AggieCampusology.com fixed

So… from May of this year until just now, AggieCampusology was broken. I don’t know exactly how/why it broke, and clearly, I just didn’t have time to dig in until now… all I could figure out is that the cache was somehow corrupt. Glad I found the debug commands in the wp-config file. Need to remember to check there first next time ;)

Sorry about that.

Coldplay Interactivity

After watching this:

I now need to go see Coldplay live. What a fun show. Love the interactivity…

Thankful for entrepreneurs…

Stolen from facebook:

A boss plans, organizes, and coordinates. A leader inspires, motivates, and galvanizes. A visionary perceives an improved reality.

An entrepreneur does all of the above under great personal risk and sacrifice knowing for certain that they will never received praise or acknowledgement and having only the slightest possibility of ever receiving any financial reward.

True entrepreneurs are an economic and psychological anomaly. We do it for the thrill of the hunt and the adrenaline of the game. We do it to maximize of locust of impact to have a meaningful impact for our fellow men. We do it to find out if we can.

All of us should be grateful, as I am, that entrepreneurs continue to take unimaginable risks at illogically insane personal sacrifice to strive towards the vision of building meaningful improvements for us all. I can assure you that those who believe the government could ever do this have never really known a true entrepreneur.

Yes, thank God for entrepreneurs!

Really Frustrated with Bank of America

I’m pissed at Bank of America right now. And not because of the $5 fee they wanted to charge consumers for using their debit cards earlier this year. Not because I’m joining the 99% movement, or because I want to occupy anything. Not because the government had to bail them out again and again. And not because their stock price is tanking.

Because they made me feel like an idiot for doing business with them. Again.

Here’s the story:

In May of this year, I took my seven and five year old children to the local Bank of America branch on a Saturday morning, with about $115 each that they’d been saving. My goal was to open a simple savings account, so that they could start learning what it was like to have a bank account, and the value of saving money with someone you could look in the face and talk to.

We opened two savings accounts, with me listed as the custodian and deposited the money. They both wrote down their deposit in the free deposit book that BoA gave us.

I’m pretty sure I asked lots of questions about fees and interest rates, because I distinctly remember hearing that the interest rate was ridiculously low (like 0.1% interest) and I don’t remember hearing anything about fees. I’ve been screwed by BoA before on fees on other accounts I have open with them (they charged me a $25 service fee on an checking account with $50 in it, because I wasn’t using the account (WTF?)), so I know I asked about them, and I don’t remember hearing anything from the bank officer about fees, that said, I could be wrong. It was six months ago, and I made the mistake of trusting them again…

About a month later, the boys and I took another $100 or so in change to the bank, and had them sort and count it, and then we deposited the money evenly into both of their accounts.

Because it’s a savings account, we get a statement once a quarter.

This morning, we got the second quarterly statement from BoA, and I opened it, just because I wanted to see what their balance was.

I was surprised to see three $5 charges for “monthly service fees” on the statement.

I grabbed the paperwork we got from the bank when we opened the accounts, and the boys deposit books and drove to the bank to talk to the bank officer that I opened the accounts with.

She doesn’t work there anymore. Figures.

So I sit down with another banker. As calmly as I could, I asked her to “refund the money that they’ve taken from my kids, close the accounts, and give me the cash, so I can go do business with a bank that my kids can learn to trust with their money.” I should have said “stolen from my kids” btw, because that’s what it feels like.

I was upset. I was upset because I felt like an idiot. Here I was trying to teach my children the value of saving money, and working with a bank that they could go into and talk to a banker at, and what lesson did I learn that I can teach them?

I guess this statement sums it up: “Never use Bank of America for anything!”

Seriously. What other conclusion can I draw from the last six months?

We took our money into the bank. We sat with a banker for an hour while she explained the accounts to the boys and I. We got our deposit books, and while disappointed with the super crazy low interest rate, we figured that having the experience of walking into a bank every few months, depositing cash, getting a receipt and seeing our balance grow would be a super powerful lesson for them about the value of saving your money. Isn’t that what we should be teaching our kids, considering the current state of the economy?

Instead, we got a lesson that goes something like “Don’t trust your bank” or “You’ll make more money keeping your money in your ceramic piggy bank at home, than you will be entrusting it to a real bank.”

Ugh. So pissed at myself for trusting Bank of America.

Anyways, after the banker looked into the two accounts, she informed me that they’d charges us the $5 fee six times. Once each month since we opened the account.

I asked her as politely as I could to refund the entire $30 for each boy, close the account and hand me the cash. She told me that she wasn’t authorized to go back more than 3 months. I asked to see her boss.

He came over and told me he didn’t have the power to go back more than 3 months either. I asked if his boss was at the bank today. It was a Saturday, so his boss wasn’t there, but they both told me they could file a ticket and that the big boss would look into it on Monday.

“Fine,” I said, “close the accounts and I’ll deal with it on Monday.”

Moral of the story there: “Bank of America lets a stupid computer make a bad decision to charge us $5/month for six months, but won’t authorize a human the power to make a right decision and refund us $30.”

So, I closed the accounts, took the cash, and will be going into a credit union on Monday to open two kids’ savings accounts, or I might call USAA to open two kids’ savings accounts with them.

I’ve had an account at Greater Texas Federal Credit Union for almost 20 years now. It was my college bank, and when we got out of college, we left about $50 in the account. They’ve never charged me a fee for having that account open, and even pay us interest on it, and I trust them to not make me feel stupid for doing business with them.

Ditto Navy Federal Credit Union… my wife has used them for savings accounts and car loans for twenty years. Love them too.

I’ve used USAA for at least 15 years now too, and trust them to not make me feel stupid. In fact whenever I call them, I feel good about doing business with them. Every time.

Bank of America, you just lost my trust forever, and I’ll make sure my children never bank with you, and hope that everyone that reads this thinks very hard about doing business with you too.

A person would have to be an idiot to do business with Bank of America, and I refuse to be an idiot again.

I’ll be closing my business and personal checking accounts at BoA on Monday too, btw. I’m sure someone else will be happy to make sure I don’t feel like an idiot for doing business with them. I’m not the only person leaving BoA, there are lots of others. It’s not that hard to move your money, folks.

Want to read more stories like this? I’m sure you can find them on BankofAmericaSucks.com.

Fuck You! from the kids too!

Job Interview Advice

I’ve been interviewing folks again, and I’ve got some advice for those of you interviewing. If you find yourself in an interview situation, please remember these points:

  • Arrive early. Go to the bathroom and make sure you’re presentable. Wash your hands. Then proceed to the office looking your best and confident of your first impressions.
  • Be prepared for any question, no matter what stage you think the process is in. Every answer you give matters.
  • If you’re interviewing with multiple people, don’t assume they’ve talked to each other about you. Answer the same questions with the same answers if needed.
  • Bring multiple copies of your resume on simple but heavy paper.
  • Ask questions when given the opportunity
  • Ask good questions that show you understand business
  • Ask questions that show you care about the job and the company you’re interviewing with
  • Ask questions about the job, and about the culture of the company
  • When the interviewer says “do you have any questions for us?” don’t just say, “nope, I think I’m good” – it sends the wrong signals.
  • Act interested. Sit up during the interview. Don’t lean back.
  • Pay attention to what your body is saying to the interviewer. Don’t cross your arms or play with your hair.
  • When you’re interviewing, act like you want the job.
  • Ask for an offer. As how to get an offer, if you aren’t sure of the next steps.
  • Ask what the next steps in the process are.
  • If you feel like something wasn’t said in the interview, say it. You only have one chance to get to the next step.
  • If the interview is over the phone, get clear about how to proceed to the next step in the process.
  • Sell your past achievements.
  • Sell your past failures as learning experiences, and share what you’ve learned from them.
  • Send hand-written thank you notes to everyone you’ve met at the company. They should be simple: “Thank you for meeting with me. I’m looking forward to working with you, and would appreciate any advice you can give me about how to move to the next step. I’m looking for an offer from your company and I’m excited to start soon.” Or “Thank you for meeting with me. I hope we can work together soon. If you have any follow up questions for me, please contact me as soon as possible.”
  • Keep in mind that just because you got an interview, you don’t have an offer until you have one. Your goal in an interview should be to get an offer. Period. Even if you don’t want to work there. The interview with the company you don’t want to work for is practice for the company you do want to work for.
  • Make it a game called “How do I get a job offer from this company?” and play to win that game.

Hope that helps.

And yes, I’m hiring online advertising or technology sales people based in Austin, Texas. Contact me through my contact form, if you’re interested.

Dear Diary: The Texas Heat

Taken from an email a friend forwarded. Not far from the truth, I bet:

Dear Diary,

Just moved to Texas from Minnesota! Now this is a state that knows how to live!! Beautiful sunny days and warm balmy evenings. It is beautiful. I’ve finally found my home. I love it here.

June 14th: Really heating up. Got to 100 today. Not a problem. Live in an air-conditioned home, drive an air-conditioned car. What a pleasure to see the sun everyday like this. I’m turning into a sun worshipper.

June 30th: Had the backyard landscaped with western plants today. Lots of cactus and rocks. What a breeze to maintain. No more mowing the lawn for me. Another scorcher today, but I love it here.

July 10th: The temperature hasn’t been below 100 all week. How do people get used to this kind of heat? At least, it’s kind of windy though. But getting used to the heat is taking longer than I expected.

July 15th: Fell asleep by the community pool. Got 3rd degree burns over 60% of my body. Missed 3 days of work. What a dumb thing to do. I learned my lesson though. Got to respect the ol’ sun in a climate like this.

July 20th: I missed Lomita (my cat) sneaking into the car when I left this morning. By the time I got to the hot car at noon, Lomita had died and swelled up to the size of a shopping bag, then popped like a water balloon. The car now smells like Kibbles and Shits. I learned my lesson though. No more pets in this heat. Good ol’ Mr. Sun strikes again.

