Found 29 results for tag "pr"

FIRE SALE!

What we have left!
If you haven't heard the news yet, Keat and I are moving to Japan. Therefore, we need to downsize our belongings. Some of these belongings include extra copies of our books, so we've decided to host a Fire Sale of our remaining inventory!

In order to move what we have left, all books are $5 flat! That's right, we'll cover the cost of shipping to anywhere in the US, because we need to move these things.

Spread the word, tell your friends, and help us get rid of our inventory, because we can't take it with us when we leave the country!

You can only get this deal on our Square store - not Amazon, not at a local book store, not anywhere else!

And once our inventory runs out, that's it (for this sale). Click on the titles below to purchase:


The Night Blade series is actually going to go through a minor revision, and will be re-released with new covers, and that should happen early 2017.


Tags:#nightblade #thekingsrose #lunarproductions #firesale #japan

Become a Beta Reader!

Beta Reader! As part of a way to help spread the word, and to have my fans help me, I've created a "Beta Reader Program." Basically as a Beta Reader, you'll get 2 things:

  1. An unedited manuscript of my latest book, which I hope you can provide some feedback, and
  2. A mention in the acknowledgement section of the book you helped edit.


That's all I have right now. I'm sure I'll add more as more books come out.

If you would like to become a Beta Reader for me, please visit http://kylemperkins.com/beta-reader!


Tags:#betareader #fans #program

Latest Project: The Story

I thought I'd write a post about my latest project, because of various reasons. First, I want to make sure I get this idea out of my head and onto something referable, and so I can get some feedback on the concept to see if it is viable before I put it a lot of research (because this is going to take a lot of research).

So here it goes: *Ahem*

The whole idea is to make a spoof novel (or series) about novels. Basically, breaking the 4th wall of a story. If there is a way to go against the grain of a "book," I'm hoping to find a way.

The Story (yes, that's what I'm calling it)itself starts out with every evil villain's dream: he has finally taken over the world. How? It doesn't matter....oh wait, it does, but that will be covered in "The Sequel: A Prequel" (that's the title of the 2nd book). Maybe a 3rd one could be called "What Happened Afterwards"...?

Regardless, Tag, the main antagonist (or is he the protagonist?) rules the world. Everything is under his control. And for the first few weeks, it's pure bliss and chaos! But after realizing that the challenge is gone, he gets bored. There's nothing new to do; everything is under his ruling - his minions, the public, the economy, everything!

What else can he do? He searches for a hero to fight, but who would want to fight the evil powerful overlord of the world? Not many, but that's what he wants to do. He's the ruler of the world, and gosh dang it, he's gonna find one!


I have a few ideas on how to break the 4th wall, including having Tag address the reader, create a theme song for himself, acknowledging typos, and even referencing the already published book for a few ideas.

My research is going to consist of studying a lot of Mel Brooks films (would that be called "work"?) since he loves breaking the 4th wall (along with a few other things). Some people may think that this is a rewrite of Megamind, and you'd be right, but instead of the hero wanting to retire and disappearing, this takes another perspective from the villain and puts him into an idealistic scenario.

Sure the novel may not be able to be turned into an audiobook or even a broadcast, but I think it'll be a fun adventure.


Tags:#thestory #melbrooks #tag #lunarproductions

My Thoughts on Writing

As I finish Chapter 5 of my 3rd novel, I thought I'd transcribe some of my thoughts on the writing process, hopefully helping out friends and other fellow writers.

  • Word Quota: sets a goal to strive for, and helps with keeping yourself accountable and trackable (additionally, it lets you know when you last wrote, so you know if you slacked off or not). NaNoWriMo helped me out with this by setting a "50,000 words in 30 days" goal. At first, I thought it was insane! I honestly said, "50,000 words? I don't even think I've written 50,000 words in my life! That's impossible." Well, I tried it, and after tracking my progress, I write 60,000 words in 21 days - hence, my first novel (of 4). So it is possible, and when you approach your word goal, it's like the final stretch in a race - anything over that is just gravy.

  • Know your tense: my first novel was written in "3rd Person Singluar Present Tense", which meant that the rest of the books in the series had to be in the same tense. I realized that after my first book was published. If only I knew that I should have written it in past tense, but it works out well to my advantage because it really grabs the reader and puts them into a story at play

  • Write what you know: scripting can only get you so far. Only you experience what you experience, so write about it. Use it as inspiration. Change it up to make it more interesting. Additionally, write down your dreams. Sometimes, they are memorable, sometimes they are interesting. They could be your next story.

  • Stuck? Just start writing. You can change it later: I would always get stuck at the early hours in the morning, and would have no idea how to proceed. After just typing out a few words, the rest of the story proceeded, and I kept on writing. Sure, I had to change a few things afterwards, but that's what editing is for.

  • Get a good editor! You may save a few bucks by editing yourself, but try to get an unbiased approach so anything new is caught and you aren't overlooking things because you are familiar with your story.

  • Sometimes, the story writes itself: I've been writing a script for the past 7 years for my first series of novels. Interestingly, I've written almost 14 volumes of script for it (Let me clarify: the original intent was that it would be a manga series, but I thought that the NaNoWriMo goal would at least start the process of getting recognized). However, I only recently converted it into a novel-form, and when I started writing it, the story took a direction all its own and things that I had never planned suddenly popped up (or other items that I thought would be interesting in the script never showed up). Sometimes, the story takes control of itself and starts to write itself - you are just the tool to convert the story to text. Personally, I like when this happens because you never really have to do any of the thinking - just let the story flow.

  • Do your research, and let your friends know about it: if you are searching for nuclear weapons on the internet, let your friends know so they aren't calling the FBI on you for your search history (aside from other things)

  • Keep a notepad handy: you never know when an idea will strike, and you don't want a dead battery when you need to write something down.

  • You don't need thousands of dollars to publish: I personally use CreateSpace to publish, which is a great channel for independent authors to publish their books and get a foot in the door with Amazon (and other retailers, such as Barnes & Noble), along with getting a Kindle edition published as well. You pretty much do all of the managing yourself, upload your manuscript with their formatting, upload your cover, and publish! It's a "Print on Demand" type of service, so if you want a copy (or if anybody else wants a copy), it's printed when they order it and ship it out! Their team also double checks things (like cover size for the book) to make sure you're doing things right (they also provide professional services if you have a few hundred $$$ to drop). Other services include Lulu for self-publishing as well. There are a few others, but those are the top 2 I know of.

I'm sure I'll add more to this list once I think of it, but I just wanted to write this down when I thought of it (hence, the purpose for "keeping a notepad handy").


Tags:#books #writing #novel #process #thoughts

What I learned from my first Startup Failure

I was inspired to write this from many articles referenced in the December 21st Edition of Startup Digest. In that newsletter, I found many articles about "What I learned from my Startup Failure" (or along the lines). Therefore, I thought I would write this.

Work on the business, not in the business


As the quote from Michael Gerber goes, it is best to work on the business instead of in the business. In my college career as an aspiring Entrepreneur, I never really understood that quote. My logic consisted of the following phrase: "If you can do the task, then do it and market yourself. You are the business - it's your idea, it should be your fame." It took me roughly 7 years to understand that I was wrong.

From Day 1 up until the end of 2012, I was the "CEO/President" of Shadow Development (CEO from 2005-2009ish, when I learned that if I was a "CEO of a small company, then the credibility hasn't been built", so I downgraded to "President" thinking "Yeah, that'll work"; yeah right). In 2013, I stepped down from "President" to "VP of Operations" basically stepping aside from the Presidential duties and taking a look at the business as an outsider and not just as myself.

That was probably the best thing that I've ever done. Not in the "This was a great decision, it made a million bucks" kind of way, more of a "I see what is actually happening and not just want I want to happen."

I saw that the business had been running on my hopes, my dreams, and my stubbornness for far too long. I should have shut the doors a long time ago if I saw this happening. Even throughout the ups and downs, it was my stubbornness that kept my business up for so long.

What should I have done? Hired someone to take care of the project management, project development, and selling. I shouldn't have done those things back when the business was started. I should have managed the business, sought out investment, asked others for help, evaluate the cash flow, find ways to save money, establish marketing channels, etc; not become the primary developer.

Basically, I've learned that "If a person can't do the work, then they should be fired. Based on the logic, if you can't do the work, then fire yourself, but then the company will no longer exist." However, I couldn't fire myself because I was too damn proud.
Entrepreneur Fail


Surround yourself with like-minded people who can do the jobs you ask


After dealing with managing people, it's a lot harder than just "Do this task." You must take into account their schedule, their emotions, their skill sets, not "playing favorites", their quality, etc. I always thought that "If I surround myself with people that have the skill sets, I can delegate tasks to them" (see the next point as well). Well, I hired developers, designers, project managers, sales people, and interns. What did I get: next to nothing.

My designers didn't have anywhere near the skill sets that I had imagined. I thought "They have design experience and an eye for design. Their designs will be great!" What I received was "This is what I think will work", not what I had in mind.

My developers knew what they were doing (for their development levels), but they had a long way to go in order to provide what we promised the clients.

My sales people said they knew the material, they knew the sales process, they knew the contracts and services. However, they also fell short of expectation and probably couldn't sell water to a dying man in the desert. (Hell, neither can I)

My interns were treated as "gofers" instead of the "learn as you work" kind of experience. I didn't like that.

My project manager was great at managing projects, but we didn't have many projects to give them that weren't already being managed (or the budget to allocate to them).

In short: Just because the person you hired had the title "X" doesn't mean that they can do what you expected of your last "X".

(However,) Hire Slow and Fire Fast


Just because you are in a company doesn't mean you need to have 10 employees around you. Take your time to hire the right person for the right job. If you hire someone just because they have "X" in their previous title, that doesn't exactly mean that they know everything there is about X (for example: just because someone says they are a salesperson doesn't mean they can actually sell).

If a person isn't the right fit for a job, get rid of them. If a person isn't doing what you want them to do, get rid of them. If the person is trying to take over the company, get rid of them - quickly.

I know that many Managerial books have said "Hire Slow, Fire Fast", and I never really understood what that meant. However, now I know what they meant, and I have been burned in order to learn that.

Don't think that "If I just keep them on the payroll for another few days/weeks/months, things will turn around." That never worked for me. I also knew that my stubbornness got in the way for "being nice to people" because I wanted to see them come around, like in TV shows. Yeah right.

If a person isn't doing their job, you have 2 choices, and you better choose one fast. Either 1) Train them to do their job better, or 2) Fire them without resentment.

If I could go back in time and do one or the other, I would have chosen #2 in a heartbeat instead of waiting around for about a year to see what would happen. I would have rather hired the right person for the job, instead of someone who I thought would work based on their previous title.

Never expect to copy yourself


If you are super-skilled in X, don't expect others to be as well. They may have the same basis, but you can't expect them to know what you know in 24 hours - especially if you were trained over several years.

I have been studying Web Development since 2001, since my first HTML class in high school. Since then, everything else has been self taught: Advanced CSS, PHP, MySQL, jQuery, XML/XSL, DHTML, JavaScript, Python, Ruby on Rails, etc. So I've had over 10 years of experience in the field.

When I hired on extra developers, I had a high expectation: they were on the same level as myself and could crank out stuff just like me.

I could not have been more wrong.

Most of the developers I hired on worked under the premise that they would learn additional skills under my leadership. Well, I spent roughly 2 months teaching them the most common advanced PHP techniques, jQuery items, CSS3 markup, and even Database management with MySQL (as much as I could do). What did I expect? I expected them to come out of the training doing what I was doing. The actual result: I advanced their skill set a bit, but they were still a long way off from developing what we needed for our clients.

I always said "If I could copy myself, I would", but in today's technological era, that's an impossibility (unless you're a sheep).

