Archive for the 'stuff' Category

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DNS issues… ?!?

Note: written on 9/5 in the evening:

Argh, there’s nothing more annoying than having issues with your DNS. I can get to about half of the internet, but not to my own websites (while I’m writing this that is).

It’s pretty annoying — its been like this since I got home from work at 6. No idea when it’ll get fixed, or what the problem is.

While I surf, I have to say that I like Scott‘s new HighTechMarketing101 and just re-read his 5 Accounting Tips for Startups. Thanks again Scott.

OSCommerce looks pretty cool… need to keep an eye on that one, for future use potentially.

I’ll be keeping an eye on surfMind, as it looks like Andy is going to work on Scott’s request for a rich editor for Mozilla. Cool.

I have to say that through this whole episode of not being able to get online… Google was the only site that was fully functional, the entire time. Also, I couldn’t reach the AOL Java AIM server, so I had to boot up iChat to get any conversations going… annoying.

Even Apple.com was slow, and they use akamai for all of their images… odd… very odd. Also, I find it sort of sad that Apple uses WebTrendsLive to get stats on their website… I mean, doesn’t it seem odd that they’re aren’t using something built in Web Objects to tell them what their servers are doing?

[later] it’s now 7:55 am on 9/6, and I’m just now getting to my own websites… who can explain Murphy?

SnapzPro X to the rescue

Doc wanted to know how to capture instant JPGs instead of TIFF files with Mac OS X. I sent him an email recommending SnapzPro X from Ambrosia. Great software, and cheap to… and it even auto-uploads via FTP if you want it to. Wow, I didn’t even know that.

looking over the business plan, and thoughts…

I just re-read my business plan answers this morning, tweaked them a bit and am readying them to send off to my partners… Seems like I’m really gung ho for this stuff to get started, so that we all know it’ll end sometime soon (at least the hard part will end, and we can always tweak things). Can’t wait to see their answers.

I’d also like to point out that we’re looking for a designer, so if you know any that are cheap, and good, and wouldn’t mind working with us to work out our ideas, we’d love to talk to them.

Life’s funny sometimes… I often find myself wonering if this is the best thing to be doing, but also knowing the answers as soon as I ask it. If the past 4 years of full-time employment have taught me anything its this: “A good job, is one you enjoy 51% of the time. A better job is one that you enjoy because you have a stake in it personally. The best job is one that reqards you for the things you do on a daily basis.” Most people don’t even have ‘good’ jobs. I have one, but am looking for a ‘best’ job with this new venutre.

New OS X Tip from Ken

Ken Bereskin has finally posted a new tip for Jaguar, this one shows how CMD+Shift+4 can be used to do a screenshot of a window, or selection area. Cool Ken. He also shows how it can be invoked from the command line…

Getting a bum Moveable Type installation to work…

This morning, I met Scott online, and gave him the moral support to get MT installed, because his Radio installation/use sucks due to the dependance of IE on Windows for a Rich Editor. MT doesn’t have a rich editor, and we can’t find one on google for Mozilla, but will continue to look, I’m sure. Scott’s actually interested in funding the project for Moz, which is cool. Anyways, Scott’s got MT installed for the most part now, and will no dobt spend some time trying to get it into a usable form, so he can think about moving to MT from Radio (though, since he wrote a book on Radio, I’m sure that won’t happen completely anytime soon)… Good luck getting it working more Scott.

hosting provider agreement nailed down…

Today, I took a long lunch at work, and went over to Dallas to start our hosting plan for the new venture at the Planet. We’re going with the entry level solution (slight modifications: see below) for now, as it’s a good deal, and more than we’ll likely need for the first 6 months, but right on par with what we’ll need for the second 6 months.