July 25th: The wind sucks. It feels like a giant freaking blow dryer!! And it’s hot as hell. The home air-conditioner is on the fritz and the AC repairman charged $200 just to drive by and tell me he needed to order parts.

July 30th: Been sleeping outside on the patio for 3 nights now, $225,000 house and I can’t even go inside. Lomita is the lucky one. Why did I ever come here?

Aug. 4th: Its 115 degrees. Finally got the air-conditioner fixed today. It cost $500 and gets the temperature down to 85. I hate this stupid state.

Aug. 8th: If another wise ass cracks, ‘Hot enough for you today?’ I’m going to strangle him. Damn heat. By the time I get to work, the radiator is boiling over, my clothes are soaking wet, and I smell like baked cat — and I know how baked cat smells!!

Aug. 11th: Tried to run some errands after work. Wore shorts, and when I sat on the seats in the car, I thought my ass was on fire. My skin melted to the seat. I lost 2 layers of flesh and all the hair on the back of my legs and ass . . . Now my car smells like burnt hair, fried ass, and baked cat !!

Aug 14th: The weather report might as well be a damn recording. Hot and sunny. Hot and sunny. Hot and sunny. It’s been too hot to do shit for 2 damn months and the weatherman says it might really warm up next week. Doesn’t it ever rain in this damn state? Water rationing is under way, so my $1700 worth of cactus will just dry up and blow over. Even the cactus can’t live in this damn heat.

Aug. 22nd: Welcome to HELL! Temperature got to 115 today. Cactus are dead. Forgot to crack the window and blew the damn windshield out of the car. The installer came to fix it and guess what he asked me??? “Hot enough for you today?” My sister had to spend $1,500 to bail me out of jail. Freaking Texas. What kind of a sick demented idiot would want to live in this damn state ?? Will write later to let you know how the trial goes.

What’s that they say: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!”

(Insert “Texas” for “kitchen” anytime).

Is it really free?

I’ve always loved this cartoon:


The caption says “It’s free, but they sell your information.”

CAN-SPAM allows P.O. Boxes

I run a marketing company today… and it surprises me how many times I get questions from our partners about CAN-SPAM.

It’s 2011. The law was passed in December 2003. The FTC released “new rules” to clarify parts of the regulation in 2008. Lawyers that specialize in marketing should know the law… but sadly many of them still don’t know it that well… (can you say Google?)

So, just to set the record straight: CAN-SPAM does allow a marketer to use a P.O. Box in the unsubscribe footer in an email marketing message.

Don’t believe me? See what the FTC has to say about it here. See #4. Couldn’t be more clear.


Disclaimer: I know CAN-SPAM well, but I’m not a lawyer, and I’m sure not your lawyer. Consult with them before you start marketing via email.

Amazing Pistol with Birdies sold by Christies

This pair of singing-bird pistols made of gold and inlaid with gems was sold for $5.8 Million recently.

Pretty amazing that they were made in 1820. Wow.

Get rid of comments on WordPress “pages”

I have a “Contact Us” page on AggieCampusology.com and a “Share a Story” page, and in the default WordPress setups, Pages include the ability to post comments, just like a regular Post does. But that doesn’t make any sense on a “Contact Us” or “Share a Story” page, where users are already being presented forms to be filled out, and I was worried about users getting confused, so, I wanted to remove the comments section from those pages completely, if I could.

The solution is:

1. Create a custom page template.
2. Remove the “comments” code from that template.
3. Use the new Custom template for the pages you don’t want comments on.

Hopefully the following is a decent enough explanation, if you want to do the same yourself:

  1. Copy the “page.php” file in your theme directory.
  2. Call the new copy of “page.php” “custompage.php” or something similar.
  3. Open “custompage.php” in your text editor, and replace it’s contents with this:

    <?php
    /**
    Template Name: CustomPage

    Page template, without comments at the bottom.
    */

    get_header(); ?>

    <div id="container">
    <div id="content" role="main">

    <?php if ( have_posts() ) while ( have_posts() ) : the_post(); ?>

    <div id="post-<?php the_ID(); ?>" <?php post_class(); ?>>
    <?php if ( is_front_page() ) { ?>
    <h2 class="entry-title"><?php the_title(); ?></h2>
    <?php } else { ?>
    <h1 class="entry-title"><?php the_title(); ?></h1>
    <?php } ?>

    <div class="entry-content">
    <?php the_content(); ?>
    <?php wp_link_pages( array( 'before' => '<div class="page-link">' . __( 'Pages:', 'twentyten' ), 'after' => '</div>' ) ); ?>
    <?php edit_post_link( __( 'Edit', 'twentyten' ), '<span class="edit-link">', '</span>' ); ?>
    </div><!-- .entry-content -->
    </div><!-- #post-## -->

    <?php endwhile; // end of the loop. ?>

    </div><!-- #content -->
    </div><!-- #container -->

    <?php get_sidebar(); ?>
    <?php get_footer(); ?>

    *Note: all the above really does is duplicate the template called “loop-page.php” removing this code:
    <?php comments_template( '', true ); ?>
    **Note: you can also just download the above code from here, if you’d like to see it a little more cleanly.

  4. Save the “custompage.php” file.
  5. Open the page you want the comments removed from in the WordPress Admin UI.
  6. On the right under “Page Attributes” change the template from “Default Template” to “CustomPage”:
    Wordpress Page Attributes Admin UI - Select CustomPage
  7. Click “Update” to save the new settings.
  8. Check your new pages in a browser, to make sure everything works the way you want it (specifically that there are no longer “comments” at the bottom of your commentless pages!

If you want to read up more on creating your own page templates for WordPress, check the codex.

Oh, and sidebar here: I’m using TDO Mini Forms to power the “Share a Story” page on AggieCampusology.com, because I wanted a quick and easy way for users to submit entries, that will work with the publishing workflow that’s naturally included with WordPress, without making a user “register” or anything… seems to be working so far…

Making Progress = Time to Ship?


I’m making progress.

When I feel like I’m moving the needle on a project, I experience a lot of feelings: happiness, elation, excitement, challenged, productive, smart, and even a little trepidation or fear. But mostly the good stuff.

Why?

Is it our endorphins taking over? Is it the feeling of accomplishment, or pending accomplishment? The knowledge that what I’m working on is closer to completion?

And is the fear really the fear of “what will I do next?” or “what if it doesn’t work? And I prematurely dreading the pending completion, and subsequent vacuum of “stuff to do”?

Are projects ever really complete, or do they just continue to morph and grow? If so, will I ever ship the damn thing?

That whole line of thought got me thinking about the question:

What’s the minimum viable product I can launch, to start getting some feedback about what I’m building from people other than my friends, who are likely to just tell me that “it’s great” or “I’m impressed” but aren’t actually likely to ever be my customers?

So I read What is the minimum viable product? at Venture Hacks.

Why do we build products in the first place?

In the end, we hope to be able to launch product to lots of customers and have them give us money so that we build a great business.

So, I’m working on this project, and have built five customer facing web pages, integrated two outside vendor’s code/services, and I keep having ideas interuport my active work on the project.

I finally created a TODO.txt file that I’m storing on the server, so that I can keep track of those ideas, while getting them out of my head, so that I can stay focused and “heads down” on the tasks at hand, and as of today, all of the pages are pretty much ready to show to the public.

So, I think it’s almost time to launch the product. Need to finish up a little more development work, line up two key biz dev deals, and get it live. Probably next week!

Progress.

Heads Down

Sometimes it’s important to turn off all of the “noise” that gets in our way, when we’re trying to do something.

  • Turn off the TV.
  • Turn off the radio.
  • Turn off the RSS Reader.
  • Turn off the phone.
  • Turn off the people around you if you can (close the door to your office, or go hide upstairs or something)

I call this time my “head’s down” time. Like “Hey, my head is down in my work over here. Leave me alone!”

I just spent the last four hours doing work that probably would have taken me 8 hours, if I’d done it in my normal reactionary, distractable nature. Instead I put my head down, and got a lot done.

Figure out how to put your head down, and get more done in less time.

The importance of focusing

As I work on this side project I’ve been writing about, I’m putting in about 2 hours a day on it actively, but the rest of the day, while I’m doing my full-time job, and running another company, my mind keeps drifting back to this side project.

Meaning I’m not focused 100% on whatever it is I’m working on at the moment.

That’s human nature, but it’s also distracting as hell.

So, I’ve started taking whatever is in my mind, and adding it to Evernote whenever I’m thinking about it, which helps me clear my mind, and store the extra ideas I’m having, so that I can think more about them later, while not sacrificing too much of what I’m working on right now, or forgetting the bolt of inspiration I’ve been given.

The system works.

I’ve also added a “TODO” section to each file I’m working on in my programming project. It’s at the top of each file, and I’m using it as a place to store thoughts that I have in a contextually relevant place, which again, let’s me preserve the inspiration, without getting in the way of what I’m actively working on too much.

For example: Yesterday, I was writing some code to insert some data into a database. Simple, but took some time, because I didn’t remember how to do it, so I had to do a bit of research. In the middle of doing all that, I had a thought that if I could do “X” on that page, it’d be awesome, so instead of spending a lot of time thinking through “X” I added this to the top of the page:

// TODO:
// Figure out how to do "X" on this page, or the page before it, or after it.
// "X" will let us do Y and Z here, versus later on in the process = more 
// $$$.

Focus when you need to focus. You’ll discover how unbelievably productive you can be when you’re focused. Then harness and keep that focus, and drive it deeper.

Connect, Insert and Explode

Yesterday, I found ADOdb, downloaded it, and uploaded it to my webserver, but I didn’t read up on it, or spend any time with it… so, today, after running a few errands, I retired to my home office to dig into the documentation, and see if I could get a database connection up and running, and if I could, then insert some data into rows in a table, and hopefully get my web app working.