Basically, it came down to the education gap between me and the other developers; I knew a lot more than they did, and they needed to know a lot more if they were to crank out stuff like me. That wasn't going to happen in 2 months or 2 years - they needed the "on-the-job training" like I had; they needed the "decade of wrong-doings" that I had; they needed to "do things the hard way before learning the ease of a shortcut" like I did (I spent nearly 2 months of nights and weekends in my room hand-coding a visual editor (without advanced PHP functions) because I "wanted to do it").

Location, Location, Location


Waynesville, NC, is not the place for a high-tech kind of company. It took me many years of trial and error (mostly error) to figure that out. As my business advisor once said, "I'm sorry you are in this area." If I was in Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta, San Francisco, New York, etc, it would make more sense, but you can't force a business model (or technique) into an area that isn't ready for it. Most of the businesses in this area are "Mom and Pop" stores with owners who are usually the ones behind the counter. While there isn't a problem with this kind of business operation, it isn't the kind of market that can allocate thousands of dollars towards marketing.

I also didn't find out until a few years in (after moving to a small office space in 2007) that we could not put up any additional advertising on the building we were renting, or near the building in general. The landlord did provide us with a large sign on the front that had all of the businesses listed that were inside our building, but any additional logos, signs, even something saying "HERE WE ARE" were prohibited.

My suggestions: prime location for exposure (like Main Street), a professional environment that you can advertise with/on, and/or an easy access office.

Price is not always a factor, but it is a big one


Price may be beneficial, but you can always set it too high or too low. Most people in this area want a low-cost solution, and if your only price range starts in the $1000's, you can easily price yourself out of a market, which is pretty much what we did. After calculating how many hours went into the research, the design testing, the development creation, the usability tweaking, and the launching of a site, $1000 was the bare minimum for the kind of work we produced. While a company in Atlanta wouldn't bat an eye at that, people up here would turn us away within a second. The people up here want the $5 solution, the "What can I pay you to do that won't cost me an arm and a leg" type of solution, the "I have $100, what can you do" kind of solution. Not the "$1000 will get you X, Y, and Z" kind of solution.

Create an enjoyable work environment


A happy team is a productive team. While I'm always the one to think of an enjoyable environment such as Google, IDEO, Patagonia, etc, we didn't really have that, and it showed. Although the extent of our budget allowed for the purchase of some darts with my own dart board, it didn't provide much of an "enjoyable environment" as it were. I also brought in my personal PS2, games, and TV to hopefully provide a few hours of entertainment for the staff. It was never touched. I would love to provide a ping-pong table, a pool table, a HDTV with PS3 entertainment, and more, but our budget didn't allow for it, because I didn't put the money aside to do so.

Don't grow too fast


Grow your company as needed. Don't expect to have your own glass-covered office in 5 years. Don't expect to have a pool table and 200" TV next year. Don't expect to have 30 employees and your own stock options next month.

If you grow too fast, your goals and focus will be thrown out of alignment and you will be focused on the end-goal, not the "right now" goal. So your company is 5 years old - does that mean you need your own conference room? No - invest that money into more marketing and product development, maybe even some staff training. If you absolutely need that conference room, then your company will tell you so. Until then, find a library meeting room, somebody's house, or even a coffee shop to meet at.

Don't get caught up in meetings


Just because you have meetings doesn't mean that they (or the people who attend them) will be productive. As I learned from my years at Last Minute Productions, the majority of items that were discussed in the board room usually stayed in the board room. During my reign as President, I vowed to change that, although my board didn't like the idea (they wanted more money for doing less). In most Board Meetings, assigning a task to someone that will get it done usually results in responsibility, accountability, reliance. If a task is not assigned, then it will not get done.

Also, I always thought it was a great idea to bring my board member attendees up to speed with what has been happening. Usually, that turned into 45 minutes of me blabbing about calls, meetings, and other items that didn't concern, relate, or include the other members. I could have just as easily summarized those blabbings, or even just said the end result and cut the time down to 5 minutes, but my stubbornness got in the way and I was too proud of myself for all of the work that I did (and nobody else). What I should have done is delegated out some of those items to the members so I wasn't always bogged down with items like that.

Don't over complicate things


When I first started my company, I thought that the idea of making websites easy to use would be easy. I mean, the whole world was doing it wrong: Geocities, Yahoo Sites, Homestead websites, even "Welcome! I'm HTML Code!" websites were designing things wrong. The wrong resolution, relying on "Best Viewed in Internet Explorer" tags, over complicating things with animated GIF's to make the site "cute", creating 5-minute flash "splash pages" that you had to sit through in order to get to the site's content, and the list goes on.

I thought I could change this. Instead, I made it more complicated.

In The Oatmeal's blog posting on "How A Web Design Can Go Straight To Hell", the artist/programmer/fun guy Matt Inman talks about exactly what I mean: taking a poorly designed website from the 90's and improving it with high-def graphics, a nice content flow, a beautifully laid out menu, and easy-to-read items. Instead, the client wants what they had: a poorly designed site from the 90's because that's what they had, and that's what they're used to (hence, the "cute kitty", the "mother who designed a Bake Sale flyer in the 80's", and the "pop" and "edgy" items that only exist in their mind). Personally, I also hated it when people would come into Staples (when I worked there) and acted like they knew more than I did in Technology - the same concept applies here: when clients think they know what they should based on the latest article, blog, or news report and want "Web 2.0 items" and "SEO Techniques" integrated into their sites, thinking that those are the most important and absolutely necessary items to have a great site.

I also tried to put too much focus on "how the site worked" and not so much on "how the site looked". My logic said that "if the site worked beautifully, we can design around it. Too many companies focus on how the site looks and not how it operates. Let's flip that." I was wrong. I knew that people went to websites because they looked great (the latest graphics, the flowing sections, even the effects on the photos). I also knew that people left websites because they operated poorly (bad links, page redirection went wrong, server errors that didn't make sense, etc). I wanted to focus on the development of the site to make it operate as expected.

What should I have done? Balanced the design and development, making sure that the design was exciting and the site operated as expected - nothing more.

Always have a backup. And when you do, backup some more


Having your hosting company hold your content hostage is bad business. Over the course of 8 years, I switched hosting companies 4 times. In 2005, I self-hosted, thinking that it wasn't that hard. I was wrong.

In 2006, I moved over to "Website Source" and it was pretty easy to manage, but it cost roughly $66/mth. I did lose some data while with them, and it cost me $50 to recover it from one of their backups.

I migrated to some larger systems while with Website Source, but in 2013, I had to call it quits. In early 2013, I switched to another company (I won't name names here) that would provide me with direct access to our server with backups.

In late 2013, they called it quits with us and froze our server, which meant that all of our data (ours, customers, databases, financial, emails, etc) was gone, and it took me nearly 4 days to get them to "unfreeze" the server so I could transfer the data off. And their "promise" of a backup system? Never happened, so the only place that our data existed was on one single hard drive.

Late 2013-now, I'm now back on my own hosted server (with a lot more experience for managing) and have a backup script to an external server running 2x/day, just in case.

Overall, backup all of your data. Once you do, back it up again, because you never know when you will need it.

If you are going for professional, don't cut corners


Even the iPhone 4 launch was pushed back due to some flaws. Back in 2005, our slogan was "We stay in the shadows, you get all the credit" which was okay. In 2007, our slogan changed to "Simply Professional, Professionally Simple." Personally, I liked it; it portrayed an image of professionalism along with the confidence of knowing that we would be simple (not to contradict a previous point, but that wasn't relevant right now). We even got some professionally printed white polo's that had our company logo on them to display our professionalism. Whenever I went to a client meeting, I made sure that I was clean shaven, my hair was washed, my teeth were brushed, my polo was clean and tucked, my pants were clean, and my shoes were shiny, along with other items to show that I was "A Professional." I thought that this image would be a standard and everybody who copied me would show that we were professionals.

My primary sales person thought otherwise. When I first brought on our primary sales person, I knew that he was a laid-back guy. He was my old freshmen english professor, and I thought that with his "relaxed state" and our "hardened professional mind", we could go far. I didn't expect him to cut so many corners in our "professional environment." For starters, he thought that just because we were a "company", we had millions of dollars sitting in the bank, and $20 meal wouldn't be missed. Little did he know that the $20 he just spent on a meal could have gone towards other resources, such as supplies (and we didn't have much in the bank to begin with, so $20 could have been all that we had!) To make matters worse, I had to order a button up shirt instead of a polo for him, because he didn't like things over his head. When he went to client meetings, he rolled up the long sleeves on his button up shirt. Sometimes he arrived with his button up shirt untucked from his pants, and even left it unbuttoned. He would approach potential clients like they were old friends, taking the conversation on completely irrelevant tangents, and even throwing in a few curse words to get his point across (playfully). Although I knew that we should have let him go a lot earlier, my stubbornness got in the way and thought "he can be reformed." Again, I was wrong...for 2 years (he finally left under his own accord).

Keep in touch with your team


Miscommunication (or lack of communication) can make team members drift apart, and if you constantly rely on them, then losing them is not an option. When I used to talk to my team members on a daily basis, it almost got annoying. However, going days, weeks, even months without any communication seemed like we were drifting apart, almost to the point of "Do I have a job anymore?" (which I have received a few times). Communication is key, but effective and frequent communication is better.

Make all of your goals and intentions clear


Stick to a timeline, schedule your goals and expectations, make sure that everyone knows what the result will be. Missing a deadline is a lot more than just a lowered grade on a test - in the real world, it can mean losing somebody's business.

Whenever I assigned a task to someone, I expected it to get done by the deadline set. When the person says "no problem", my expectation of getting the job done seems worthy. However, when the deadline comes along and there isn't a completed project (or even progress on said project), then my reliance becomes less and less, almost to the point of "If you can't do the task, then you're fired." But, once again, my stubbornness got in the way and I didn't fire anybody. However, when something is delegated out to a person, and that person hasn't completed the task, then the blame is put on the person that delegated the task in the first place, and personally, I'm tired of being blamed for delegating uncompleted tasks (which is why I would take the tasks in the first place, so that I knew it would get done on time, but then I was blamed for not giving anybody else any tasks and hogging everything). It's an endless cycle....

Basically, make the goals and intentions clear. Make the deadlines important, and the punishments clear. Don't allow anyone to slip by because of something that isn't understood.

Never stop seeking out investments


Bootstrapping is a great solution...if you are in your 2nd week of operations. But much later, you will need to seek out more investments in order to grow your business and can't always rely on bootstrapping. If you are taking in your income and only keeping 30% of it as profit, then you won't have enough to cover any additional items, such as moral-boosting get-togethers, upgraded office equipment, RENT, and more.
Also, make sure your team can get paid. Basically working a "freelance" job (or an on-call part-time job) isn't going to pay the bills. If your team isn't committed to you, they will seek out other opportunities for income and leave you.

Set the example


You are the boss. Show your team what you can do. Otherwise, you're just a team member. If you need to resolve a conflict, then resolve it peacefully. If you ARE the conflict, fire yourself or get a 3rd party arbitration.

If you expect your staff to be there on the holiday, you need to show up on the holiday(s). If you expect your team to be there at 7am, then make sure that you are there at 7am (preferably with a hot pot of coffee). If you expect your team to work 40 hours on a project, then you work 40 hours on a project.

Don't just sit back and expect to take the credit while your team does all of the dirty work.

Never expect someone to completely understand what you are offering, and the benefit of it, within the first few minutes of your presentation


Entrepreneur Fail

I expected people to see what we offered and go "Hey! That's what I need! And look at all of the great features!". Instead, I received glassy-eyed stares, basic technology questions, bored attendees, and other signs saying "I have no idea what you are talking about."