  • 1U Space-saving chassis
  • Dual Integrated Intel Nics
  • 100Gb of Internap bandwidth or 200Gb of Cogent bandwidth
  • Pentium 4 @ 1.6Ghz Processor
  • 8 MB Video Card
  • 1IP 4IPs with 99.9% SLA
  • 256MB 512MB of Ram
  • Rackspace in a World Class Datacenter
  • 40GB ATA 100 7200RPM Hard Drive
  • Linux or Windows 2000 Server
  • Setup = ONLY $149
  • Monthly Recurring Charge = ONLY $149

Should be a good solution, and we’ll see how things go after a couple of months. The contract term is for 12 months, but we’re thinking we can quite easily get out of it by twisting a couple of arms. We also looked at

Host Solutions, and may still use them as an alternate provider, should we decide we need a good 100% back up solution, or if perhaps we need a place for cheap bandwidth. We also quickly considered netStep, but shied away for reasons only explained by the words ‘free hosting’ and ‘barter agreement’.

It was a good meeting, and we totally dug the facilities of the data center. I’ve seen a few data centers in my time, and nothing compares to what the Planet has available. If you’re looking for a world class colo-provider, or managed hosting provider, call the guys at the Planet… specifically, Mike Singleton. He hooked us up, and can no doubt to the same for you.

I’ve always dreamt of working at Apple.

Here’s how not to get a job there. Thanks to Adam for writing it up… a little humor in my otherwise busy life. [via diveintomark].

Speaking of Missing the old Happy Mac Boot Screen.

missing that old Happy Mac Boot Screen?

Replace the current Jaguar boot screen with one of your own.

[via MoreLikeThis]

Great editorial on the current Presidency

I’ve never really looked into the backgrounds of our president’s advisors, but there is a great editorial here that talks about how lackluster the performance has been from them, and touches on why. Good read.

drive 10 worked, Chimera downloaded…

Well, I ran Drive 10, great application now that it’s at version 10.1.1. It pretty much sucked at verion 10.0. It fixed a few node errors that I had, and I really wanted to optimize the drive, but its a 20GB drive with only 2GB free, so it seemed like a sort of waste of time at this point. When I get the iMac back from the shop, and get the orphaned files off this machine, then I’ll revisit the idea.

In the meantime, I’ve downloaded Chimera, a gecko based OS X only web browser. Wow!

Super fast, and all the things I like about Mozilla with out all of the bloat. Loving it so far, and will likely keep it installed as my main browser for a while… It has some display issues on certain websites (it’s at version 0.40), but not that many of them that are important to me ;)

some problems with the iBook

So, my iMac (bought in 1998) is currently in the shop getting the CD drive replaced (can you believe they sold me a 5 year warranty on that thing) which means that the iBook is getting quite a bit of use, much more than its used to, and that the little 20GB drive is full of data that really belongs on the iMac, like our Quicken files, about 8 GBs of MP3s, and all of our photos from iPhoto.

I’ve been noticing some problems with the iBook like Mozilla 1.1 crashing a whole lot more than it ought to, a couple of problems with connectivity the source of which is either my Airport Base Station, or our DSL Router, but due to the nature of DHCP and Airport, I can’t connect to the DSL router when I’m wireless, and thus can’t really troubleshoot them both at the same time (need the iMac back). I’ve also noticed some disk related problems that I can’t really pinpoint (thanks to there not being any really good OS X disk utilites out there yet).

I’m going to try to fix the disk problems this afternoon/evening with Drive 10 from Micromat, and then I’ll run XOptimize on the machine, to update the prebindings, then I’ll look at some other options that my buddy Lon recommended, and likely will start asking him more questions about simple maintenance in the OS X environment (I’m horrible about maintaining my Macs). I’ll likely post a ‘best practices article later.

testing Kung Log

This is a test post using Kung-Log which looks pretty good at this point. I had to install SOAP:Lite for my MT implementation, and so that Kung-Log would work, but that really wasn’t all that tough, thanks to the excellent documentation of MoveableType’s authors…

On a side note, I’m noticing some display errors with IE 5.2 on Mac OS X 10.2, so if you’re not reading this site in a Georgia font, either you don’t have that font installed, or you should reload the page, so see that the CSS file loaded properly… oddities are just odd.