Specifically, the user experience looks like this:

  1. Land on a landing page, or the home page of my site.
  2. Collect a little information on the landing page, and pass the user to a “more info is needed page”
  3. Collect more info on page 2 of the process.
  4. Insert all of the data collected on pages 1 and 2 into the database
  5. Send the user on to their “results page”

Granted, the above isn’t too complicated, but it’s also not something a) I’ve ever done before on my own (at most, I took other people’s code and hacked at it the last time I touched PHP) and b) someone that hasn’t looked at code in 8 years should probably attempt on their 3rd day of playing with code again, or so I thought.

Turns out… programming in PHP is kind of like riding a bicycle. Once you know the basics, even if you take some time off, once you get back on the bike, you can ride again pretty easily.

It took me about two hours to get the above process to work, but it works pretty well now.

On the first page, I collect the data for three fields, pass those as GET variables to the second page, were I collect another 21 fields. Then I pass the user to a “userhandler” page, that takes the data, processes it into the right formats, and then inserts it into the database, and the forwards the user on to the third page in the process, passing the two fields that are required to make the last page work.

I had to create the “get more info” page first.

After I had the HTML coded up, I added a bunch of PHP, so that it would grab all of the variables, and pass them to the “userhandler” page.

Then I created the database using PHPmyAdmin, which is the easy way to do it (as compared to actually reading up on all of the details on field types, etc… so my database isn’t nearly optimized, but I can go back and fix that later…

Then I had to create the “userhandler” page, and make it talk to the database, which took a little while, but was pretty straight forward, thanks to the documentation around “insert” and examples that comes along with ADOdb.

Once I figured all of that out, I got a little creative, and combined two fields on my “more info is needed” page, and figured out how to explode those two fields, so I can store them as distinct data in the database, but reduce the number of fields the user sees when they’re entering the data. Specifically, I wanted the user to be able to enter three or four words, but split them at the first space. Example #2 was exactly what I needed to see, to make it work.

There’s still a ton to do on this project, but I’m having a blast playing with it. Really gets the creative side of my brain engaged again.

Good Database Abstraction Layer for PHP

So I’m playing with this project that I’m working on last night, and I realized that I’ve completely forgotten everything I remember about database connections and querying MySQL from a PHP app (though I do remember Mark Hershenson who taught me most of what I used to know).

Regardless, after reading about thirty pages in my big red Professional PHP Programming and cross referencing a little in my old MySQL book. (It’s telling when your MySQL book was published in 1999, btw, isn’t it?), I decided that while I could easily retype all of the code in these books, and that would give me a good working knowledge of how DB operations work, I probably don’t need to do that much work.

Pear LogoSo, this morning, I searched for “php DB library” in Google, and I found the excellent Pear MDB2 database package, and I’m downloading it now to check it out.

I’d much rather download and use someone else’s library code for database abstraction than write my own at this point. Not only am I grossly out of practice, but while I’ve got a working app at this point (meaning I haven’t completely lost all of my coding skills) I’m far from being able to code without any reference material or example code from others…

That’s what I love about open-source projects. So much really high quality information out there about how to use it, what’s best, etc…

So, hopefully this weekend I’ll get a database system working, so I can tackle phase two of the coding (getting the data from my web forms into and back out of a database).

Update: I also found ADOdb, which Dreamhost recommends, so I’ll be checking that out too.

New Projects and Passion

Heart by eyed mostafa zamani on FlickrNew projects are always exciting at first. Or scary. Depends on your mood and perspective.

Either way, your adrenaline gets flowing, whenever you start a new project.

In the last two weeks, I’ve taken on a few new projects.

First, I launched AggieCamusology.com, and pre-populated it with about 2 months worth of content, added some Google AdSense ads, so that maybe it’ll pay for itself later this year, and posted a few comments on Aggie related sites, so that we can start getting some natural search ranking and some free inbound traffic. Already, we’ve gotten about 10 page views… not bad for a site that’s less than a week old, and in a very very niche market segment.

The second project I’ve started is a completely new website, that requires me to open up my old PHP manual, and read a bunch on php.net or other sites, so that I can learn how the basics again. It’s super challenging (it’s been about 7 years since I’ve really looked at writing any real code) and super fun. Definitely gives me fuel to keep diving in, and opening up whatever possibilities might present themselves. I’m keeping this second project in beta for a little while, while I build it out more, but it’s fun so far, and I’m loving doing it and talking about it with others.

Third, I’m going to write more. More on that below.

One thing that I’ve noticed during the process of thinking about and starting these new projects:

Passion is what has enabled these projects.

  • AggieCamusology.com wouldn’t have gotten launched if I didn’t go to Texas A&M and have a decent amount of passion for the idea. Would you launch a website about kittens if you didn’t love cats?
  • The second project has been brewing in my head for months now, but I couldn’t justify investing much in the idea, because I couldn’t get around the “what problem does this idea really solve?” and then it struck me last night around 7:00… building this project doesn’t neccessarily solve a huge problem for anyone, but it will give me the chance to dust off my PHP skills, and that’s something that I will enjoy, and bam… work began.
  • I’m committing to writing more on inluminent.com, because I just got done reading pretty much every post on Spencer Fry’s blog, and am totally inspired by his writing. I’m not sure I’ll stack up to him after it’s all said and done, but I am inspired.

What is your passion? Can you make enough money to live on doing it? What are you waiting for?

New WordPress Site – but I’m out of practice

I’ve been blogging since February 2002. At the time, I used PHPNuke to power my first blog: englers.org.

In 2002, I found WordPress, and launched inluminent.com, as a blog that was seperate and distinct from my family blog.

Over the next few years, I had a decent amount of free time, and didn’t have kids, so I could spend a lot of time learning more about WordPress, themes and plugins, keep my PHP skillz honed, etc…

Then I “grew up” and started running departments, divisions, or companies for other people, and got paid really well, but I never got to spend time with WordPress anymore.

Thus, inluminent is still using the “K2″ theme, englers.org is using one of the original themes that shipped with WordPress back in 2002, and StuffGeeksWant is running a theme that’s not very customized… AParatroopersFaith.com at least has ads on it, but the design leaves little to inspire people, because I’ve been so busy with “other stuff”.

So, I’m launching a new site today: AggieCampusology.com for Aggies everywhere to find and hopefully enjoy reading stories from other Aggies about their memories from their student years, or jog their memory about an old Campo they can’t quite remember…

But, I’m stuck on the “themes and plugins” that I should use, and how to customize them.

I’ll have to research those two things pretty well over the next couple of weeks, and maybe even take what I learn and upgrade all of my WordPress sites, to bring them into 2011…

Where should I start?

No Place Like Here: Marfa, Texas

I took my first trip to Marfa this past spring with a buddy or two… and really liked it. Want to take my wife and kids back, to entertain the idea of moving there someday.

Found this video today, and totally reminded me why I love Marfa:

No Place Like Here: Marfa, Texas from Etsy on Vimeo.

[via Swiss Miss]

Do not let your fire go out…

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplacable spark. In the hopeless swamps of the not quite, the not yet, and the not at all, do not let the hero in your soul perish and leave only frustration for the life you deserved, but never have been able to reach. The world you desire can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.

-Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

(via Shelly)

The Luckiest – Ben Folds – a cappella

I discovered the a cappella version of “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds about a week ago, and I’m really really digging it:

I don’t get many things right the first time
In fact, I am told that a lot
Now I know all the wrong turns, the stumbles and falls
Brought me here

And where was I before the day
That I first saw your lovely face?
Now I see it everyday
And I know

That I am
I am
I am
The luckiest

What if I’d been born fifty years before you
In a house on a street where you lived?
Maybe I’d be outside as you passed on your bike
Would I know?

And in a white sea of eyes
I see one pair that I recognize
And I know

That I am
I am
I am
The luckiest

I love you more than I have ever found a way to say to you

Next door there’s an old man who lived to his nineties
And one day passed away in his sleep
And his wife; she stayed for a couple of days
And passed away

I’m sorry, I know that’s a strange way to tell you that I know we belong
That I know

That I am
I am
I am
The luckiest

And another version:

70 Things Every Computer Geek Should Know.

Reposted from http://www.aagneyam.com/blog/?p=466 which never seems to have enough bandwidth:

The term ‘geek’, once used to label a circus freak, has morphed in meaning over the years. What was once an unusual profession transferred into a word indicating social awkwardness. As time has gone on, the word has yet again morphed to indicate a new type of individual: someone who is obsessive over one (or more) particular subjects, whether it be science, photography, electronics, computers, media, or any other field. A geek is one who isn’t satisfied knowing only the surface facts, but instead has a visceral desire to learn everything possible about a particular subject.

A techie geek is usually one who knows a little about everything, and is thus the person family and friends turn to whenever they have a question. If you’re that type of person and are looking for a few extra skills to pick up, or if you’re a newbie aiming to get a handhold on the honor that is geekhood, read on to find out what skills you need to know.

1. The Meaning of Technical Acronyms

  • USB – Universal Serial Bus
  • GPU – Graphics Processing Unit
  • CPU – Central Processing Unit
  • SATA – Serial ATA
  • HTML – Hyper-text Markup Language
  • HTTP – Hypertext Transfer Protocol
  • FTP – File Transfer Protocol
  • P2P – peer to peer
  • 2. How to Reset RAM

    If you rolled your eyes here, that is a good thing. If not, you have many things to learn, young padawan. It’s amazing how few people know how to do this. If you’re unsure, hit up the link below to find out how:

    **[Need more study on it]

    http://www.yousaytoo.com/sudjarwo/how-to-reset-ram-in-a-computer/29133

    3. Identify Keyloggers

    Internet cafes are the most likely place you’ll find them, followed by library, perhaps, and maybe even you own house if you’ve some unscrupulous friends/family. Identity theft groups warn about keyloggers and advocate checking out the keyboard yourself before continuing. Can you identify a keylogger, however, if one is plugged into the back of the system?