When we offered "Advanced, modern websites with the technologies of HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, jQuery, and more", I expected a bit of confusion among the crowd, especially at the acronym part, but that was to show our expertise in the technologies and show that "We know what we are doing." Therefore, the potential client would say "They know what they are doing - we should go with them." Instead, it resulted in "I have no idea what that means; therefore, I'm not listening to you anymore."

My expectation was that people would easily understand what we were offering by our presentations, our elevator pitches, and our portfolio. Instead, most people didn't understand or care what I had to say. It basically took an educational session to bring them up to the same level as us for them to understand what we were saying. Let's just say that it didn't turn out well.

Therefore, simplify your techniques. Don't throw in all of the bells and whistles just to impress people. Tell them what they want to know, not what they need to know. It's like an interview: tell the person interviewing you what they want to hear ("I can do the job"), not what they need to here ("With my three decades of experience in X, I suggest that you should do A, B, and C"). Even if it means that they are missing out on an important aspect (ie: security flaws), they want to hear what they want to hear.

Do research on your market, then create the product - not the other way around


I always thought "If you build it, they will come" (insert movie reference here). That may work for some items, but not everything, such as my business. I created a "modern, high-tech web design company" that I thought people would be busting my door down for us to work with them. Instead, of the clients that we found in the Western North Carolina area, most of them were busting my door down because they were unhappy with the service.

I also thought that if we created a service that cranked out quality websites and charged a monthly fee to maintain them, then we would be rolling in the profits. Easy as pie, right? Well, it wasn't so. First, we had to go out and almost physically drag the potential clients to sign with us. Then we had to make sure that we did almost every project underbudget, then provide continuous tech support for the most basic items, even if it went against our "best practice" recommendations. Yada yada yada.... Not really the best idea for starting a business, then sitting back and relaxing while the profits roll in.

Another developer wrote an article about a similar concept, and I agree with him: Research the market, then build the product. Just because you have the best designed, flashy, sparkly billboard in the desert doesn't mean that people will see it, or want to see it.

Don't screw up your credit


As an 18-year old, my first credit card was a surprise. I just entered college and had a personal banking account with Wachovia for a few months (there wasn't a branch of my local bank in my college town, so I switched). A few months in, I received a card from Wachovia saying "Your New Credit Card". I thought "My parents warned me about this. My sister had a bad experience with one. I should not use this unless it is an absolute emergency." So what did I do? I went to Taco Bell and got a drink to test the card out. It worked!

A month later, I used the card some more on a few small things, thinking "I'm getting paid, I can pay it off." I receive my first credit statement. "Amount due: $105. Minimum payment required: $5." When I saw this, I thought "Great! I can make the minimum payment and pay it off slowly." I would like to point out that this card had a limit of $10,000 because I used Debit since I opened the account.

Six months go by. I pay the minimum payment for six months. My credit bill is probably in the medium-to-high 100's. Suddenly, on my credit bill for the 7th month, minimum payment jumps to near $75 or so. In my mind, I'm thinking "Whoa! What happened? This is insane!" I call Wachovia asking about the jump in payment, and they say it's a "Promotional Period that has expired." I told them that I never heard of a promotional period when this started, and I was never offered it as the card was sent to me in the mail, which I never signed up for anyway. The lady was extremely persistent on the fact that since I had the card and was using it, that I was liable for any purchases, regardless of what the promotional period was or what the minimum payment was. I told her "I can't make the minimum payment right now! I don't even have a (well funded) job!" She basically said something along the lines of "Not my problem."

I will say at this point: I never expected my personal credit to cross paths with my investment record.

A few years go by, I get a job that pays roughly $150/mth. Not bad for a part-time gig. I start to pay off my credit bill little by little. Next thing I know, my minimum payment jumps to around $250/mth. I call again and complain, but I was told again by the bank "Not [their] problem". So, my credit bill keeps going up because I can't make the minimum payment, and 29% interest is gained on the bill because it hasn't been paid. At the $7,000 credit mark, I completely stopped using the card altogether. After all of the interest and "late fees" added up, my card topped the $10,000 limit within no time at all. I told Wachovia "I don't use the card. I will never use the card again. Please close the account and I will pay it off." They basically said "The account can't be closed until the card is paid off." So, the account stayed open and accrued interest. Just great. It finally got closed a few years ago, and I'm still attempting to pay it off, but I expect that will take about 10 years or so to pay it all off.

Later in my college career, I start to seek out additional funding for my business. The first few places I go say "Your business plan looks good, but in order to get you funding, we need to take a look at the Owner's credit report." What? This was never covered (in depth) in college!

Let's just say that pretty much every investor I talked to said "Yes" to the business, the plan, and everything else, then changed their mind to "No" once they saw my credit score.

I have never accepted another credit card since the first one, and never will again, regardless of any "offers", "Cash back deals", or "frequent flier points" they provide.

If I could go back and change history, I would have never bought that drink at Taco Bell and shredded the credit card. My credit score would keep going up because I was making so many on-time payments with debit, and I could probably have a few thousand (if not hundred thousand) in investments right about now.


Summary
I know that I've covered a lot of points in this entry. I just wanted to get most of them off my chest before I went to some type of therapy (Even referencing this article was a stretch). Hopefully, other entrepreneurs will read this and discover that not everything will work out like in the movies, the books, or even in the classroom scenarios. You are not indestructible. Your life does hold secrets that others will find. You cannot hide from everything. There is no "reset" button. And, you should fail before you succeed. I know many Venture Capitalists may not look at me because "I have a failed business", but you know what? So what. I've gone through 8 years of self-torment, stubbornness, hopefulness, and grief to know what to do and what not to do. If that means that you won't look at me because of that, then I will go elsewhere.

I'm not saying that you (as an entrepreneur) should read every business book out there. I'm not saying that every article on the internet is right. Go through your own experiences and learn the mistakes. Even Albert Einstein once said, "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." Therefore, I have learned many lessons through my mistakes?

Am I done learning mistakes? Not by a long shot.


Tags:#entrepreneur #fail #credit #php #html #xml #css #jquery #business #lessonslearned #server

This is why you shouldn't interrupt a Programmer

I recently subscribed to the Startup Digest mailing list, which has been full of very helpful articles and references. Today, though, I saw something that I just had to share.

I previously wrote about my Thought Process and all of the steps that go into planning something mentally as far as all of the steps/obstacles/designs/concepts/etc that go into planning a site/program/application. However, I don't think that got the point across that I was trying to make.

Instead, this comic does a perfect job of making my point:


In summary: when a programmer, like myself, is deep in thought trying to figure something out, don't bother us with a tech support question, personal issues, clarification requests, etc. When we get into the thought process "zone", getting out is easy, but getting back in is hard (insert joke here).

Here's a reference from The Big Bang Theory to help illustrate my point (ignore the Raccoon virus stuff):


Tags:#programmer #thought #process #startupdigest

PHP Malware Problem

While working with the WePay API, I needed to get some clarification with a PHP function and decided to reference the PHP documentation at php.net. Little did I know that Chrome had some different ideas for me this morning:
PHP Malware error

This seemed very odd to me. I mean, I understand that php.net has some malware-type code on it if it is classifying PHP code as malware. Even the URI that I referenced was directly to php.net/print_r, so there wasn't any URI misdirection or rewriting or anything like that, so I am very confused.

I looked into the problem that Google provided:
PHP Malware description

That wasn't very helpful, but it did provide an insight to the issue.

I don't know why Google decided that php.net contained malware since over 100 million sites use the language, with at least 3x the amount of developers on a per-day basis?

Has anybody else experienced this kind of issue? Was my version of Chrome just derping up?

Update (2013-10-25 09:13 AM): Slashdot covered this error in particular in a discussion forum on their website. Apparently, it was a bit of compromised and altered Javascript that caused Google to flag the site.


Tags:#php #google #chrome #problem

Post-Government Shutdown/October Progress

Derpy cat - why not?

I decided to put up a derpy cat. My reasoning? Why not.

Anyway, it's been a while since my last post. Since the Government shutdown lasted an agonizing 16 days (at least, agonizing since I've been an adult, since the last one was in 1996 when I was too young to know the difference), I've heard more than enough about the parks closing, veterans storming the gates, furloughed paychecks, federal services that closed, etc.

Since the Government shutdown is now over (as a seemed force-of-hand by the Republican party), hopefully this process can be easier to proceed.

Anyway, government techno jargon aside, here's what's been keeping me busy:
  • I've picked up progress on WNC Local again, and it seemed that my thought process almost repeated itself since I worked for a few hours only to realize that the work was already done (yeah, I feel stupid). I've been working on the front end aspects and it seems to be coming along nicely. According to the original timeframe, we are right on track, but I'm hoping to move the timeframe up some.
  • Since we launched the new Shadow Dev site, there were a few things that weren't quite finished. I believe that I have patched up those few things and polished up, including the services pages. I was able to write a posting about the Q4 expectations and celebrated 8 years of Shadow Dev. It's not completely glorious, but it's better than completely shutting down.
  • After reviewing the analytical data, I realized that Two Cats wasn't getting any traffic. I realized that the site wasn't active and it had to do with some misplaced site files within the internal file structure from the new Shadow Dev design launch. I took about 15 minutes and remedied that today. The site itself isn't fully functioning, but I've decided to pick up the coding again.
  • Basically, here's my work docket: WNC Local, CityFix, OmniCard, Two Cats Studios, Lunar Productions Beta, Zoomiform, and ScrumIt (and eWaiter, but it has a long way to go). Yeah - that's everything I have so far.
  • I'm also working on (again) integrating the WePay API into the services to help online charges and auto-payments. It's been a challenge and I believe I'm up to it, but it will just take time.

In (what's left of) my personal life:
  • I started watching Yu Gi Oh on Hulu. I know it's been over a decade since I've seen the series, but at least I can now watch the series in order and finish up the series (since after Duel City, the new series started - I don't know (or care) what the name of the series was, because I stopped watching it).
  • Keat and I attended War of the Wings last week, and it was a lot of fun. One of the many things I can say about it is that it was a lot more comfortable than previous WoW's. The temperature never reached about 75, and the nights were never below 60, which meant that the heat wasn't too unbearable and the nights were nice and cozy under the blankets, but never enough to bring out the cloaks/capes for warmth. There were a lot of other items that were fun, but I won't go into it here because it will take up 5 pages of text. If you want to know, ask me, because I have a great story about an idiot on the Archery range.

And, just for good measurement, here's a comic that I can relate to as far as Retail work:
Retail jobs are obsolete


Tags:#dilbert #derpy #warofthewings #wnclocal #omnicard #yugioh #lunarproductions #zoomiform #twocatsstudios #cityfix #shadowdev

My Thought Process

SALAD!
No, my thought process isn't this.....squirrel!

There have been many instances when people that know me very well start talking to me, and during the conversation, my eyes go back and forth very quickly. Some people may think I'm having a spasm. Technically, no. It's just my "Thought Process" starting up and going 1000MPH.

For the sake of understanding, I have (at least started) a list of items that my thought process goes through when it gets started. 99% of the time, it deals with a new website or web-based service. And to give you a better understanding about what my process goes through, instead of just staring at me with a quizzical look, here's (mostly) everything:

My Thought Process: (by the way, all of these happen at the same time)
- preestablished functions and methods required during the development process
- passing variables between applications/pages/databases/forms/etc
- best way to "write" the code
- memory consumption limits
- resolution flexibility
- information security (transmission and storage)
- "what will the end result be?"
- infinite loop restrictions
- shortening the "writing" process with custom functions
- function recursion process
- CSS formatting
- interactivity with jQuery
- script automation
- plausibility of completion
- requirements for device compatibility (mobile, tablet, phone, etc)
- legal hurdles
- usability practices
- SEO tactics
- overall user flow throughout the site/application
- mock designs
- database storage and retrieval designs

(Yes, it's a lot. What did you think, I just thought about the design?)