So, if you read this, then Kung-Log works just fine…

new feature…

I’ve wanted to display what I was currently listening to in iTunes for quite some time now, on my website, but I just hadn’t gotten around to it until now. Today marks the addition of “iTunes – What’s Playing Now?” to the sidebar of this weblog. “How’d he do it?” You might ask. I’ll tell you.

I went to VersionTracker’s OS X page, and searched for iTunes. This gave me a listing of different software packages with iTunes in the description, or the title. I scrolled through the results, until I found Kung-Tunes from Kung-Foo

Next I’m planning on checking out Kung-Log, an applescript app to update MovableType weblogs… neato…

What would I pay for Style?

Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

This is the lesson that Seth Godin wants you to learn in his latest prose. He uses Hershey, and their parks, compared to Disney and Apple to show you that Style is Free, just like Quality is Free.

Read the story here. I shouldn’t have to pay for style… in the long run.

its all about the experience

Kalsey pointed out an article on Business Week Online called E-Commerce: It’s All About the Experience that makes the remark “A technically proficient Web site is just half the battle. Without quality service — and an enjoyable process — customers won’t return.”

The article mainly discusses problems in today’s e-commerce, and I see a lot of what it talks about in my current employer’s e-commerce implementation (I’m not calling it a strategy, because there isn’t any of that at my employer’s company).

Gosh, there are some great little nuggets like “Customers have to enjoy their relationship with a business or they won’t develop loyalty” and “[companies] think that offering lower prices or bigger selection is enough to keep customers coming back, even if the ultimate purchasing process is marred by problems with deliveries or returns” and I can’t help pointing this one out: “the Web is no different from conventional stores and catalogs. Some treat their clients well, others don’t. Over time, buyers tend to stick with the former and turn their backs on the latter.”

This one quote: “To be honest, I don’t even think anymore about whether I’m getting a better price on Amazon: That’s not my principle motivator. Rather, I continue to use it because it’s hassle-free. The outfit seems to go out of its way to take care of me — even if that occasionally means eating some extra cost.” really drives is home for me. I agree completely with the author in that the store that makes it easiest for me to get what I want, when I want it the most wins my business.

That’s why I shop at Tom Thumb instead of Albertsons. They got me in the door with an ‘airline mile for groceries’ deal, and have kept me there with great customer service and variety of products. I almost never read the circulars from other stores anymore, and shop the sales items more than I normally would, because I just know they are giving me a great deal (whether they really are or not is of course debatable.

Message to e-commerce sites: Focus on your customers, ’cause all you’ll have left after they’re gone is your ‘damned cool’ technology.

no smile missing here

Apple got rid of the ‘happy mac’ icon greeting on startup that has graced the Macintosh for so many year with Jaguar. I’ve heard a lot of complaints about that, but the best comment I’ve heard so far comes from Andy:

“The smiling face is still there every time I boot my Mac. It’s just not reflected back anymore.”

Perfect… thanks Andy.

Apple PR Stunt?

In case you didn’t know, Ken Berekstein, Mac OS X Product Manager, is attempting to blog the 150 new features of Mac OS X. Pretty interesting idea, and I hope he can keep up the momentum.

The real interesting part of this experiment by Ken, is that to me it really seems as if Apple is just jumping on the ‘blog bandwagon’ without fully endorsing Ken’s actions as their own. I mean, Apple has traditionally frowned upon their own employees putting their own name on something. A few years ago, when Jobs came back as iCEO, Apple stopped employees from listing their names in Apple branded about screens, and every time I spoke with an Apple employee in the past they were very, very carful about what they spoke about.

So, it really seems to me that if Apple is allowing this employee to start telling people about the benefits of Jaguar, then they have to be behind it, and they have to be endorsing it. I would even suppose that they are reading the material before its released, and approving it, though that might be taking it a bit too far.

It’s just really odd to see an Apple employee speaking publicly about a product.