    Here’s what one looks like:

    Hit up this link for excellent info on keyloggers on public computers and how to protect yourself:

    , http://www.ghacks.net/2007/06/28/how-to-defeat-most-keyloggers-on-public-computers/

    4. Surf the Web Anonymously

    We won’t make any assumptions about why you may need this particular skill, but the fact remains that every geek should know how to traverse the Internet with the highest amount of security possible.

    Aside from the safest method–which is using a connection that is not yours–you will need the ultimate in proxies…Tor. Tor is an onion-routing system which makes it ‘impossible’ for someone to find out who you actually are.

    5. Bypass a Computer Password on All Major Operating Systems

    Obviously you shouldn’t use this to gain unlawful access to a computer. If you’re a geek, however, you’ll eventually end up in a situation where someone forgets their password, you acquire a machine with an operating system you cannot access, or similar situation.

    See this tutorial for info on how to bypass the password on the three major operating systems: Windows, Mac, and Linux.

    http://www.joetech.com/2009/01/29/how-to-crack-the-account-password-on-any-operating-system/

    6. Find a Users IP Address on AIM

    Knowing someones IP address is actually pretty useless in this case, but most people don’t realize that. If someone is harassing you via AIM and you can’t get them to stop, discovering their IP and sending it to them–with a nicely worded threat of law enforcement involvement should they not stop–is likely enough to send them scamping away with tail between legs.

    http://www.elitehackers.info/forums/archive/index.php/t-2827.html

    7. Hide a File Behind a JPEG

    So you need a nice spot to hide your blackmail personal files. You could, of course, bury them deeply within a series of random, useless folders, but there’s always the chance of them being discovered. A password protected RAR is the best choice, but it’s a bit obvious despite the most boring title you could give it.

    A sneaky person would hide the important file behind a completely random and boring family reunion photo, where no person in their right mind would shift through.

    http://www.online-tech-tips.com/computer-tips/hide-file-in-picture/

    8. Crack a Wifi Password

    This is one of those things you don’t need to do (hopefully), but that you still need to know just for the sake of knowledge. A strong WPA password is very secure, but most people don’t want to bother learning a convoluted series of letters, numbers, and symbols, instead opting for random everyday words.

    A good overall tutorial on wifi and cracking can be found here: http://docs.lucidinteractive.ca/index.php/Cracking_WEP_and_WPA_Wireless_Networks

    9. Monitor Network Traffic

    The Internet is a vast place with a bit of everything. Whether you’re curious about what your roommate is downloading, your kid is getting into, or any leeches living around you who’ve unscrupulously breached your wifi, knowing how to analyze network traffic is an invaluable skill.

    Here is a list of dozens of network analyzers, as well as some general info to get you started: http://www.slac.stanford.edu/xorg/nmtf/nmtf-tools.html

    10. Recover Master Boot Record

    A virus or other problem can lead to an MBR error, which will make it impossible to access install. Many users would simply become frustrated and reinstall, but not you! Every geek should know how to recover the master book record.

    Here is an excellent guide to get started: http://www.ntfs.com/mbr-damaged.htm

    11. Retrieve Data off Hard Drive

    There will come some point in your life when a hard drive craps out sans warning. It could be due to a number of reasons–physical damage, file corruption, etc. There are computer service centers that would be happy to extract the data for a (hefty) fee; a true geek would be the one working at center, not taking his or her drive there.

    To find out how to retrieve data off a damaged hard drive, read here: http://laptoplogic.com/resources/5-ways-to-retrieve-data-off-a-crashed-hard-drive

    12. Load Rockbox onto an MP3 Player

    The firmware that comes on your average mp3 player is intended for those who are scared of advanced features; often, the only audio settings available are a few prearranged EQs. If you’re an audiophile–or simply frustrated with the lack of control over your music settings–Rockbox is the firmware for you. Open source and free, it can be installed on several different types of players and enables full control over what you listen to.

    http://rockbox.org

    13. Unbrick a Smartphone

    No geek can resist the allure of flashing the newest beta firmware onto their shiny smartphone. The byproduct of that is sometimes a bricked phone, which would leave many sobbing into their pillow at night. To avoid rendering your $400 gadget into a door stopper, learn the fine art of unbricking and then flash away.

    As the method used to fix a phone will vary, this is the best place to start looking for answers: http://www.howardforums.com/

    14. Replace a Laptop Keyboard

    Keyboards get gummy after awhile. If you use yours a lot (aka: all day), then you probably eat over it at some point. Crumbs get into the keys and things are sticking, and before you know it, you need a new keyboard.

    http://www.refurbished-laptop-guide.com/how-to-remove-a-laptop-keyboard.html

    15. Rip Streaming Videos

    Streaming videos are officially in vogue. We’re not going to make any assumptions about what type of videos you are streaming and may want to keep, but no matter what it is, any geek could rip them while sipping a Red Bull and watching the latest episode of BSG.

    Here’s a hint to get you started: http://applian.com/download-videos/

    16. Strip Windows DRM

    DRM is incredibly annoying. With many online stores now offering DRM-free mp3 audio files, it would seem it’s not as big of an issue as it used to be. That is not not the case, however, with all videos bearing a DRM as well as music of a higher-quality than MP3.

    Stripping Windows DRM is not legal. If you’re a geek, your probably don’t care: http://undrm.info/remove-DRM-protection/FairUse4WM-freeware-DRM-removal-Windows-software-Strip-copy-protection-from-WMV-ASF-WMA-Windows-Media-Player.htm

    17. Homebrew Hack Game Systems

    Gaming consoles are notorious for having features you can’t use simply because the manufacturer decided to lock them down. As a geek, you can’t just be satisfied with the features they decided to give you. No, you have to crack that case open and take a peek inside. Every geek should know how to homebrew hack their system and unlock it’s full potential.

    18. Find a Website IP Address Without Web/Command Prompt Access

    Some school admins think they’re being sneaky when they lock down the command prompt and block all major IP search websites and block all the websites you actually want to visit. Of course, that is child’s play for any geek.

    First, to get a new command prompt, open Notepad and type: command.com. Then, save as “cmd.bat”. You now have a command prompt.

    Now, open the command prompt and type “ping http://www.website.com/” to find the IP address of that website.

    Enter the website into the browser and you will officially have impressed all your friends.

    19. Bypass School or Work Website Blocks

    What is a horrific situation for an average computer user is a simple irritation for an everyday geek. To bypass a website block/filter, simply enter that websites IP address in instead of the actual site address.

    20. Screw with Wifi Leeches

    Nobody likes a wifi leech. At best, they’re simply using up your valuable bandwidth. At the worst–and far more likely, they’re stealing your identity and watching your activities. After watching your network and identifying the leech, use this trick to flip their browser upside down and let them know you don’t appreciate the intrusion.

    http://tech.nocr.at/hacking-security/baffle-wifi-leeches-with-an-upside-down-ternet-2/

    21. Hexadecimal and Binary Number Systems

    Everyone knows the normal, everyday digit system used. It takes a special–possibly psychotic person–to also know hexadecimal and binary number systems.

    Here is an excellent interactive tutorial on learning the two systems: http://www.wisc-online.com/objects/index_tj.asp?objID=DIG1102

    22. How to Hot Wire a Car

    If your family always turns to you any time their computer hiccups, their DVD player needs fixed, or their home security system doesn’t activate, it’s only a matter of time before someone asks you how to hot wire a car. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to answer them?

    To learn this unique skill, read here: http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Hot_Wire_Your_Car

    23. Increase Wifi Range

    With so many small portable gadgets gaining more and more sophisticated web browsers, in addition to gaming systems like the PSP and DS, getting the most use out of your wifi is practically a geek necessity.

    Here is a good guide on extending your wifi’s range: http://www.mavromatic.com/archives/000451

    24. Carrying a Computer Cleaning Arsenal on Your USB Drive

    A good geek prepares for their friends stupidity. No matter how many times you tell them to stop downloading porn, they keep doing it until their machine is so infected it can’t drag itself into a grave. An arsenal of portable malware cleaners, a portable task manager, anti-virus, etc, will make those impromptu purging sessions all the easier.

    25. Running an Operating System from a USB Thumb Drive

    Most people don’t even understand what the magical operating system is. As a geek, you should transcend that basic knowledge and have a small operating system on your thumb drive handy for those times you need computer access but don’t know the password to a nearby computer.

    http://www.pendrivelinux.com/

    26. Understand What “There’s no Place Like 127.0.0.1″ Means

    A lot of geeks wear this shirt as a short hand code for their computer finesse–or maybe just to screw with other people who stare but cannot figure out what it means. No matter the reason, if you’d like an answer, check out the link below.

    http://www.tech-faq.com/127.0.0.1.shtml

    27. Read 1337 At Normal Speed

    Sure, everyone knows about it and it’s no longer cool, but if you’re going to proclaim yourself as a geek, you should be able to read it full speed. Who wants to choke in front of the wannabe that learned to read it full speed and flaunts it in your face?

    http://www.wikihow.com/Read-and-Write-in-1337

    28. At Least One Fictional Language

    And not only should you know a fictional language, but you should use it to say something about yourself. Do you choose Klingon or Quenya?

    Here’s a list of constructed languages: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_constructed_languages

    29. How to Survive in a Linux Argument

    Linux is gaining an all around higher standing in the geeksphere, and it’s bound to enter a conversation at some point (which will invariably end up turning into an argument). If you want to keep up, you’ll need to understand the basic points of Linux, as well as the general info of all basic things.

