some programming/project management gigs to keep me busy, and I ran across this one on Freelancer.com:

“Want to make a website which features a different picture of a babe everyday.

Successful candidate:

  • Must create and design the website
  • Logo creation
  • Provide 3000 original large, high quality photos with my watermarked logo
  • These photos must be legal
  • All copyright will belong to me
  • Photos must automatically change as of 12:00 PM MST
  • Must be able to and will be responsible for setting up the website with advertising program to ensure money is made from visitors”

The poster gave a max budget of $250….

Really!!!???

Let me make sure I understand…You want me to develop the software to power the site (admittedly very simple), design the look and feel of the site, create a logo, and come up with 3000 original photos of “babes” and then sign it all over to you, all for $250?  Then you want me to market it and advertise it?  What the heck do I need you for?  Let’s face it, you cant get 3000 images, even non-original ones for that price, but I have no idea what the photo shoots required would cost…maybe $25000?  For that many images there are going to be a lot of different girls, doing a lot of different things, in a lot of different places.  $25000 may be extremely cheap I don’t know.

I do know the person that posted this is delusional.  He/She wants to pay a paltry sum for someone to do ALL the work.  Usually clients have ideas, content, and know how to market their own stuff, but not in this case.  Maybe this person works in politics and thinks this is how the real work actually operates.

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Social Security is deluding themselves

October 20, 2010

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Social Security is deluding themselvesIf you work in the US, you get these letters every so often from the Social Security Administration to let you know what your benefits will be, or would be, based on wages, taxes paid, etc.  They are just depressing, since in my tax bracket, I actually put more money into SS than I will get back if I die before the age of 132.

Yes, that is right, I will never get back all that I put into SS.  Nevermind the fact I should be paid interest on my contributions.  Why was privatizing such a bad idea?

Anyways, I received one of these letters, and it had a section in it entitled “Will Social Security still be around when I retire?“.  Look to the right, there is a scan of this image.

I love how it says “Yes.” at the very begining and then goes on to try and quantify that answer with the basic assumtion you, the reader, didnt pass 2nd grade math.

So, according to this, the money will be gone in 2037.  I hate to point out the fact I dont reach age rull retirement age (67) until 2044.  Not inspiring a lot of trust with already failing in the numbers department.

Then it goes on to say that if nothing is done, in 2037, they should be able to pay about 76% of the benefits to which I am entitiled.  WHAT?!

So just to clarify, Social Security will run out of money ~7 years before I am at full retirement age, AND will only be able to pay 76% of the benefits scheduled, which already are only about 80% of what I paid in, with no interest.

How was the answer “Yes.” to the question “Will Social Security still be around when I retire?“?  You just said we will run out of money years before I am elegible to retire, and even then I wont recieve all that I should.

What have we learned?  First and foremost, like healthcare, the goverment has great ideas, really, they are good ideas, they just have no fricking clue on how to execute it.  None!

Secondly, the correct answer to the question “Will Social Security still be around when I retire?“, is “No.  Not really.

If you want, contact your folks in Congress, let them know this is a bunch of crap, and now is the time to start fixing it, not 2037, or 2044, or whenever it is you will retire, or (God forbid), need disability.  And if you think you don’t need to save for retirement, go take a 2×4, hit yourself in the head, and start drawing disability now.  Learning to live on that income is the ONLY way you will not need your own retirement setup.

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Stop invading my ears!

October 18, 2010

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To everyone out there that thinks it is “cool” or “neat” to put music on your website, do the rest of us a favor, and don’t.  While I understand the aesthetic nature of some sound,  for the most part it is just annoying.  When online, I usually listen to iTunes, and the last thing I want is some hideously encoded streaming .wav file repeating the same 6 seconds of music over and over again.  Unless I really need to be on your website, I hit back on my mouse and try to immediately start repressing the memory that is your website.

At the end of the day, music requires a lot of bandwidth for those of you hosting the music files, a lot more than even a complex page (assuming your images are optimized, but don’t get me started on that today).  And for every Pro:fx out there, there are a 100 Hampsterdance websites.

If you aren’t an amazing DJ, or awesome Flash/Shockwave/Silverlight developer, do us all a favor, and leave the music off your website.  I like my thousands of MP3‘s, and I don’t force you to listen to them.

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Web Design at its Worst

September 28, 2010

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I admit, I like to find gigs on Craigslist.  There are horrible things on there, and some stupid requests (“I need a PMP certified Project Manager with 12 years industry experience that can start today for $12/hr.”), but every now and then, something decent appears.

I was browsing, wondering about competition and stumbled on this website : LeoScorp, LLC .  What a bad name for a company, but when you first look at the site, you are amazed they claim to be in the website building business.  Bad use of colors, background image is distracting, and let’s face it, picking something like Astrology to base your company name/theme/logo on could actually turn people off, especially down here in the Bible Belt.

Assuming you make it past all that, check out their About Us.  Does anyone care they swam together at a public pool?  Does that make them better developers/designers?  If this was their homepage, sure knock yourself out, but on a business site, keep it professional.

Then go to the Services page, where they have a stupid little computer extremely slowing typing out the content.  First, it is slow, I type much faster than that and read WAY faster.  Let’s go already.  I don’t have time to sit there and be annoyed at a little graphic you thought was cute.  Furthermore, doing that stuff isn’t even close to SEO helpful, so maybe it is a good thing you are on Craigslist looking for jobs since Google just isn’t working out for you.

But let’s face it, no matter how bad a site is, it could always be worse.

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New Moon….please make it end

July 8, 2010

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Ok, Jess and I watched Twilight New Moon the other night and I am still in a ball in the corner trying to understand if there was a point to those 2+ hours that I just missed.  I have finally come to the conclusion that no, there is no point.  The entire movie could have been made into about 12 minutes, because the rest of the time all we got to watch was one character or another staring off into the distance.  For the record, if it was even a slight surprise to you that Jacob was a werewolf, you are a mental defective and should stick to watching Dora the Explorer that way the plot is linear enough for you to follow.

Let’s go through a checklist of what it takes to make a Twilight movie:

Acting?  Nope.
Plot?  Nope.
Anything surprising at all?  Nope.
Wasting lots of time with montages as if that makes a movie?  Check.
Lots of staring into the distance?  Check.
Vocalizing the obvious?  Check.
Taking a 2×4 to your head to make sure you have a low enough IQ to enjoy Twilight?  Check.

The moral to the story is, if you drool on yourself, you will enjoy the movie.  Otherwise….have some dignity and watch Battlefield Earth instead.

The only way I may watch another one would be if it was like this:

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