At the same time, there are plenty of other Mac OS X sites out there that’ll point you to new features, and probably a lot faster than Ken will be able to do so:

Mac OS X Hints

O’Reilly’s MacDevcenter

Apple’s Developer Pages

MacNet Journal

And Many Many More… Just make sure you realize that anything coming from Ken’s blog will be a positive about Mac OS X, as that’s his paycheck he’s writing about…

Customer Centricity

Ever heard of it? I hadn’t until recently. I downloaded a report from the Vanderbilt eLab research manuscript area that describes Customer Centrity as “… maximizing the understanding of our customers within a time frame and a context ń short of long duration ń to achieve business objectives and maximize customer value.”

I read over the report and thought to myself “is this any different than what I’ve been preaching at my current place of work for the last 18 months?” The answer to that question is “no,” but I haven’t used those words. I’ve read a lot of books recently like Good to Great and Built to Last, and the funny thing is that they also talk about customer focused companies that are very successful, too, but they don’t deal stricly with the internet, which is what the eLab does – quite well I might add.

So, I picked up a few great nuggets that I’d like to share with you:

The many-to-many communication model reverses the traditional one-to-many broadcasting paradigm. Any user can be an information provider.

This is being proven today many times over by the decline of mass media and the proliferation of weblogs. You see, any user can be an information provider, and many all becoming one. I turn to many sources that are 360° from the sources I turned to a year ago for vital information. I read as many different things as I can during the course of the day, and still don’t find enough differing viewpoints to satisfy my urge… I surely don’t watch all that much TV anymore, except for the local news program every once and a while, and for some entertainment, but even then, only rarely.

The Web, much more so than traditional media environments, allows customers to alternate between experiential (non-directed, “fun”) behavior and goal-directed (“work”) behavior. Online commerce must take account of both.

I absolutely agree that this is one place that the majority of the marketing people out there just aren’t “getting it”. The people behind traditional marketing are trying desperately to put into context what they’re learning on the web, but the problem is that their context is all wrong.

You see, as this article states, “Traditional marketers think that we on the Web are markets. They define a market as a group of people who will respond favorably (i.e., 2% twitch) to a message.” But people on the internet don’t fit into a ‘market’ yet, and likely won’t until the internet adoption rate is up there around 90%, and when that happens, there’ll be so many places to find information, unless a marketing agency recommends to the ‘big companies’ out there that they need to transform their voice into a bunch of little voices speaking intently about their products, to the people that want to hear about them, they’ll miss out on a lot of sales.

We’ve still got a lot to learn about the web, and marketing on the web, but the key to all of this is that customers on the web require customer centricity. But they call it ‘giving a shit about me’.

cluetrain, gonzo and a swiftkick

Lately, I’ve been reading Gonzo Marketing, and just ordered Cluetrain Manfesto from Amazon, and I have to say that I agree with a lot of what they books are about. Mainly that traditional marketing and mass media approach to the internet are all wrong (from what I’ve read so far).

So today, while watching the VMAs, I read this article and was blown away again. This group of authors is on to something.

The Two Reasons Marketers Don’t Understand the Web

And why they will continue to get it wrong.

August 28, 2002 – It’s really very simple:

1. They can’t tell the difference between a party and a market.

2. They think it’s their party.

You’ve got to go read the article. And there are some great nuggets in the comments:

If a website gets really annoying I’ll stop using it. If it makes me jump through too many hoops to get to the place/info I want to get to then I’ll shop elsewhere. Something for website “owners” to consider. –Tammy

As David rightly points out, the problem with marketers/advertisers is that they think it’s their party. Despite the fact that they’ve determined a theme and paid for the affair (i.e. website), they really aren’t in control. People/users attend as they wish and leave early if it’s boring. They don’t come back and they tell their friends. –Susan

If a business can truly relate to the values of their clients, no matter what the product/services, they will have good business, with or without marketing hype. Most succesful companies do have a (almost) personal relationship with their major clients. –Dmitri

Today’s quote… seems totally applicable

“To know the road ahead, ask those coming back” — Chinese Proverb

Today starts a new day

I’ve been thinking about testing MovableType for a while… and today is the first day I’ve gotten around to trying it… we’ll see what becomes of this…