    Here’s a good place to read and gain a foothold: http://www.linux.com/articles/feature/

    30. Identify Major Constellations

    For those times you venture from the air-conditioned, computer filled basement of your parents house (or something like that), look up at the stars and have yourself a Galileo moment. The stars may just be dots to many people, but with the handy website below, you’ll be stopping man-belts and lions in no time.

    http://www.sky-watch.com/astronomy-guide/major-constellations.html

    31. Use a Camera in Manual Mode

    Sure, you could just use auto mode like everyone else too afraid to learn what some letters and numbers mean, but then you wouldn’t be much of a geek, would you? The oft-ignored dial on a camera is the key that unleashes the best quality photos possible, and every geek should be a whiz at using one.

    http://digital-photography-school.com/digital-camera-modes

    32. Who Mulder and Scully Are

    It seems that in the plethora of geek websites, there always appears a joke about Mulder and Scully, the two main characters from the X-Files. If you don’t know who they are, you’ll be left in the dark, alone, contemplating what exactly it was you were doing in the 90′s that you wouldn’t understand the joke.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulder_and_Scully_(song)

    33. Javascript

    HTML is running the world (not really). Everyone knows some HTML and it makes them feel empowered. As a geek, you want to transcend that basic knowledge others share and know a little more. JavaScript is the answer–it is easy to learn if you’re not actually interested in web programming, but simply curious, and it looks scary to anyone who doesn’t know it.

    http://www.yourhtmlsource.com/javascript/basicjavascript.html

    34. How to Unlock an iPhone

    Sure, most geeks wouldn’t be caught dead with an iPhone, but what about your friends? You’re the smart techie, they’ll expect your to know how to unlock it.

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/137223/how_to_unlock_an_iphone.html

    35. How to Install Mac OS X on a PC

    Just because you don’t want Mac on your PC doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know how to do it. Knowledge is power, right? Go ahead, use this to stump your friends and family.

    http://dailyapps.net/2007/10/hack-attack-install-leopard-on-your-pc-in-3-easy-steps/

    36. Build a PC

    If you purchase a ready-made PC, you can be sure of one thing–you’re paying more than you should. Assembling your own PC isn’t too hard, and is the first thing you should be aiming to accomplish as a geek.

    Here is a massive article on assembling your own PC: http://www.pcmech.com/byopc/

    37. Tethering a Smartphone

    Nothing like a little wifi on the move, eh? Tethering a smartphone means using the Internet on your laptop/netbook via your cell phone. Of course, the method to do this depends on your phone, but here’s an article to get your started:

    http://www.tech-recipes.com/rx/2276/smartphones_bb_treo_tether_modem_usa_carriers/

    38. Wiring a Home Theater System

    Home theater systems used to consist of a TV and a chair. Gone are those days of simplicity, however, and setting up a modern system can be pure mind-boggling horror. Where does the modulator go, why does the DVD player have no video and the cable box no sound?

    Here’s a tutorial, including excellent diagrams, to show you how: http://www.prillaman.net/ht_info_8-wiring.html

    39. Replacing a Laptop LCD

    Laptop LCDs are vulnerable to many different mishaps: accidental pressure spots, shadows, airsoft pellets…. No matter, there will come a point when you need to swap your LCD for a new one. Now, as a geek, you probably don’t have an extended warranty. If that’s the case, here are some excellent pages and pictures on replacing the display:

    http://www.fonerbooks.com/laptop_4.htm

    40. Make a Laptop Cooling Pad

    Can you believe these cost $50?! A geek will need one, because data crunching/DVD ripping/videos playing/rendering at the same times tends to cause excess heat. Instead of shelling out your hard earned dollars, make your own like so: http://www.instructables.com/id/Lazy-mans-laptop-cooler/

    41. Unleash a Laser Pointer’s full potential

    A normal person uses a laser pointer to drive their dog crazy. A geek uses it to melt butter for their grilled cheese sandwich. To unless a laser pointer’s full strength, crack open the case, fry the resistor with a hot soldering iron, then snap it back together and keep it away from flesh/eyes/airplanes. The pointer will burn out after a few hours, but what a fun few hours they will be.

    Note: this is dangerous. Don’t do anything stupid.

    42. Keyboard Shortcuts

    This will depend on your operating system and the apps you use, so there’s no tutorial available. However, that is irrelevant–you’re a geek, you can find them yourself. Shortcuts are the difference between a slow computer user and a geek. The geek will always will out in a speed contest, because they do practically everything from their keyboard.

    43. Soldering Glasses Together

    Nerds use tape on broken glasses; geeks use solder. ‘Nuff said.

    44. How to Execute a Shell Script

    If you’re a true geek, you’ll need to do this at some point. Below are instructions on how to do so. Remember: always be cautious when running a script, you don’t want your computer to turn into a door stop, now do ya?

    http://www.mcsr.olemiss.edu/unixhelp/scrpt/scrpt1.2.html

    45. How to Hack a Pop Machine

    Okay, so stealing isn’t cool. Still, hacking is simply a misunderstood art, right? So hacking a pop machine isn’t really stealing, because it’s not about the pop, it about the pleasure of getting your way. Or something like that. (Newsflash, it is illegal, don’t do it.) If you want to try your fingers at getting a free Coke, check out this link:

    http://skattertech.com/soda-machine-hack/

    46. Turn a Laptop into a Digital Picture Frame

    So you want to show off pictures of your dog and that girl you once met, but you want to do it in an uber geeky way. Any schmuck can go to Walmart and buy a digital picture frame for a grossly inflated price. But you…oh, you’re too smart for that. No, instead you’ll find an old laptop on eBay for $5 and turn it into a true work of art.

    http://repair4laptop.org/notebook_picture_frame.html

    47. How to Mod a Flash Drive Case

    All the geeks are doing it…. Whatever. The case your flash drive came in is probably weak and most certainly plain. Why not jazz it up with your own unique style?

    Here’s one such case mod, and dozens of related projects: http://www.instructables.com/id/Metal-USB—Flash-drive-case-mod/

    48. Do Cool Things to Altoids Tins

    People are obsessed with these things. Altoids tins are durable, small, and just begging to be filled with LEDs, mp3 players, audio amps, and maybe some snuff. A good geek will find millions of uses for these little metal wonders. If you need a mental boost, however, here’s some interesting links:

    http://www.squidoo.com/altoids-tins

    49. Convert Cassette Tapes to Digital Audio Files

    If your geekhood started in the 90′s, then you probably have a least a few (dozen) cassette tapes still sitting around. Why not breathe digital life into them before they fall ill to mortal fate?

    http://lifehacker.com/software/mp3/alpha-geek-how-to-digitize-cassette-tapes-222394.php

    50. Lock Your Computer with a USB Drive

    You don’t want anyone getting into your files while you’re gone. A normal password would be enough to keep most people out, but what if you got super-secret X files on your computer? You can lock your machine down with a USB drive via these instructions:

    http://lionjkt.wordpress.com/2008/12/31/how-to-lock-your-computer-with-usb-drive/

    51. Run Your Own Ethernet Line

    Wifi has taken the place of a wired connection in many homes, and with good reasons–you can go anywhere, no cables necessary. What about those…sensitive…activities that you’d rather the neighborhood script kiddie didn’t see on your wifi? An Ethernet cable is your solution.

    To wire your own Ethernet, hit up this link: http://www.ertyu.org/steven_nikkel/ethernetcables.html

    52. Set Up a Streaming Media Server

    With digital files becoming the ultimate medium, many people have hundreds of gigabytes worth of music, videos, and pictures. You could keep them on a portable hard drive, but then you’re have to take it everywhere, and only one person could use it at a time. The solution is a streaming media server, something no geek can live without.

    http://www.n00tz.net/2008/07/vlc-media-server-ubuntu-hardy/

    53. Setting up a VPN

    If you’re like most geeks, you can’t live without your computers. They store your life in some poetic fashion, holding files you feel a personal connection with…. Anyway, if you are at work and suddenly realize you left an important picture at home (or you need blackmail material pronto), having a VPN ready to go will save you big time.

    http://www.computernetworkinghelp.com/content/view/41/1/

    54. Turn Webcams into Security Cameras

    Is someone stealing your Netflix DVDs? Do you suspect it is a fat hairy man in his boxers taking them each morning? If so, you can get your proof using a couple webcams and a bit of software.

    http://www.simplehelp.net/2006/09/27/how-to-use-your-pc-and-webcam-as-a-motion-detecting-and-recording-security-camera/

    55. Control Your House Lights with a Computer

    Controlling the lights in your house via computer is a great way to freak out the neighborhood kids ding-dong-ditching (assuming you wire up a Halloween scream motion sensor, also). If you reasons are less nefarious, you simply use it to turn on and off lights without having to life ye butt from thy seat, which is a good reason in itself.

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Control-lights-in-your-house-with-your-computer/

    56. Play Retro Games without Retro Consoles

    This applies to the geeks who enjoy gaming. Setting up an emulation PC on your TV is a great way to relive those games of old.

    57. Put LEDs Inside a Lightbulb

    The days of hot incandescent and mercury-laden fluorescent are gone, and in are the days of long lasting, low heat, low consumption LEDs. As any good geek, you want to be able to say “I was doing X long before it became mainstream.” Here’s your chance–the following link will show you how to put an LED inside a lightbulb, something sure to stump your friends the same way Grandpa’s ship-in-a-wine-bottle used to stump you.

    http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2006/06/make_a_led_bulb.html

    58. Create Music with Keyboard

    How awesome is KeyBored? This little app gives all of your QWERTY keys a piano note. When you type, it sounds like an infant monkey punching a keyboard. If you’ve got some musical chops, it won’t take you long to figure out the Star Wars theme or find a hidden musical message in Counter Strike control buttons.

    http://agdoa.net/ [edit:link updated]

    59. Make Your Office Ergonomic

    Face it–you spend a lot of time at your desk. You might even have a few extra pounds and pallid skin to show for it. While those things are temporary, far to common and more serious is the carpal tunnel, eye strain, and back problems you’ll develop from having a poor workspace.

    Hit up this link to create a body-friendly workspace that will keep you limber and flexible: http://www.ergotron.com/tabid/305/language/en-US/default.aspx

    60. Adding a Third Monitor

    Studies show that dual monitor increase work productivity by 30%. As a geek, you’ll need a third monitor to equal the dual setup of a layman (if that makes sense). While any hack with a VGA port can add a second monitor, it takes a true geek to add a third (or more). This will vary based on graphics/OS, so hit up Google for a tutorial or two.