I may add more to this list as need be, but at least it's a start.


Tags:#thought #process #websites #webapps #css #jquery

Mid-September Review

Bug Martini

It's halfway through September, and things have been less than calm. Ever had one of those days where nothing goes right and you pretty much have to change everything in order to fit one request/demand/requirement? Yeah, stretch that over about a week, and that is/was my past 2 weeks.

Here's the rundown:

Server Downtime, Transfer, and Remodification


Over the past week, I had to majorly downgrade/upgrade the primary hosting server for Shadow Dev. Since our primary hosting environment was costing us $200/qtr, we were looking for an alternate hosting environment. The requirements were simple: Linux hosting environment, ability to SSH into it from a remote location, and root access. You'd be amazed how many services out there offer a "Windows/Linux" environment for a much lower price, but no Admin/Root access. I'm sorry, but I need direct control over the server, and shouldn't be waiting on the hosting service to perform updates (especially security updates).

So, we had a partner company help us out. Over the past few months, we transferred all of our primary data to their hosting server, since they were helping us out. Things were going smoothly. Our old VPS system ended their service on September 1st, and we weren't going to renew. Things were going as expected.

Since our primary hosting environment was hosted semi-locally, I split off my personal stuff and the business stuff. I modified the DNS servers to point home so I could host my personal website (this one), and have the business stuff on a "business dedicated" server. Meanwhile, my plan was to relaunch the main Shadow Dev site with a new design and direction on September 1st, but that had to be delayed by a few days.....and then the problem started.

Do you recall my previous blog posting about the "Server Connection Confusion"? On September 2nd, I was trying to SSH/FTP into the server to update some business pages and could not get through. I could access the server via Port 80 (HTTP), but not 22 (SSH) or 21 (FTP), which meant that I could view what was on the server, but I could not modify it in anyway. There was one option: I could access Port 10000 (VirtalMin backend management) and download/upload one file at a time, but I had about 200 files to download, modify, and upload, so that would have taken forever. I kept trying over the next few hours with no success.

On September 3rd, I tried to access the server hoping that the Port 21/22 issue was just a fluke (as it sometimes happens). However, I could not access any part of the server. SSH, FTP, HTTP, VirtualMin backend, Email, anything (which meant that my primary email server was down as well). I sent an email to the company that manages the physical hardware and said that the server was down and if they could look into it. Their response: "Yes, it is down, [they] will boot it back up. You will need to start paying for this server or remove your content from it. Out accounting software has placed a hold on it. As we have decided our relationship has not been mutually beneficial." Long story short: our "tradeoff" was not paying off. The tradeoff was "website service" for "hosting space". I should have realized something when the person we were talking to said "You have creative freedom." In an inexperienced mindset, that means "YAY! I can do anything without limits and they will like it!" In an experienced mindset, that translates into "I don't know what I want. Read my mind, or I will turn down any ideas/suggestions you have" which, in a "web designers" standpoint, is a huge red flag. It also doesn't help that we only had one informal meeting about a new site for them.

Anyway, in my response to that email, I said "If that is the case, then we will remove our content from it. In our current state, we cannot afford $1200/year for hosting, as we were paying $800 before. / Please reactivate it so I can move all of the content from it within a reasonable timeframe, then you can do with it as you wish. / I wish our relationship could have been more beneficial."

Afterwards, I tried to re-login to the server (as I was told they would boot it back up). Same result: nothing.

I waited and tried to re-login to the server over a few hours. That turned into the next day. I sent another email to the company restating "Please reactivate the server so I can move all of the content from it within a reasonable timeframe".

Once again, nothing. This downtime was really starting to mess with our uptime records, which we try to strive for a 99.9% uptime record. This was not helping. However, I did get an idea; get a cache of our main site (CSS3 and minimal design concepts only), modify my home server to act as a proxy-hosting server, and get the uptime records going. It took about 3 hours to get (since the primary hosting server was pretty much "blocked"). Thanks to CloudFlare's uptime caching, I was able to get the egg, the egg shadow, and the CSS3 that I used to make it move. I made the DNS changeover, and our uptime was back up and going. It wasn't the full-fledge hosting server, but it's better than nothing.

Day 3 of primary server downtime: I sent yet another email to the hosting company and said "I have tried to be patient with you, but my patience is wearing thin. I have asked nicely in my previous emails to reactivate the hosting server so I can transfer our content off of it. I have not heard back from you since my email on the 3rd. Since it seems like you are holding our content hostage, we are facing our 52nd hour of downtime, and our clients (and ourselves) are suffering that have their sites hosted on this server. In addition, any one who has email being handled by the server is not receiving any emails, including myself, which is causing panic since the emails are not bouncing or anything." Seems like a mostly professional message, right? (By the way, we had about 25GB that we needed to get - note to self: don't have the primary hosting and backup services by the same 3rd party)

I received a response within minutes: "You patients is thin? It is your actions that caused your problem by not producing anything. If you are that poor of an admin and do not have a backup of your content sounds like a personal issue... However I have issued the boot command to your server. Remove your content asap." (yes, misspellings and typos are maintained). I will say that 'Yes, we did not have a primary backup, because you said that you were going to enable that for us, but never did after many months of saying you would.' Regardless, situation has passed.

Anyway, the server was booted back up, which meant that I could get the files....or so I thought. I tried to SSH into the server, but for some reason (whether through my own doing of automating a port blocker or not), I could not. After many hours of fiddling with system and network settings, I came to a conclusion: my IP address was being blocked via Port 22 (SSH). This meant that I could not SSH into my home server and initiate an SCP transfer (Secure Copy - basically a command-line FTP between two Linux-enabled boxes). However, FTP was still open, so I initiated a primary backup to my home desktop (not the home server). I had the max system simultaneous downloads set at "2". I increased it to "3". Yay, things were going faster. I increased it to "4". Even better. I increased it to "5", and things crapped out. I could not SSH/FTP/HTTP or anything into the remote server. Which meant that I was back at square 1.

Based on my previous experience, I knew that I could log in to the server via SSH using my phone (thank you ConnectBot) and the 4G connection. I did so and tried to initiate an SCP connection from the remote server into my home server (for some reason, incoming SSH connections from my IP weren't getting through, but outgoing's a whole new story - and before you bark at me, yes, I did check the iptables for an Incoming blocking rule. There were none. Anyway, I let that run since I thought things were going a bit slow, but better than nothing.

After about 30 minutes, ConnectBot just quit. No reason, no message, no disconnect dialog boxes. It just quit. Which meant that I couldn't SCP for more than 30 minutes, which was a problem.

I tried to FTP into the server again, and was able to. I decreased the amount of simultaneous downloads to "4" and let it run. It took about 8 hours to transfer everything, including the primary MySQL databases.

After everything transferred, I ran a rm -rf command in the /var/www/vhosts/ folder. I know it's not completely secure, but at least it gets rid of things on a first level basis (installing a secure command like shred was possible, but the documentation didn't say anything about shredding a folder - it was only 1 file at a time, which for 25GB, will take a very long time). I also dropped the primary MySQL database and let it. My last words: good riddance.

So, I had the primary hosting files on my home desktop. Now to begin the mega-upload to the home server. 3 hours later, transfer complete. Now for the fun part: setting up the "Linux Desktop" to operate as a "Linux Server" (which, by the way, is not GUI based anymore, so all of this was done via Command Line), to be able to handle multiple domains and subdomains, import the huge MySQL database dump, setup the permissions for the databases, files, and folders, and re-initiate the cron jobs to run. Let's just say that I'm 99% done all of that as of now.

One of the hardest portions I had to deal with was separating out all of the domains. Let me explain: on the old hosting environment, all of the domains (except for the primary shadowdev.com domain), were managed and recorded under one central apache2.conf file, which Apache looked for and loaded for all of the domains. My home server, although the same operating system, didn't like that. Therefore, I had to go into the primary apache2.conf file and separate out each domain into it's own file under /etc/apache2/sites-available/[site], then run sudo a2ensite [site] to make it enabled, then sudo service apache2 restart to allow for the webserver to reload and reread the configuration files. Yeah, that was fun.

I still don't have the Postfix/Dovecot system completely operational yet, but the server can now receive and forward emails. It can't 100% send emails yet, but I'm working on it. I also have some finer points of the cron jobs to figure out. Aside from that, the server (hopefully) should be back up and operational.

Liquidation Sale Troubles


On a related note, we had our Liquidation Sale on the 31st for the office. Let's just say that apparently this town doesn't like any "Liquidation Sale" signs around the area. I posted a few around town, hoping that they would allow them for just a few days (since the event was on the following Saturday). I can understand taking down signs that are for an event a few weeks away, or for personal services or hand-written items that are pretty much illegible. However, after checking on all of the signs I put up, all of them were taken down. Now, I want to hope that it was because people liked the event and wanted to make a note of when/where it was. Based on the attendance record of Saturday, it was obvious that the signs were removed. We only sold $110 worth of stuff, 1 buyer, and 2 browsers. I mean, it's better than nothing, but I wish that we sold more. Now, the agreement that I put in with the landlord was "Anything that we didn't sell on the 31st is free-for-all for any tenants." That didn't translate quite as I expected. It turned into "We [the landlords] will keep what we think is ours, but you have to remove everything else." So, I get a large box from Walmart and try to remove a bunch of the small stuff. I receive an email a few days later saying "We have a tenant that would like to move in, so please remove all small items from the office." So I have to get another box (luckily they are cheap) and go back and get the rest of the small stuff. So much for getting rid of all of the small stuff.

Let's just say that our home is overflowing with office-related stuff. I'm just glad that we don't have to bring any of the BIG stuff home - I have no idea where we would store it. So yeah - our nice, professional, dedicated office is now sitting at home.

Getting the main site back up


The new Shadow Dev site
Meanwhile, I got the new Shadow Dev site up and going and wrote a State of Shadow Development Address for the public. Basically, it says that "We did our best, it wasn't good enough, so we are changing directions to pursue new ideas." That's pretty much it summed up. You can read the rest if you want.

I've been working on finishing up the touches on the new Shadow Dev site (like cross-browser compatibility, improving it's performance on other connections, and finishing up the content distribution with the database. It's coming along a bit slower than I had hoped, but working at home has it's own pros and cons to it.

Personally, I'm having a hard time dealing with the major downsizing and removal of partner services. What I had to do 7 years ago in my dorm room (where I had the main hosting server sitting in my dorm and I was managing all of the services via Command Line Interface (CLI), I'm doing yet again. Although I'm more experienced in how to handle the technology, and the technology is a bit easier to handle, the amount of responsibility needed to make the server work like it was before is no short order.


Lunar Progress


Crystal Blaze
I'm trying to channel some creativity and write some storylines for Lunar Productions' mangas. I did create a new site for them using the old Shadow Dev design, and ramped up the interactivity and information distribution (see beta.lunar-productions.com for a preview), so that helped a bit. However, I can't launch the new site yet until we get some final items down pat. I did, however, completely revamp Death Rose into a new series. Any storywriter will tell you that there was a part in a story (or even the story itself) that seemed to make the storyline go off-track. Well, Death Rose wasn't going anywhere, and I was getting tired of forcing myself to write storyline that didn't fit. So, I revamped the whole thing: the primary storyline, the storyline concepts, the characters, the antagonists, the setting....everything! It's now called Crystal Blaze. Let's just say that it's like Sword Art Online/Matrix/StarCraft/Accel World/Star Trek mix. Yeah, I know it's a lot, but it is making sense, because I'm already on Page 19 of script. The story is unfolding in my head, and sometimes my fingers can't keep up to type the story fast enough. I will say that the beginning of the story is a bit slow, so I am thinking of adding some concepts in the beginning to make a more enticing "hook" to the story. We'll just see where it goes.