    61. How to Convert a DVD to x264 (or XviD or DivX)

    It might seem like child’s play to you, but many individuals do not understand the fine art of converting a DVD into a digital file, let alone the careful skills it takes to achieve a happy balance between size and quality.

    Here is an excellent tutorial demonstrating how to rip a DVD with the multi-platform free software Handbrake: http://howto.diveintomark.org/ipod-dvd-ripping-guide/

    62. Flash System BIOS

    Ya gotta do it some time, so stop putting it off and man up. Flashing the BIOS on your laptop might seem scary (as it should–fear keeps you on your toes and prevents mistakes), but it’s not (actually, it is, but if you even understand why you need to do this, you’ve gotta have at least a few chops by now). Warning–you can seriously bork your computer doing this!

    http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=1605

    63. How to Irrecoverably Protect Data

    TrueCrypt, my friends. Learn to use TrueCrypt. If you have ask why, you don’t need it.

    64. The Fastest way to Kill a Computer

    It’s said that you have to get into a killers mind to understand their weaknesses, right? Same goes for the unfortunate boobs who always kill their laptops. Here’s a list of all the different ways you can accidentally kill a computer–arm your family and friends, and save yourself grief (because it’s surely you they will call when something goes horribly, horribly wrong).

    http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=1720

    65.GK for every drunken Geek

    Describing the advantages and disadvantages in various alcoholic drinks

    http://www.aagneyam.com/blog/?p=797

    66.Microsoft Network Monitor

    Microsoft Network Monitor is a network protocol analyzer that lets you capture, view, and analyze network traffic. Version 3.3 of Network Monitor is available in 32- and 64-bit versions

    67.Windows Sysinternals Suite

    The Windows Sysinternals Suite is a set of advanced tools for troubleshooting issues with Windows-based computers. These tools were originally developed by Winternals Software LP, which Microsoft acquired in 2006.

    http://download.sysinternals.com/Files/SysinternalsSuite.zip

    68.NTFS support for Mac OS.

    Mac OS X v10.3 and later include read-only support for NTFS-formatted partitions. The GPL-licensed NTFS-3G also works on Mac OS X through FUSE and allows reading and writing to NTFS partitions. A performance enhanced commercial version, called Tuxera NTFS for Mac, is also available from the NTFS-3G developers. NTFS write support has been discovered in Mac OS X 10.6, but has not been activated as of version 10.6.1, although hacks do exist to enable the functionality. However, user reports indicate the functionality is unstable and tends to cause kernel panics, probably the reason why write support has not been enabled or advertised.

    Download Tuxera NTFS for Mac 2010.9-RC

    69.15 Web Alternatives to Popular Desktop Software.

    Web applications have come a long way. They used to be amateur imitations of their desktop counterparts, with only one or two functions and not at all practical. But my, have these web apps grown. Web apps these days have become so powerful and useful that in some cases, they’ve begun to replace desktop software.

    http://web.appstorm.net/roundups/15-web-alternatives-to-popular-desktop-software/

    70.Top 6 Underground Search Engines You Never Knew About

    In many cases, these search engines are tapped into what is currently termed the “invisible web,” which is the information available on the Internet that standard search engines don’t have access to, because they are buried behind query forms or directory requests.

    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/top-7-underground-search-engines-knew/

    Stuff No On Told Me (but I learned anyway)

    Found this web comic today by Alex Noriega. Great insight. Great writing. Great illustrations:














    It’s fun to find a little inspiration when you aren’t looking for it.

    I hope this guy comes out with a book someday… It would sell well, and I’ll be one of the first people to buy it.

    Five-Minute Management Course

    Found this today… thought it was good enough to post here:

    Lesson 1

    A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next-door neighbor.

    Before she says a word, Bob says, “I’ll give you $800 to drop that towel.” After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob After a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 and leaves.

    The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, “Who was that?”

    “It was Bob the next door neighbor,” she replies.

    “Great!” the husband says, “did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?”

    Moral of the story

    If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.


    Lesson 2

    A priest offered a Nun a lift. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg. The priest nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg.

    The nun said, “Father, remember Psalm 129?” The priest removed his hand. But, changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again. The nun once again said, “Father, remember Psalm 129?”

    The priest apologized “Sorry sister but the flesh is weak”

    Arriving at the convent, the nun sighed heavily and went on her way.

    On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129 It said, “Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory.”

    Moral of the story

    If you are not well informed in your job, you might miss a great opportunity.


    Lesson 3

    A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out.

    The Genie says, “I’ll give each of you just one wish.”

    “Me first! Me first!” says the admin clerk. “I want to be in the Bahamas , driving a speedboat, without a care in the world.” Puff! She’s gone.

    “Me next! Me next!” says the sales rep. “I want to be in Hawaii , relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life.”

    Puff! He’s gone.

    “OK, you’re up,” the Genie says to the manager.

    The manager says, “I want those two back in the office after lunch.”

    Moral of the story

    Always let your boss have the first say.


    Lesson 4

    An eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing. A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him,

    Can I also sit like you and do nothing?”

    The eagle answered: “Sure , why not.”

    So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

    Moral of the story

    To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high > >> up.


    Lesson 5

    A turkey was chatting with a bull. “I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree,” sighed the turkey, “but I haven’t got the energy.”

    “Well, why don’t you nibble on some of my droppings?” replied the
    bull.

    They’re packed with nutrients.”

    The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree.

    He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.

    Moral of the story

    Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there.


    Lesson 6

    A little bird was flying south for the Winter. It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field. While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him.

    As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy.

    A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate.

    Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.

    Morals of the story

    (1) Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy.
    (2) Not everyone who gets you out of is your friend.
    (3) And when you’re in deep , it’s best to keep your mouth shut!

    THIS ENDS THE 5-MINUTE MANAGEMENT COURSE

    Out of Office Autoresponder template

    I’m going out of town soon, and will be out for 10 days, and have no idea if I’ll have access to email or voicemail, so I researched out of office away messages and leaned heavily on Tim Ferriss’s “Best and Worst of 2007″ to come up with something that I think works for me:

    Hey, it’s John here -

    I’m traveling on vacation and will return on Thursday, November 18th.

    http://meetwith.me/johnengler < --- That's my schedule

    All email I receive between now and 11/18 will be ignored until I return, so if you have an emergency, please contact one of the following people accordingly:

    Jessie
    Traffic Issues
    [email protected]
    (Contact Jessie for ....)

    Jack
    General Business Development Issues
    [email protected]
    (Jack can triage pretty much any situation and get you in touch with the right people inside the company if it's not traffic related)

    Shannon
    Accounting Issues
    [email protected]
    (if you have an AR or AP issues, email Shannon, and she'll take care of you)

    My goal is to make sure I'm not totally overwhelmed playing "catch-up" when I return, and I can hit the ground running and give you the immediate attention you deserve when I get back.

    Please note that I won't be answering the phone while I'm out either. I appreciate your courtesy in advance and look forward to our paths crossing again after November 18th.

    Best wishes,
    John

    Hoping that template will work for everyone that emails me!

    I also used this auto-responder for my more personal email addresses:

    Hey, it’s John here -

    I’m traveling on vacation and will return on Thursday, November 18th.

    http://meetwith.me/johnengler < --- That's my schedule

    All email I receive between now and 11/18 will be ignored until I return, so please resend your email after 11/18, if it's important.

    My goal is to make sure I'm not totally overwhelmed playing "catch-up" when I return, and I can hit the ground running and give you the immediate attention you deserve when I get back.

    I appreciate your courtesy in advance and look forward to our paths crossing again after November 18th.

    Thanks,
    John

    Blacksmithing

    Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve wanted to be a blacksmith. But not a regular blacksmith, making utiliarian things like horse shoes and what not… an artist… making jewelry or other gorgeous works of art.

    I was inspired by Joe Eason, who was a family friend and owner of the Eason Insurance company in Houston, TX. Joe also owned a log cabin in Oak Hill, Texas, right outside of Bellville where I grew up. The Eason’s were famous for having a large fireworks display at their farm every summer, and people from all over would drive in and line Highway 159. which ran right in front of their land, just to watch the show.

    Mr. Eason was a role model and hired my brother and I every winter to feed his cattle and buffalo. He also had his own smithy with a blacksmith’s forge in it, right outside his cabin, and that always inspired me.

    I was reminded of this longtime dream today, when I saw these utensils on ThinkGeek.com.

    Some day, I’d like to grow up to be a blacksmith. Someday.

    Looney Tunes in 2010

    Totally awesome. Looks like Looney Tunes, with it’s zany Coyote and the rapid Road Runner are set to come out on the Cartoon Network, fully updated for 2010, and to promote it, the publisher is running 3 three minute shorts in theater’s. Here’s a sneak preview of one:

    Can’t wait to see them in their full “updated for 2010″ glory!

    ShrinkIt (Smaller PDFs on a Mac)

    If you find yourself trying to send a PDF file, and it’s “too big” to send, or if you just want to have smaller PDFs in general, try using ShrinkIt from the smart guys at Panic.

    Iowa Bumper Sticker

    I just ordered this bumper sticker for a friend from MakeStickers.com

    David Ogilvy’s Rules on How to Write Potent Copy

    I recently read Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy, and thought it was an awesome book about the advertising business, A true classic.

    Ogilvy’s rules on How to Write Potent Copy:

    On Headlines:

    1. The headline is the most important part of the ad; it is what gets the reader’s attention and what makes them keep reading. Invite readers and do not say anything to exclude any readers.
    2. Every headline should appeal to the interest of the consumer.
    3. Try to put news in the headline. The words new and free are the most powerful words that can appear in the headline.
    4. There are several other words that are effective: How to, Suddenly, Now, Announcing, Improvement, etc. Headlines can also include emotional words.
    5. Five times as many people read the headlines and the body.
    6. Include a promise in the headlines, and longer headlines sell more than short headlines.
    7. If the headlines make the consumer curious, they will more likely read the body.
    8. Do not try to write tricky headlines, be simple and to the point.
    9. Do not use negatives in the headlines.
    10. Always make the headlines have a meaning.

    On Body Copy:

    1. Write the body as if you were recommending the product to a stranger.
    2. Do not try to impress the reader with big words, be simple and concise with the body.

    David Ogilvy’s Rules on How to Keep Clients

    I recently read Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy, and thought it was an awesome book about the advertising business, A true classic

    Ogilvy hated the idea of firing people the produced good work, but in the advertising field it was necessary when the advertising failed the client, and the client fired the agency (happens all the time today too)

    So here are Ogilvy’s rules on How to Keep Clients:

    1. Appoint the best people possible to each account, and do not let executives go after accounts, it makes them greedy.
    2. Avoid hiring unstable executives who are hard for people to get along with.
    3. Avoid taking clients who change agencies on a regular basis.
    4. Keep contact between the agency and the client on all levels of the business.

    He also added these bits to the above four rules: Never join two clients in one ad.  Never keep a client who has reduced the quality of their product.

    David Ogilvy’s Rules for Selecting New Clients

    I recently read Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy, and thought it was an awesome book about the advertising business, A true classic

    According to Ogilvy, the first clients are the hardest to get, but after you get a reputation of doing good work, companies start to seek you.

    Ogilvy’s Rules for Selecting New Clients:

    1. Only advertise products which you are proud to be associated with, never advertise a product that you don’t respect and don’t like.
    2. Never advertise for a company that you feel has better advertising than you can offer.
    3. Never advertise for a company that has had failing sales for a long period of time. This normally means that the advertising will not help the sales.
    4. Make sure that the client understands that the advertising agency has to make money as well; don’t make the client money while losing money from your own company.
    5. Question any account that would not be very profitable. If it gives you a chance to show off your skills to other potential clients, then take the account.
    6. Always find the motive for the client switching agencies, if he was let go from the previous agency, find out why.
    7. Do not take clients that put little importance in advertising.
    8. Never advertise for a product that is not yet on the market.
    9. Never take associations as clients.
    10. Only give in to the demand that a person be hired if you get the account if you feel that the person is capable of doing good work for your company

    And lastly, if a company publicly announces the companies which it is considering to do their advertising, do not try to get the account, if you do not get it, you will publicly be known for being inferior to the successful company in some way.

    David Ogilvy’s Rules on How To Build Great Campaigns

    I recently read Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy.

    Here are his rules on…

    How To Build Great Campaigns:

    1. What you say is more important than how you say it.
    2. Unless your campaign is built around a great idea, it will flop.
    3. Give the facts. (The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything.)
    4. You cannot bore people into buying.
    5. Be well-mannered, but don’t clown. (You should try to charm the consumer into buying.)
    6. Make your advertising contemporary.
    7. Committees can criticize advertisements, but they cannot write them.
    8. If you are lucky enough to write a good advertisement, repeat it until it stops pulling.
    9. Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your own family to read.
    10. The image and the brand. (Every advertisement should be thought of as a contribution to the complex symbol which is the brand image.)
    11. Don’t be a copy-cat.

    David Ogilvy’s Rules on How To Be A Good Client

    I recently read Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy, and thought it was an awesome book about the advertising business, even if it was written in the 60s by a man who started an agency in 1952.

    Here are his rules on…

    How To Be A Good Client:

    1. Emancipate your agency from fear.
    2. Select the right agency in the first place.
    3. Brief your agency very thoroughly indeed.
    4. Do not compete with your agency in the creative area.
    5. Coddle the goose who lays the golden egg. (provide enough time and resources to do the job well.)
    6. Don’t strain your advertising through too many layers.
    7. Make sure your agency makes a profit.
    8. Don’t haggle with your agency.
    9. Be candid and encourage candor.
    10. Set high standards.
    11. Test everything.
    12. Hurry. (Profit is a function of time.)
    13. Don’t waste time on problem babies (Back your successes and abandon  your losses.)
    14. Tolerate genius.
    15. Don’t under spend. (The surest way to overspend on advertising is not to spend enough to do the job properly.)

    requires Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or greater.

    I use a great little menubar item called Mail Unread Menu that has been telling me that there is an update available every few minutes all morning. The funny thing is that it “requires Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or greater” which isn’t even available until tomorrow…

    And yet, every few minutes, it politely interupts me and tells me that there’s an update available, even though I can’t actually take advantage of the upgrade until tomorrow. WTF?

    Meetings and Masturbation on a Schedule

    I’m reminded of this quote this morning from Dave Barry after reading an article on scheduling and meetings by Paul Graham:

    “Meetings are an addictive highly self-indulgent activity that corporations and other organizations habitually engage in only because they cannot actually masturbate.” – Dave Barry

    I’ve only worked at one organization that used meetings well all the time. It was simple: we had a one hour all company meeting once a week that lasted no longer than an hour. Anytime we met outside of that, I think we wasted a lot of time… because we weren’t as focused, and we’d already met that week and discussed some of what was on the schedule for that “other” meeting. If we’d have just focused on limiting all group contact to that one weekly meeting I think people would have gotten really good at communicating everything they needed to quickly and efficiently, and we would have left “the makers” a lot more time to get shit done… but hindsight is always 20/20, isn’t it?

    Integrity questions

    When you aren’t sure if you’re keeping you integrity, ask yourself these questions:

    1. What do I know to do?
    2. What am I saying I will do?
    3. What do others expect me to do, even though I haven’t said I will do it?
    4. What do I have to do to have my work complete?
    5. What do I have to do so that it’s done the way it has to be done to be considered complete?

    Now you just got a crap load of squares

    Classic line: “Look at that, now you just got a crap load of squares”.

    Fifteen Mac Applications for Affiliates and Affiliate Marketers

    Here’s a quick list of applications I use on my Mac all the time as an affiliate marketer. Hope you find some use from these apps. I do:

    • BBEdit – is a catch all text editor for me. I use it for everything, from taking notes when talking to affiliates and advertisers, to debugging HTML, to writing PHP code. Truly the best money I’ve ever invested, and I’m not a developer at all anymore… but I’m hooked on BBEdit for sure. Super powerful multi-file find/replace (even using GREP patterns)… syntax coloring when looking at HTML and more (or in my case PHP)… if it’s related to text… you name it and I bet you BBEdit’s got it. If you’re too cheap to pony up to BBEdit, get TextWrangler for free. It’s not BBEdit, but has enough of the good stuff to be a lot better than TextEdit.
    • HTTP Client – bills itself as “A Mac OS X Leopard developer tool for debugging HTTP services by graphically creating & inspecting complex HTTP messages.” I love this program, because, while I’m technically savvy enough to understand the terminal and the concepts behind the power of curl and other programs, I really don’t want to have to learn those tools just to test a few things, or figure out what redirects are really involved in some of the tracking links I’m looking at, etc… I use it as a digital Sherlock Holmes type of application for the most part, following redirects so I can really find out who is involved in the different levels of online advertising: for example who owns an offer, and who are they running it through. Very handy.
    • Interarchy – My FTP client of choice. I’ve used Interarchy for about 10 years now, I guess. Back then it was called Anarchy, and it’s only gotten better with age. I use it to download lots of files from my remote servers on a schedule, so I have them when I get into the office. I use it to edit files on the server (combined with BBEdit, above, that is). I use it to download entire websites, when I want to keep a copy of them locally. I also use it to mirror certain directories on my compupter, and sync them up with a remote directory, so I’ve always got a backup of my most important stuff in one place.
    • JungleDisk – Remote backup, cheap and blindly easy. I signed up for this service after I lost my hard drive on my laptop the third time. Man, talk about easy remote backups of your important files. I now have it installed on all of my computers (my office iMac, my MacBook Pro, the wife’s MacBook, and our Mac Mini (that we use as a media center)). It’s brain-dead backups are super simple to set up, but more importantly, if I’m on one machine, and need a file from another machine, because I backup files once an hour on all of the computers, I can always find what I need, just by accessing the backups through my JungleDisk powered “network drive” that sits on my desktop.
    • AdiumX – This Instant Messenger client for Mac OS X, is like iChat without the hassle, and with 4 more cylinders. Adium supports all of the major IM services (AIM, MSN, YahooIM, GTalk, ICQ, MobileMe, Facebook, MySpace, and more) and puts them all on steriods, while keeping them in once place. It’s super configurable, and totally customizable, with oodles and oodles of custom “Extras” built by the community of users that use it. Get it, and take iChat out of your dock. You’ll thank me later.
    • NetNewsWire – The Best Damn RSS Reader for Mac. Period. I’ve used NetNewsWire since it was in early early beta, and have tried all of the other RSS Readers, and have always come back to NNW. I even paid for it back before the developer, Brent Simmons, sold it to NewsGator. Thanks to NewsGator syncing, I can read my feeds on my laptop, desktop or iPhone, and never get out of sync, or have to “re-read” a bunch of stuff I’ve already read. I use this to keep up with news in general, and with offers and blog posts coming from Shawn Collins, Jay Weintraub, or Sam Harrelson, or from networks like ClickBooth, etc…
    • Launchbar – I user LaunchBar to get to everything on my Mac without having to go find it. It’s an application launcher, address book interface, and more. Install it, configure it, and hit “command+space” to find someone’s contact info, launch an application, or find a file. Super time-saver.
    • ServerSiren – Need to keep track of whether your servers are up or not? ServerSiren does this for you, and tells you about it in your menubar. Totally a life saver that one time your server goes down.
    • MUMenu – This is a brain-dead simple to use menu bar that will check MacUpdate once a day for you, and tell you what software you have that is out of date, and let you get the update for it really easily.
    • LittleSnitch – Tells me when an application is trying to access something over the internet that maybe I don’t want it to, and let’s me stop it dead in its tracks. Great application for keeping your Mac from revealing too much information without telling you it’s going to do that.
    • VLC – Great for when you want to wind down a little bit. This media player supports everything Quicktime doesn’t, and looks great doing it. Also get Flip4Mac while your at it. It let’s Quicktime play .WMV files. Comes in handy for watching those video clips your uncle or cousin sends you that you know they’re going to ask you about when you see them next.
    • ImageWell – Need a way to quickly edit an image, upload it to a server, and give you the HTML code to put it into a blog post, etc? ImageWell does that and more. I use this app every day.
    • A Better Finder Rename – Ever need to rename a whole bunch of files quickly? ABFR has been around forever, and makes this a painless task. It can pretty much rename files using any method you want, including searching for patterns in file names, and replacing parts of the names using different patterns. Love it!
    • MAMP – A quick and painless way to set up Apache, MySQL and PHP on a Mac. Gives me a super configurable and easily installed lightweight development environment on my machine, so when I can’t get to the server, or don’t want to, I can do some work. If you don’t write code, you don’t need this.
    • SnapzProX – Best Mac OS screenshot and screen recording application out there. Only one thing it doesn’t do, Full Page screenshots. For that, I use Little Snapper which also creates a nice iPhoto like library of all of your screen shots.