Wedding Ups and Downs


Colonnade
On a positive note, we have the Colonnade! (For the wedding, not permanently) The final "OK" was put forth by Keat's parents and we were able to sign the contract and put the downpayment in. That's just 1 of the multistep process that is wedding planning. (see more details at (temp site) kk.shadowdev.com - actual domain to come later) I will say that I knew the whole wedding planning process was going to be tough, but I thought the major disagreements and compromises would be between Keat and myself, not Keat and myself vs her parents. No matter how much planning we/I put in (I am saying "I" here because I have been self-designated as the primary planner since Keat is finishing up her last year of school. As anyone will say, "Put Education First". She's already taking 18 hours of classes, and my schedule is not set, so it's pretty much been put upon me to do most of the calling/negotiating/researching/quoting/etc for this event), it seems that her parents have some minute detail that they must demand. For example: the reception. During our discussions, Keat and I talked to the event planner at our location. She gave us a packet that outlined all of the details, prices, and items that would be provided for the reception. I had a few follow-up questions to clear up any non-clear items (like "when does the 4-hour reservation start: when the guests arrive, or when the crew starts to set up" and so on), and things were going well. Suddenly, Keat's parents demanded to have custom beer and wine at the event. They even "suggested" (kidded? I hope) to have a keg at the reception. I'm sorry, but if this was a frat party, a keg would be acceptable. At a wedding reception? I may not have been to many nor planned many, but I find a keg unacceptable.

Anyway, we asked our location how much it would be to have "a local microbrewery supply beer and a remote winery supply the wine". According to the planner, they had to purchase it because of their liquor license. Okay, understandable. I don't want to impede the liquor liability on any one unnecessary. After 2 months of asking that question, we finally received an answer: the microbrewery has to bottle their beer and ship the bottles. Our cost: $10/bottle. HOLY CRAP! $10 a bottle? That beer must be made of gold or some super rare gems! We still hadn't heard back about the winery question, so I contacted the winery directly. Within a few hours, I received a response and forwarded that to our planner. Still haven't received a response (I think at this point, they are starting to hate us and may force-cancel our penciled-in reservation with their location). After waiting so long, Keat's parents said "Let's forgo the custom wine and beer and just go with what they have. Can we get an itemized proposal for this?" At the absolute end of my frustration, I sent a calmly-worded email to the planner and asked the question. She pretty much responded with the exact same thing that the packet says that she gave us. The location, the DJ, the setup/cleanup, China, Silverware, chairs, linens, tables, etc, etc, etc, for the set price (tax and gratuity included as well). If they were getting mad at us, I don't blame them, but please don't kill the messenger. We're just passing the message along to get the check signed.

What we would like
We've also talked to the cake company that was highly, highly recommended and received a quote from our tastings. $800 for a custom, high quality, delivered day-of cake. Not a bad price. We told Keat's parents, and (I quote) the response was "Keep looking! That is out of sight!!!" Based on the amount of cake companies around here charge, yes, that is a bit high, but we're dealing with a high-quality cake here, not a "Let's go to Walmart and order a cake" kind of thing. Yes, Walmart makes great cakes. We even got our 7th Anniversary Cake from them, but I don't want to go to them for a wedding cake. That's like having a keg at the reception. At this point, it's either "go all in or get out" kind of deal. I don't (and Keat doesn't) want to compromise on a lower-quality cake that we will wish we could have improved 20 years from now just to save a few bucks. So, I contacted other cake companies around here and once you add in the amount of guests we will have along with the design concept we want (along with their delivery fee), it pretty much averages out to $800. (We had a "phone conference" (although if you call Keat's parents on 1 phone and Keat and I on another a "phone conference") about the overall budget. Basically, Keat's dad was mad that we had multiple versions of the budget. I thought he would be happy that I split the budget up into 2 categories (Estimated and Actual), then subsplit that into what Keat's parents would pay, my parents would pay, and we (Keat and I) would pay. That seemed acceptable, but he had made some adjustments that we didn't know of until he sent us his copy. I sent him our latest version (since we were the ones doing the research), and he seemed to get upset that there were multiple copies floating around, so he claimed "his" copy the official one, which means that any additions that we find due to research, we have to let him know instead of just using our own copy. I thought I could simplify things by using a Google Docs copy that would allow for simultaneous edits from multiple users, but that seems to have majorly backfired as they do not know how to use Google Docs, so we are back to "his copy being the only one that should ever exist" scenario. Yay.... I have, however, asked on multiple occasions "What is your optimal budget? What would you like to spend on an event like this? Therefore, we can stay within that range and know what the limits are." Seems like a reasonable question, right? I mean, we're trying to shoot for a $10k budget. Keat's dad is acceptable with a $15k budget (in passing conversation), but we aren't trying to spend millions upon millions on this thing. Heck, we're even below the average cost for a wedding Haywood County ($16-24k). The only answer we have received is "We don't have a set budget - we just want to make you happy", which means (yet again) "Read our minds or we'll turn down every idea and suggestion you have". Great.....)

So, if this whole wedding thing was a TL;DR for you, let me sum it up: we have the Colonnade for the ceremony, I think our Reception location hates us, we need to find a high-quality custom cake for less than $800 total, and the budget seems to be out of our hands.

Additional Money Needed


So, in order to gain some additional money in order to pay for this "seemly outrageous wedding", I decided that I should try to apply for some part-time work (heck, since I don't have to "go into the office" any more, my schedule is pretty freed up). I found out that there was a Trader Joe's opening in Asheville, so I tried to drop off an application last Tuesday. The website (which isn't 100% working) said that they were accepting applications Monday-Friday, 10-7. No problem, right? I arrived at 4:12pm on Tuesday. There was a whiteboard out by the front door that said "Accepting Applications: Tuesday - Thursday, 10-4", which meant that I was 12 minutes late. Well, that's pretty much a trip to Asheville wasted. However, thinking ahead of this process, I thought "Why not apply to Kitchen & Company?" (it's a kitchen supply company that offers a whole lot more than Walmart or other kitchen companies. Keat and I found a lot of good quality stuff in this store during our previous trips). I tried to contact the store via their website, but their careers section was on their parent company website (which was a pain to find), and they only have 1 job posting available. They said "Please contact our Admin offices to inquire about other positions", so I sent them an email inquiring about the question in hand. Within 30 minutes, I received a response basically saying "Walk into the store and bring a resume." Seems simple enough, right?

Well, I head on over to the store and start to walk in. Little did I know that there was a sign on the front door that said "Part Time Sales Associate: Must be energetic, ability to multitask, and passionate about cooking" (I may be paraphrasing here). Seems like my kind of day! (Since I do most of the cooking at home anyway). I walked in, asked for an application, filled it out, and talked to their manager. Since he saw that I had previous experience at Staples, he said that this would be pretty much the same thing (I hope so too). Although, if there is a "Kitchen Quiz", I should be ready. Questions like "How many teaspoons are in a tablespoon? What's the difference between a Santoku and a Chef's Knife? What does a 'sharpening steel' actually do?" and other questions should be easy, thanks to Alton Brown. I don't know if there will actually be a quiz, but can I say that I kind of hope so? Anyway, I received a letter in the mail today from Trader Joe's saying "Thanks for applying, but you have not been selected for an interview." Basically saying "Thanks for coming in, and we appreciate your interest, but we don't need you right now." Oh well - my dad did say to stay out of the Grocery business. I guess this is the Universe's way of keeping me out. No biggie - I have higher hopes for Kichen & Company anyway.


New Anime: Accel World


Accel World
In order to blow off some steam, I thought I would give "Accel World" another try (in laymen's terms: Accel World is by the same author as "Sword Art Online", but set about 20 years in the future (from SAO, so about 2046) where all of the <15 year olds have a digital device that allows them a "virtual environment" to type, send messages, view emails, save video, and even enter their own VR world. 'Accel World' is an advanced version of the VR world that heavily relies on a software called "Brain Burst", which allows your processing power of your brain to be increased 1000x. The (semi) downside is that in order to use it, you need to build up some "Burst Points" by fighting in the "Accel World". The theory seems legit). When I first tried it, I got about 5 minutes in and had to stop. I didn't watch the series again until this past Sunday. Throughout the week, I watched all 24 episodes (and got some great ideas for Crystal Blaze) up to Thursday evening/Friday morning.

I will say that it had some flavors of Sword Art Online, and I liked how it wasn't exactly the same (as the author wrote this post-SAO and submitted it first to a writing contest, where it won first prize) as SAO. The concepts portrayed in the series were unique enough to hold their own, but also reflected some traits of other series like Bleach), so I was able to find those traits and mold them into what Crystal Blaze (and other series) should offer. I was never in any "Creative Writing" classes, but I believe this gave me a better understanding of how to write a compelling storyline (although I still have the fan-crush on Asuna from SAO. Accel World didn't really have any characters that I could really connect with, but that's not necessarily a bad thing).

Is this the end?


That's it for now. I believe that 27,000 characters is pretty much my max limit on a blog posting like this. However, I hope this gives a better insight to what one chaotic, crazy week I have had.


Tags:#swordartonline #accelworld #wedding #colonnade #vr #kitchen&company #traderjoes #altonbrown #beer #crystalblaze #lunarproductions #shadowdev #design #server #hosting #sale #apache2 #sudo #scp #ftp #http #css3 #email #virtualmin #port #bug

Business Transition and Wedding Details

I thought this would be a good time to let everyone know about the recent changes/progress that have been going on. First, Shadow Development is going though a business transition (as mentioned in my previous post).

Shadow Development is transitioning from a "build websites for clients" to "designing, developing, and maintaining online services" (so, basically, a "software development company"), as the underlying reason since 2005 has been all along. Now, we're serious.

Shaking Egg...
I've replaced the main Shadow Development site with a shaking egg that I coded completely with CSS3


Out with the old office


As of August 31st, 2013, we have moved out of our office. Yes, the new office that we moved into in January, we have officially moved out. It wasn't because we were evicted or anything, it was just a combination of multiple channels combining their worst moments at once (we had half of our client base leave, invoices weren't getting paid to us, staff members were losing their motivation, increase in bill costs, etc). After crunching the numbers, it was better for us to leave the office and go virtual instead. The whole "working at home" thing is nice, but it has its drawbacks.

A "State of Shadow Development" press release should be released on the main site soon. Edit: Here ya go

code process


Over the past week, I've actually been doing a lot of work on code. I've revamped the Shadow Dev Beta Site, which has a whole new theme and concept versus its previous incarnations; I migrated the old Shadow Dev design to the Lunar Productions Beta Site, which worked out quite well, and I fluffed out some extra images to give the site some makeshift content to view; I worked on the wedding site a bit to get it up and going (I was inspired by WeddingWoo examples for a new concept, since the old concept was a bit...well, drab); and additional work here and there on various aspects.

Server Connection Confusion


Although, right now, I'm very confused at the main hosting server. Here's the rundown: last night at 3am, our legacy server at Website Source finally kicked the bucket (at our discretion), which means no more $200/qtr for hosting on a "maybe it's up, maybe it's down" kind of hosting environment. Although, about 5 hours ago, realized that the old legacy server was also handling the MX records for our mail. Once that was gone, well, so was our email accounts and forwarding. Therefore, I had to initiate a server system upgrade to the hosting files of the primary shadowdev.com domain in order to set up the new email accounts. (Yeah....that sounded like gibberish. - by the way, I updated the DNS records to have the MX records point to the new server, and I just received an email that was sent at 3:27AM today. 17 hours in limbo - wow!)