    Oh, and if you’re looking for a sweet deal on Mac software, check out MacUpdate’s latest MUPromo where you can get $500 worth of software for $49, including Parallels and Tech Tool Pro.

    Feedback Loops and Whitelists

    Email marketers often ask me two questions:

    “where is a list of all of the feedback loops (commonly called FBLs)” and “where can I get whitelisted?”

    In general ISPs will give an email sender feedback on their sending practices, in the standard Abuse Feedback Reporting Format (ARF) but not always.

    So here’s a list that I’ll try to update as I find new or corrected sources:

    Feedback Loops (FBL):

    White Lists:

    Keep in mind that due to the sheer volume of requests, it can take days or weeks, or sometimes even months to get approved for a FBL account at any given ISP or to get whitelisted. And in some cases, ISPs just stop taking applications at any given time to catch up on the backlog…

    The following ISPs don’t provide FBLs or White Lists that I know of, but you can check these pages to find out how to follow up with them if your mail is getting blocked:

    SenderScore

    And lastly, every commercial or bulk mail sender should be SenderScore Certified. Do that here: http://www.returnpath.net/commercialsender/certification/

    Entrepreneurship is… throwing yourself off a cliff, and building a plane on the way down.

    “Entrepreneurship is throwing yourself off a cliff, and building a plane on the way down.” -Reid Hoffman, CEO of LinkedIN.

    Fingerprint Enabled Locks

    The founder, Joshua Baer, of the last company I worked at had biometric locks on his house, or at least on parts of his house. And one day one of the broke. And he blogged, or twittered about it being broke, which got me to thinking, maybe I should look into some sort of biometric or fingerprint lock based system.

    I mean who hasn’t lost their key to their house? We’ve had to call the locksmith out at least twice in the past three years because we’d lost the keys… And we’d already lost the key before we used the copy that was in the back yard under that special rock, so that when we really lock our keys, we had to break a window or call the locksmith: Note to self, don’t break the window in the room with the window break monitor, and then expect to be able to explain to the police why you have a locksmith at your house and a broken window ;)

    So anyways… We need a lock we can get into without a key, because I just don’t fit in the doggy door anymore.

    I found a company that sells fingerprint locks and they have lots of options that I’m really interested in… how cool would it be for my kids to grow up without having to carry a key to their house with them?

    I never did as a small kid, because we grew up in a small town and honestly didn’t lock our doors. In fact, I’m pretty sure my mom still doesn’t lock her doors… but in Austin, we have to. How cool would it be for the kids to grow up without keys? I’m sure one day they won’t have to carry keys at all. Now I’m all Jetsony…

    World of Warcraft – Buying an Account and Key Codes

    About 4.5 years ago, my oldest son Jack was born. That summer, I bought a copy of World of Warcraft, or WOW as it has come to be called. And I waited until we were in the hospital after the baby was born to open it and install it.

    I had no idea what it was. I figured it was just the next version of Warcraft, which I’d LOVED playing in college.

    Come to find out, it was what it is… a massive online role-playing game. But there was one problem: I couldn’t play it at the hospital. I had to get online.

    So I waited until we got home, and booted it up one night around midnight, while feeding the baby. And I started to play. And play I did.

    I played WoW almost every day, for three or four hours at a time. It got so bad (I loved playing it so much) that I was even playing it during the day sometimes, while I was at work. Heh… Good times.

    I played until I got to Level 60 (the highest you could go at the time), and I was pretty good. I started a guild, and got it to like 100 members, and had some “good friends” on WoW. And then Blizzard came out with an upgrade. Their first for the game. And I realized that I was screwed. I was going to end up playing even more WoW. So one day, I decided to quit. And I did.

    Cold Turkey.

    I sold everything I had… gave away all of the gold to my guild members, and turned over the guild to one of my co-leaders.

    And it was like quitting cocaine or heroin, I’d imagine. It was tough. Trust me… quitting cold turkey like that. What was I going to do with all of that extra time? Heh.

    Now that the boys are getting older, I’m actually starting to think about playing WoW again, but I don’t want to start over again at Level 1… at least not for my main character. So I’ve been looking into buy a character.

    In my research, I’ve found BuyMMOAccounts.com, which offers cheap Alliance WoW Accounts, cheap Horde WoW accounts, wow key codes, and more. And the super Elite accounts they have aren’t all that expensive when you consider how long it takes one to actually achieve level 80. I found this Level 80 Human Death Knight for under $700, with two additional characters.

    And they offer a 100% unconditional guarantee on the securitve of any accounts you purchase.

    Love it. When I’m ready to jump back into WoW, I’m headed to BuyMMOAccounts.com.

    Cheap Webhosting Comparisons

    A friend of mine called me the other day, and asked “where can I host a cheap website?” He knows I have 20 or 30 websites that I run personally, and another 100 or so for work, so I’m his “in the know” guy.

    I told him my personal websites were hosted at Dreamhost, but that I use one of the PS servers, due to load issues on my sites, so I wouldn’t qualify what I’m doing with Dreamhost as “cheap” even though it’s a fantastic value and that he should look at 4cheapwebhosting.com as I’ve heard that have a great list of the Best Cheap Web Hosting options available.

    They have a great list of good cheap hosts, on their front page, but the real power of their site is their search engine of cheap web hosting companies and plans. I found a few good free plans for him: some really good ones in the $5/month range, and a bunch of good options in the under $10/month range. But they don’t stop with just “cheap” web hosting plans. They also have lots of dedicated server plans in their database too, which while I wouldn’t consider “cheap” per se, I value the ability to find all of the options available to me in one place.

    I’ll definitely look at them if I ever need to find a cheap web host again.

    Bigger Stronger Faster

    I just watched a documentary called “Bigger Strong Faster” while on the plane ride home from a funeral.

    It was an interesting commentary on the effects of steroids inside a family, but also on the effects of steroids on the whole American culture… or maybe it was the effects of the American culture on the use of steroids.

    Well written and directed documentary, that I’d encourage everyone to watch.

    $17 for the DVD from Amazon.

    Advanced Search in Mail.app

    Why doesn’t Mail.app have “advanced search” features?

    I’d really really like to see Apple add a way to quickly search for a certain value in the “from” field, and another in the “subject line”.

    I konw they have “smart mailboxes” and that’s useful for things I want to have quickly accessible over and over, but for quick one off searches, a way to do a quick advanced search would be really helpful.

    Social Media is weird

    If someone “friends” me on facebook, I usually just accept the request and move on. Sometimes people I really don’t know friend me… and I have no idea why. Take this recent facebook chat for example:

    Charley: hi

    John: hi there

    Charley: you not talking to me for a wile

    John: not for a long time

    Charley: lol

    John: do we actually know each other? I can’t remember…

    Charley: hm…
    Charley: no…/

    John: so, why are we friends on facebook?

    Charley: hm.. dont no

    John: lol.
    John: that’s classic.

    Charley: so you wont to be m8s

    John: we’ve never met
    John: how could we me mates?

    Charley: dont no up to u

    John: lol

    I unfriended him after that, btw.

    the end of any nation


    “You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government can not give to anybody anything the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”
    - Dr. Adrian Rogers 1931-2005

    Great quotes, courtesy of Peter Shankman

    Read these quotes today, courtesy of Peter Shankman, on a listserv I’m on:

    For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return. 
    - Leonardo da Vinci

    “Come to the edge.”  “We might fall.” “Come to the edge.” “It’s too high!” “Come to the edge. ” And they came,  and he pushed,  And they flew.  –  Guillaume Apollinaire   

    I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. Confucius 

    Fortune favors the bold. Virgil

    Courage doesn’t always shout. Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, “I will try again tomorrow”. 

    It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop. – Confucius 

    Cielos Azules
    (blue skies)

    Just laugh. Be safe. Love life. 

    “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” – Anonymous

    “Somewhere in the world someone is training when you are not. When you race him, he will win.” – Tom Fleming

    The only easy day was yesterday – USN SEAL HQ motto

    “The road to success is always under construction”

    “The only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones, is how we use them”

    “When you see someone putting on his running shoes,
    you can be pretty sure that an adventure is about to happen.”
                                                    -  Winnie the Pooh

    The reason someone wants to rain on your parade is because they don’t have one of their own.

    The Crisis of Credit

    Pretty good movie here that explains a lot about the credit crisis we’re in now:

    The Darwin Awards

    Just watched “The Darwin Awards” on a plane ride from SLC to AUS, and I have to say this has got to be one of the best movies I’ve ever watched. Joseph Fiennes is hilarious, and Wynona Rider is super hot. There are some great cameos in the movie that make it totally worth watching… And movie that can work “Radar Love” into the story line is a bad ass movie. I have to get a spork, and start carrying it with me all the time. Oh, and a helium balloon too. And there’s a Metallica concert to boot. Holy shit, best movie I’ve seen in a long time.