When I initiated a system backup to my local machine, my SFTP process stalled. I tried to connect via SSH, and I kept getting timeouts. I was furious since I basically had no "editing methods" for the server any more! After finagling for a few hours, I thought "what if I disabled the Wi-Fi on my phone and tried to SSH with that?" (from previous experience from a similar situation). I did so, and was able to SSH in no time! So, that just meant that the server wasn't accepting FTP (port 21) or SFTP/SSH (port 22) from my IP address.....again.

Basically, I can access the server via port 80, 8080, 10000, and others, but not 21 or 22, so I can't initiate a total system backup from my home, and I don't have any tunneling options since I only have access to 2 locations (my home and the server). So, I'm still chasing down a port 21/22 access error....

I've checked the iptables and even enabled a complete system access acceptance for my specific IP address. I made sure ufw wasn't enabled, as that was the problem before. I rebooted the server multiple times (that usually solves it). However, nothing was working. So, yeah, I'm still trying to figure that out.

The situation is as follows:
- The web server will not accept port 21/22 connections from my IP address, although the port is "filtered" (that's acceptable)
- Resetting my home router/modem does not work
- Restarting the web server does not work
- I can access the web server via port 22 when accessed from outside IP address
- I'm pretty lost with this situation

NMAP results

The Wedding Plan(ing)


To change up the tone a bit, I've been working on some wedding plans for me and Keat. With Keat in school taking 18 hours of classes (and working on homework every night), she doesn't have much free time, so I've been self-appointed with planning the wedding.....yay.... (for clarification, Keat is in her last year of school, so that's a little more important for her right now)
Save the Date

Here's what the plans are so far (and you can find more details at kk.shadowdev.com - the real domain will be acquired later, just so people checking it in September 2014 aren't cut off, and we aren't paying an additional fee for a year to have the site active for 2 months):

Rehearsal Dinner: Bogarts, August 30 (2014), 7pm
Status: We've been penciled in for 20 people

Ceremony: Lake Junaluska, August 31, 6pm
Status: We have talked to the coordinator, have the contract, now we are just awaiting "approval" from Keat's parents to move forward and submit the contract

Reception: Waynesville Inn, August 31, 7pm
Status: Everything is pretty much set, we just need to straighten out the food budget, get a quote on bringing in additional alcohol, and get the contract (again, Keat's parents)

Apparel:
- Keat has her ring and is paying for it
- I have placed an order for my ring, and should receive it in 3 weeks
- Keat and her mom are shopping for a dress (this is all her)
- My tux order has been placed, and I am paying it off
- Best Man has his own tux, but is getting some additional items
- Rest of Groomsmen need to be fitted
- Bridesmaids have been picked out, now for "Bride Discussions" (not my department)

Flowers:
- Quote has been received, and vendor has penciled us in for the day

Photographer:
- Quote has been received, details will be discussed in person in October

Music:
- Music selections have been selected, but waiting on professional opinion before finalizing (see next bullet)
- Musicians for ceremony have been ordered (friend of mine), quote received, details discussed this week
- Reception location is providing DJ

Print:
- Designed and received Quote for Invitations + envelopes, RSVP cards + envelopes, Thank You cards + envelopes, programs, road signs, Save the Date cards + envelopes have been edited. Need finalization from decisions and order placed

Guest List:
- After multiple, multiple versions, I believe we are at about 100 (115 with a 20% no-show rate, so 92-ish + party), however it seems to be a constant battle between her parents and us (my parents are okay, so far). Butter zone is between 100-125, as the Lake has 75 chairs +$3/additional chair, and the Waynesville Inn needs a minimum of 100 for the reception.

Budget:
- We are estimating a $12,000 total budget (let me explain: I am tracking the budget, which is split up in "Estimated" (what we expect) and "Actual" (what has been spent), and then it is sub-split into each party pay area: Keat's parents, my parents, and us. We're looking at $10k for her parents, $500 for mine, and $1.6k for the two of us)
- I'm also keeping track of all of the finances (what is expected, what will be paid, what has been paid, outstanding amount, additional fees, etc)

Travel:
- Quote received from local limo company, just need to inspect/place order and figure out payment system

Cake:
- Appointment is being made with local company for tastings (and possibly ordering, based on the high number of recommendations from others)

Gifts (what we will give the people in the wedding):
- Have been looked at and budgeted, but not ordered yet

Favors:
- Decision made, quote received, but not ordered yet

Officiant:
- Quote received
- Finalized on date
- Travel costs will be covered
- "Pre-marriage Counseling" has begin with a 126 question "Inventory" list (we both fill out questions about ourselves and each other, then discuss that with the Preacher)

Salon/Spa:
- Prices have been estimated, no decision has been made yet

Hotel:
- The Waynesville Inn is the plan, but one thing we did not expect to encounter was "higher hotel rates for the holiday." Yeah, big overlook on our part. The Waynesville Inn's "Group Rates" (if we can guarantee 10 or more rooms) would be $130/night. I'm hoping that other hotels around us can provide lower rates.

Wedding License:
- Will go in July 2014 to receive from the Haywood County Registrar of Deeds office. $60 flat, no physical/blood tests required.

Wedding "Day Of Schedule":
- Schedule has been planned, tentative timeframes have been scheduled, awaiting discussion from other parties and vendors of finer details

Dance Classes:
- Have contacted local dance groups/academies. Awaiting response

Website:
- Website has been redesigned (kk.shadowdev.com), new features available
- Online RSVP available
- Online donations set up/honeymoon somewhat planned

I believe that is it so far. So, yeah, I'm the "wedding planner" for this big event. I have absolutely no idea how the Bride is supposed to do all of this, as you better be damn well organized to keep all of this in order. I've been to some excellent weddings and some way-below-par weddings, and my expectation is for this day to be outstanding and (hopefully) I can recall it in 20 years (I barely recall my own high school AND college graduations since they were so hectic).

I'll post updates when I get some and can clarify a few things.


Tags:#wedding #office #coding #shadowdev #lunarproductions #dns #ssh

Bachelor for a Week 2013: Day 3

First, since Keat's in Colorado, here's an airplane joke (special relevance since Southwest allows you to pick your seats):
XKCD


I was able to sleep in this morning, but it was a little odd again having the big bed to myself. I can't say it was comfy, but it was almost....to comfy. I didn't actually get out of it until about 2.

The weather decided to have some different plans (as March always done) and it sprinkled about 1/4 to 1/2" of snow today. I would have driven into work, but based on the extremely low amount of cars that I have seen/heard on the road in front of our house, I'm guessing that traveling was not the best option.

So, I got comfy in my chair at ("in") my home office and started working on the "First Steps" section of the site. I've been making a lot of progress on different sections loading internally of jQuery's framework. It sounded like a challenge at first, but through the process, it has become a whole lot easier.

While I was working, I also caught up on my TV shows: Once Upon a Time, Community, American Dad, Family Guy, Malibu Country (which I found out that Lily Tomlin was Ms. Frizzle, which blew my mind), and Last Man Standing.

Also, I found out that Volume 2 of my Star Trek/Doctor Who: Assimilation 2 compilation has been shipped and will be here soon. In addition, my Raspberry Pi (which I assumed was extremely backordered and would ship in on the 29th) apparently shipped out today and is on it's way.

I did some research and tweaking on my RSS feeds for my personal blog and company blogs, and found out that my original RSS importer was not working. Therefore, I found a new one, which I highly recommend: RSS Graffiti , which is an app via Facebook. So far, it looks pretty sleek and works efficiently to import the RSS feeds into Facebook.

The first of 3 articles I wrote yesterday went live this morning: shadowdev.com/blog/article/extra-links-on-google-what-are-they-and-how-do-i-get-them (the next 2 will go live on Wednesday and Friday)

Also, I finished Enterprise tonight (this morning?). Overall, I give it a rating of 8/10 stars. It has some unique qualities of it's own, and has some TOS mixed in. Jeffery Combs does a great job in his own role, but I kind of wish the crew was a little more dimensional. Season 3 and 4 were better than the first 2, especially since Season 3 had a whole dedicated arch to itself, which reminded me of DS9 and the dominion war. At least the Xindi arc had a little more depth than the Dominion war.

Now, here's a(nother) Star Trek related comic:
Bug


That's it for me. 'Nite!


Tags:#bug #xkcd #plain #startrek #enterprise #doctorwho #raspberrypi

Bachelor for a Week 2013: Day 2

I did not report in yesterday because I was in immense pain, almost flu-like symptoms. Needless to say, I spent most of the day in bed, surrounded by cats.

Today, however, was much better. For me, but not for the weather.
Garfield

(Seriously: a major downpour of rain today, snow last Thursday, great short-sleeve weather on previous weekends, then heavy gusts throughout the month....all that we're missing is hail)

I moved the Wii into the guest room/office so I could have some entertainment while I coded away. Let's just say that if I had a fridge and a toilet in this room, I'd never leave.

I watched a good chunk of Enterprise today. Now, I'm only 6 episodes away from the end. What's on my "To Watch" list next?

I also wrote 3 articles for Shadow Dev, which will be premiering over the course of the following week.

I worked on the small blurbs and larger fancyboxes of our new pricing page, which should also be premiering sometime soon.

I lastly worked on the Portal 2.0. I made some great stride with window.location.hash when trying to reload pages based on post-hash URI's. jQuery just became a lot better now.

Here's what I am happy about today:
 
$(function(){
 
	$('#db_menu').find('a').live('click', function(){
 
		var link_id = $(this).attr('id');
 
		$.ajax({
 
			type: "GET",
 
			url: "/get_box.php",
 
			data: { q: link_id },
 
			success: function(data){
 
				$('#db_box').html(data);
 
			}
 
		});
 
	});
 

 
	var path = window.location.hash;
 
	if (path==""){
 
		$('#main').click();
 
		window.location.hash = "#main";
 
	}
 
	else
 
		$(path).click();
 
});
 


I basically had to scrap the whole project and start from almost square 1. I kept the original login scripts along with the database structures in tact. My main starting point was from the Dashboard and so on.

My plan over the following week is to improve the new Portal to a point that it is ready to launch. The plan to launch Portal 1.0 with the new site launch had a small...drawback. It didn't convert with the new CSS well, and had a few delayed bugs in it, along with a good chunk missing for the Clients. My goal is for Portal 2.0 to fix that.

I don't usually like scrapping projects during development, but the pro is that the revamp comes out much cleaner than originally expected. Only time (and late nights) will tell if my feats become useful.

On a some-what related note, I was told by Keat (I don't recall if it was today or yesterday, as both days are a bit of a blur) that it is 4° out in Frisco right now. I would have been okay (that's a joke) with 4° Celsius, but we're in America, and that's 4° Fahrenheit. I do wish her the best in that frigid temperature. I'll stick with the rainy 40° here.

XKCD


Also, I used a gift code from StateFarm to order the next Star Trek/Doctor Who Crossover Vol. 2 comic book today. It only cost me $5.71 (and that was with shipping and tax). It would have cost me somewhere around $18 in a shop. Although I do support local shops, I had a gift code that I had to use or it would have expired.


Tags:#jquery #javascript #enterprise #startrek #projects #garfield #keat #articles #xkcd #doctorwho #comics

Ah, the life of an Entrepreneur

I have had this process repeat multiple, multiple times

Ent Roller Coaster

[Source]


Tags:#rollercoaster #entrepreneur #under30ceo

Starting to feel like a President

Garfield

Today is certainly the start of something new. Let's just say that I think I'm finally starting to understand the phrase "Work on the business, not in the business."

Put it this way: a typical day would consist of covering a bit of all areas (as the President does when he wears multiple hats), but mainly development time making adjustments, tweaks, and additions to client sites.

However, today, I worked on the following: Accounting reconciliation, HR development, Internal Affairs planning, Business Credit establishment, Marketing Strategy planning, Client File reconciliation, Budget Planning, Loan Application, Server Status Reporting/Investigation, Partnership Proposal Negotiations, Technical assistance, Sales Team development, chasing a support team for solving a business profile issue, and 5 minutes of coding to update the browscap.ini file.

On top of (finding the correct place to vote and) voting, delivering an application to HCC, delivering a payment for a personal bill, paying my insurance bill, playing with the cats, watching some more Doctor Who (I'm on Season 4), and cooking dinner.

That's a Tuesday for you!

MthruF Fail


Tags:#garfield #mthruf #browscap #president #business #sales #marketing

Carlton Flash Mob!

This is just too cool not to share:


Tags:#carlton #freshprince #flashmob #dance

(A Small) Time to Breathe

First, here's a good comic to celebrate 4/20:
4/20 with Cats

I don't think the term "crazy" defines the past few weeks around here. It would be more like....chaotic, crammed, catch-up, compiling, compunding....any other "C" words go here?

Anyway, here's a quick rundown of what I've done, and what is yet to come:
Shadow Dev:

  • Fairview's site is coming along, and should be ready by May 1. I spent a little too much time on their scraper, but when it ran, it was a beauty!

    Here's what it was supposed to do: scan the site for links, find product pages, and archive their current product listing.

    Here's what it did: scan the site for links, create a database of the links that every page goes to, scan each of the pages for a common phrase that is on the product pages (since the product pages didn't have a commonality among url's), scrape the code and find the product name, default ID, and default photo, scan for further images (both small and large photos), find the area that lists prices, grab and store the different types of prices and "packages", optimize the database for remote links and make them local, download all images that are listed in the database, scan through the database and delete duplicate product entries, scan the stored images and delete duplicates, and set up a test page to choose a random product and show the different images, prices, and listings based on the information presented. Yeah - that's a mouthful!

    With our other basic developer out of the area for a while, I have to finish the rest of Fairview's site in order to be ready by May 1. Here's the todo list for the next 10 days: finalize the design tweaks, create additional pages, integrate the information into the new pages, create a formalized version of the product pages, order/integrate an SSL certificate, and integrate a Merchant account into the system ready for a May 1 launch. Yay....

  • We've hired another Developer, Cheryl Mason, and she is a real gift! She knows more SEO stuff that I could have ever guessed. She's also well prepped for Developmental work. Put it this way: I had to spend about 3 months training our other developers from basic HTML 4.01 to HTML5, CSS3, basic PHP, MySQL, and basic Javascript/AJAX/jQuery. My overall experience with Cheryl took about 2 weeks. It looks like I may have found my replacement in the Development area! YAY!

  • We've finally finalized the transfer for one of our "potential" clients. I won't go into details, but I'll say this: Potential client "Pete" owns a business. He's had this business for X years. His primary source of new business comes from people calling in (our reasoning: his site didn't work well, so people had to call). Pete knows that his site wasn't doing too hot, and wanted to discuss details about getting a new site. Bad news, his wife owns the domain. More bad news: it's his ex-wife, and they are not on good terms. So.....after about 4 months or so, Pete's domain expired and was available to the world. Pete told us to get it for him. Well, by the time it was available for us to get it, his ex-wife renewed the domain (we believe it was auto-renewed, and she didn't know/care). So....Pete finally talked to his ex-wife and his hosting company, got the domain released, and gave us the EPP. From there, we exchanged a number of emails confirming the transfer (which is another reason we recommend updating the nameservers instead of a transfer, as a transfer can be really confusing and frustrating depending on the technical experience of the transferee). After about a week, the transfer finalized and we got it updated to our servers. He should be signing within the next few days.

  • We are developing some new services to produce some additional income. These services include a: Site Usability Report, Competitor Comparison Report, and In-Depth Analysis (which we used to offer for free, but the time spent on generating these reports didn't produce the ROI we expected). More details to come soon.

  • We are also developing a Rewards Program for our clients. Can't say much, but it should be coming out soon

  • The role of "Presenter" may also be taken off of my plate. I've talked to Cheryl about it, and she's really excited to have control of an SEO Seminar that we put on a while back. If things go well, we should be able to schedule that during the summer or fall. Can't wait to see what she produces!

  • Been talking with AboutUs, seeing what they can do as far as a site comparision and competitor comparision, and we are in talks about a Partnership! Cool!

  • We've released the PR for our site contest. The "fishbowls" have been out since the beginning of February, and we now have all 10 placed, and the PR is out. I honestly didn't even know that we were published until Cheryl (the SMDC Secretary) came over and said that she saw our article. My original response was "We're in the paper?"



Personal:

  • I watched all of Heroes, again. Still a good series.

  • Finally get to watch all of Season 4 of Eureka! now I can see how they got to 1947 and the stories before and after that. I was really excited on Monday (wow, is it really Saturday already?) to see Eureka Season 5! That first episode was....a repeat of Season 4 (with the changing time frame), but still looks good. It really sucks that this is the last season. It seems like all of the good shows are cancelled before their time.

  • Mythbusters new Season! Yay! In addition, Jamie and Adam have a new series: Unchained Reaction, which is really awesome.

  • Psych had their season finale. Boo! I wish their seasons ran longer

  • We went to "Drums of War" earlier this month in Elkin. Didn't win anything, but had a great time shooting some targets and getting to see everyone again since October.



I think I'll call it a night with that. Between now and May 1, I may not be able to post again. I see a lot of sleepless nights in my soon-to-be future.


Tags:#lolcats #heroes #erueka #mythbusters #sca #paper #pr #aboutus #seo #services #epp #html5 #css3 #

End of 2011

I thought I'd go head and get one last posting in here before the end of the year.

First....
BC Picture Day for Firefox!

Anyway, I know I've been slacking on this whole "blog" thing, but I can assure you that it will come to and end! (the slacking, not the blog). Here's a run down of what has kept me super busy over the past week or so:

  • I have surrendered to The Big Bang Theory. Finally watched it, and now I'm a fan. I must agree: Smart is the new Sexy. I know I'm about 4 years too late, but better late than never, right?

  • We went to Keat's parent's beach house for Xmas. It was fun. Traveled over 1000 miles. Yay. That's all I can say.

  • We got a Wii for Xmas! Yay! Now we can watch Netflix on our TV

  • Been working hard on planning some new seminars for Shadow Dev. One deals with the Mobile market and one deals with taking brick-and-mortar stores online

  • Also been working on notes and storylines for our two new mangas: Phoenix Eye and All Souls Crescent

  • Been working/studying/planning on a new version of MyShadowDev to help clients check/report things

  • Rearranged my desk before I left. Looks nice:
    Deskchisaineko.shadowdev.com - so far, looks good

  • My laptop is on its deathbed. The fan is about to give out after so many years. It's wheezing so much it's hard to talk over it. I checked in on the warranty from Best Buy, and wouldn't you know it: it expired on 12/26! On Monday! I should have taken it in last week and had them fix it over Xmas break! So basically I have a delima: pay $90+ to have it shipped off, diagnosed, and (hopefully) fixed; pay $900 for a new laptop; or pay $200x2 to get some new desktops (Yes, Windows - some of my programs only run on Windows and I'm not paying $900 to get the Crossover software, and until they create a stable Wine, I can't use a lot of the programs I want to). Personally, I think I'd go for the desktop since it provides more power with less hassle, and more customizable than a laptop. My laptop has served me well these past 3 years, but I think I'm ready to move on once it croaks (luckilly, all of my files are on a cloud. Can't say 1 specific location, because I have many.


And now for something completely different:
Penguin Hat


Also, remember Fresh Prince? I found a photo of the cast from about a week ago:
Fresh Prince, circa 2011


Chances are I won't be able to post between now and midnight tomorrow, so HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE and have an enjoyable party/celebration/sit at home.


Tags:#laptop #files #freshprince #newyear #xmas #seminars #bc #desk #netflix #wii #eureka

Neat QR Trick for Printing

While watching an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (Season 3) on Netflix, I realized a great method to implement QR codes to connect offline content to its online material.

This method is implemented in 3 steps:


  1. Put this code in your footer files (PHP only):
    echo "";

    (this uses Google's API to automatically generate the QR code for each page. If you are using ASP, insert your own code)


  2. Put this in your main CSS file:
    #print_qr{ display: none; text-align: center; }
  3. Put this in your Print CSS file:
    #print_qr{ display: block }
    and if you haven't done so already, put a print-specific meta tag to enable print-specific CSS
And that's it! Now, when your users print your pages (hopefully they go green and won't print it), they can get direct access to the page by scanning the QR code instead of having to worry about typing in the URL, if it is even on the page You are free to change anything in the provided code. I'm not ©'ing the code, just providing a concept to help others.


Tags:#qr #print #css #php

Employee Praise

Received this from one of my employees. It made my day.
Praise from Dr. Hughes


And received this in as a response to this posting:
Praise from KC Weeks


Tags:#hughes #employee #praise #kc

Designer vs Developer vs Manager War



Tags:#designer #developer #projectmanager #war

A Brief History of Programming

Saw this via @GeeksAreSexy - it's amazing how the Java vs PHP and Ruby duels have progress

History of Programming


Tags:#programming #java #php #ruby #javascript #fortran #cobol #basic #c #pascal #c++ #python #perl #ruby #rails

Weekend Overview

Zits

I think this comic would have been better with last week's posting, but it didn't come out till 4/29. Anyway, here's the run-down from last week:
  • Our neighboring branch of the SCA had their annual Southern Atlantian Archery Day (SAAD) over the weekend, and it went well. Unlike last year, I actually participated! And it was great! I used my hand-me-down bow with a few new arrows that Keat had made, and I shot 37 points (out of 21 targets/3-6 arrows each)! Not bad for my first tournament shoot. I can't wait till the next one so I can shoot more! The good side: we didn't have an uncontrolled fire like last year (although one of our camp-mates caught his tunic on fire for a few seconds). The down side: we traveled to and arrived on the site, ready to set up, and we found out that we forgot our tent poles! I had to drive to Walmart down the street and (luckily) bought the same tent - we harvested the poles and set up camp in about 10 minutes.

  • Keat and I went to the AB Tech Jump Start day last thursday, and it was okay. Most of the vendors there I had already dealt with, so the event itself was a little down. I can understand "New" businesses going to that to get connections, but being that we have been in business for a little over 5½ years, I didn't feel the need to talk to most of them. I did, however, talk to the organizer of the event and register Shadow Dev as a vendor for next year's event - yay for free marketing!

  • we also went to our monthly meetup group last thursday, and it was great! We had about 7 people show up, and we talked about everything from PPC to AdWords to Niches to SMI to....you name it! I also met a rep from TopFloorStudio - although one of our direct competitors, it was good to get to know a name other than Ty Hallock.

  • I was feeling really bad early Thursday morning, so I had to call in to my morning event, a TCC Peer Entrepreneur Lunch. I wish I could have gone, but my body said different. I hope I don't get sick before the next one!

  • Keat and I semi-decided on the Allen's Creek apartment that we looked at earlier, but then we received a call from Holly, our broker, who had a list of foreclosures that she wanted to send us. I swear she was listening on our conversation, because Keat and I were talking about that with Keat's parents just moments before Holly called us. We have looked at a few of those houses (online at least), and we are interested. Now if we can only get the finer paperwork done.

  • Speaking of moving, Keat and I started to pack up the apartment. As I said last week, it looks like a tornado went through it and took everything off the shelves and out of the closet. We are working on cleaning that up, but it's pretty much a death trap right now.

  • Finally received an email from the owner of the lawn care service that our apartment uses - he was willing to replace our catnip plant, but the attempt at communication came a little late. Exactly 1 month late. I sent an email the day of the lawn work (March 29) to the landlords, and they said they contacted the lawn care guy (I saw CC on an email). I received an email on April 29 saying "Sorry for the delay in this email. If my employees cut you plant down I want to apologize and see what I can do to replace the plant. If you want to tell me where you bought your plant and what it was I will replace it. In the future if you will put a stake or something for my guys to identify it from other plants or unwanted weeds they will not cut or remove it. We have alot of apartments to take care of and lot of people who plant items in the beds but never mark it. So when the mowing crew comes around they didn't see it last week or last year so they think it needs to be removed. Once the mowing crews knows its suppose to be there then they will leave it alone." So much for support; this seemed like a "We're sorry we did that - here's a coupon as our apology" attempt

  • While I was at SAAD, I received an email from Mint.com (great service, btw) saying that Wachovia charged me $5 on my personal savings account. I recall the phone call on March 14 saying "Would you like to open a savings account?" / Me: "Is there a monthly maintenance charge?" / Them: "No, as long as you have your free student checking, there will be no charge to use the savings account." So I transferred the money out of the account (they said the same thing on my Business savings account, then charged me for it, then said "there is a charge to use it", so I closed it), went over to Wachovia, talked to an Advisor, and she said that there wasn't a discount code added to the account. She refunded me the $5, added the "No Charge" code to the account, and sent me on my way (in a good way). Hopefully, they don't gouge me out of more money, or I may have to transfer my 3 accounts from them to somebody else

  • I set up a cron job last week to scan for IP addresses that try to SSH into our main web server (which runs every day at 12:01AM), and so far it has blocked 26 unique IP's since it was first set up. Not bad for a quick "let's-set-it-up-and-hope-it-works" attempt

  • One last thing about SAAD: Since I didn't have much archery equipment, I had to borrow someone's leather glove to shoot off of (so I wouldn't scratch up my hand with fletching burns). He said "I'm letting you borrow this, so you owe me". I agreed, and he called in the favor. Late Saturday, I was called over to the Cordial lady (who is "Madison", btw, and she lives in Fletcher! Small world, huh?) and she had a little challenge for me. I was tied to another guy (who I didn't know) by some leather rope and we had to get out of the "tangled mess". Being of stupid-, sleep-deprived-mind, and tired-body, I just wanted to get out of it. It was some fun trying to figure out how to get out of the knot when everybody around us was laughing, recording, egging on, tempting, and trying to "help" us (although I don't think the "helping" was "helping", if you know what I mean). After about an hour and a half, the other guy wanted to give up. If we gave up, we had to lose a pinky for an hour (Madison would tape our pinky down to our hand for an hour). The guy I borrowed the glove from gave up in the last round and lost his). I wanted to keep going and find the solution. I don't know how long we lasted, but the other guy finally surrendered and gave up. He didn't lose his pinky, but he had to get up SUPER early on Sunday morning and help Madison pack her van. I was tied to another friend known as JR (real name unknown). After about 10 minutes of looking silly, JR and I (mostly JR) finally figured it out. I won't say how, but we had to perform the "escape" again since Madison didn't see it. We both got a cookie for winning, and she said "At the War of the Wings, come to me and ask 'Where is my prize?' and I will give you a much better prize!" I made sure to put that in my calendar (and post it on this blog) so I wouldn't forget. The other guy in Madison's tent sold swords and other unique items, and when he walked up to me, I thought he was going to say "Congrats" or something. He hands me a claw-like necklace and says "I can't let you go with just a cookie. Here, take this". Cool! I got a free gift for being stubborn! As my good friend James Contratto would say, "ROCK!"



I think that about sums it up from last week. Until my next posting!


Tags:#zits #saad #cron #wachovia #catnip #tcc #entrepreneur #apartment

Ketchup

Wow, has it really been over a month since I posted last? It seems like yesterday that I made my last post. Since then, it's been nothing but busywork and client jobs.

Here's a comic to help relate to my previous month+ of absence:
Dilbert

I won't bore anybody with the finer details of what has happened over the past month, but here's a quick overview (just to keep you entertained):

- last week was a week of bad luck: had a co-worker's computer crash (had to re-install A LOT of software and do a full hard drive backup since the backup manager wasn't syncing everything), had the roof of an office space collapsed and spewed water and insulation all over, the co-worker had to find an old copy of Office 2007 so his SBA software would work right (OOo didn't cut it, unfortunately), prepared for a client's Open House, worked at said client's Open House, had both of our PPT and SEO seminars (which went great, with the exception that our PR got out late (again) and the first attendee showed up before we did), had a confused conversation with a current client over a chart display, had a very odd sewer smell in the office all week (turned out to be a lack of water in the drainage system; finally solved that after playing the "blame game" with the building secretary), one of the units got a fresh coat of paint which made the whole building smell odd, our first marketing order arrived (YAY!) and a client got some custom t-shirts, Tokyopop shut down their US office (not relevant, but I thought it was important news to mention), switched our DNS servers to CloudFlare which made the response rate lower dramatically and the uptime much higher, helped a client with a business plan for a competition (after having to re-write most of it), had some confusion over a potential client website and the hosting issue, finally switched over 2 clients DNS records (one had a major pain trying to get her domain from her old provider), made a video for switching over DNS records for said (and future) clients, had a mixup of payment systems for a client (although they had an invoicing system from the credit processor, they wanted another one created from us; we got a call today saying they wanted to go with the credit processor's invoicing system instead of ours, which we are okay with), said client had confusion when issuing credit to organization payers, uploaded the financial reports for the past 4 quarters to the corporate site, had some SSH and FTP issues with the server (solved?), went to a new Thai restaurant in downtown, had a large influx of followers for both my and the business's twitter accounts, got a DM from George Takei on Twitter (YAY!), and that's about it for last week.
George Takei DM

- not much else happened in the past month, aside from getting some insurance quotes, WCU getting a new chancellor, offering remote tech support for some clients, received an email that was sent 7 months ago (talk about being lost in cyberspace), had a mis-payment of a license (which was fixed), participated in a ΠΛΦ ΩΖ initiation, had a hard communication with a client's old hosting service, attended my first MeetUp, uploaded a few videos of Niko and Chi, installed our first successful SSL certificate, got 2 new clients signed on, and worked on other client works (still have no time for other projects), wrote a few informational articles, and got a mini squishy fox!
Squishy Fox!


That's about it for the past month. I'll try to be better about posting on a regular basis and not every other month.


Tags:#dilbert #pilambdaphi #server #georgetakei #squishy #dns #ssh #ftp #sba #tokyopop #office #ppt #seo #pr #ssl #niko #chi #

February already?

Rudy Park
Squeezed this one before February hit with just a few hours to spare!

It seems like just yesterday I was making my last journal entry, but I mean WHOA! It's already February. My last entry was on Dec 11, the day that my internet provider left and I haven't had internet at home in.....wow, almost 2 full months. That's, like, forever in Internet-land. It's really a strain when you have a lot of work to do ON the "internets" and when your clients are breathing down your neck to get stuff done, but you can't get anything done because your only stable internet connection is 30 minutes away (I'm speaking of the Office, here) and you're snowed in so much you can't even leave the parking lot! Yeah, it's been a hard 2 months.

I won't go into any fine details, so I'll just cover the basics in 60 seconds or less (I hope). *big breath* Here I go: Keat and I went across the state (twice) for Xmas, had fun with my sisters and their signifiant others (and accompanying children), got a few gifts for Xmas, spent New Year's at Keat's parents' and met Thomas' new girlfriend, shucked oysters (fun), came back to Raleigh, found out that I mixed up my Secret Santa person (oh well), came back to Asheville, got snowed in for 2 weeks (not fun), got Chi fixed before Xmas (semi-tragedy; almost lost her (temporily misplaced, not due to surgery)), finally got into work and have been working for 2 weeks straight, Keat is back in school and it's kicking her butt, doing well with the Shadow Dev Newsletter (yay - committment!), got 2 new Ratchet & Clank games (spent many wee morning hours playing those), signed up for FourSquare over the holiday, got tired of it, stopped doing it, attended many, many seminars over the past few weeks, started a new service Receipt Rescue (which seems to be progressing well), worked on client stuff (did I say that yet?), trying to shrink my to-do list, worked on Neko Sentou and 50% through Vol 12 (YAY! Check our story progress at Lunar Productions), participated in my first PiLam Omega Zeta initiation after 2 years, and we are moving to Waynesville in the summer since Keat's transfering (hoping) to Western in the fall.

Was that 60 seconds? Probably not, but that's a lot easier than filling x number of pages with finer details.

Over the past few weeks, I've been working on NSMT's request system. After a (literal) system overhaul with some finer tweaking, the system is finally finished (99.9%). Technically, it's done, but I'm revamping a record modification system with jQuery and it's taking me longer than expected.

I've been working closely with QR codes on the Shadow Dev site for today (take a look at the QR Page I created - I think it's pretty cool), and replacing the images with image sprites (to reduce the server hit response; in laymen's terms: 10 images produces 10 hits, meanwhile 1 image sprite with 10 images used 10 times produces 1 hit - smaller server response time, faster loading, and more accurate analytics). I'm also working on NSMT's Shuttle Service, which is a new service they want. May take me a few more days to get that finished.

Just saw Inception, and that was pretty good. It took a while to get into it, but once you got into it, it's like a roller coaster ride (same goes with The Men Who Stare at Goats).

Oh yeah, I have been receiving a butt-load of spam-bot comments on the blog. I finally revamped the comment system to strip out a lot of what the spam-bots were sending in. I used to receive 1 email every 30 minutes saying "New Comment" with the content of (but not limited to): free poker online, certain underage adult actions, enlargements of a certain male body part, getting 1000 Facebook fans (tons with that), "I like your site and visit it daily" (if they really submitted that, they would realize that the blog hadn't been updated in 2 months), and various other spam-bot-like material. They're getting really desprate and/or creative. I like to think the first. Anyway, since I revamped the comment posting system and implemented some new filters, I get maybe 1 spam-bot a month now. Nice to have those multi-level filters in place.

One last thing: finally met Janet at the Specialty Sauce place down the hall. Turns out that she and her husband(?) owned the Sushi restaurant down the street for 16 years. They had to leave since a nail salon moved in next door and the toxic fumes were getting into the restaurant - not a good experience. However, it turns out that she's a semi-expert sushi and nigiri maker, and she's making/selling sauces since her restaurant is kinda downhill right now. She also said that people from all over the area went to her specifically to have sushi (even people in Sylva, Asheville, and even Robinsville (where the heck is that?)). Can't wait to try some of her sushi!

I'll try to keep up with the postings as much as I can. Till later.


Tags:#inception #xmas #rudypark #qr #hits #sprite #nekosentou #receiptrescue #chi #asheville #snow #shadowdev

Server transfer almost done!

Dilbert

A lot happened today, but I want to keep this short so I can recreate it if need be; the server transfer is almost done and the last thing to be transfered is the shadowdev.com core. That pretty much means 85% of the files on the web server (including this subdomain). I can't wait till the transfer is done so this headache can be over.

I already vented to Keat, so the majority of my 'rant' is over. However, I'll sum it up for quick-reading purposes. I:
- added Hugh to the Advisor list on the Shadow Dev sites and sent out a short PR announcing his Advisor-ship;
- sent Dad the Alpaca information, only to find out that he already met the people and he's not pursuing that course of action;
- called Progress Energy and found out that the payment station didn't scan the account number on my check right and charged me 13.50 + my payment, but the operator was very friendly and helped me through the process, including paying online and avoiding the stupid $4.95 online processing fee;
- called the Auto shop and finally rescheduled my tire rod appointment that I had to postpone 2 weeks ago; added ALL of the email forwarding rules to the new server;
- finally figured out the stupid open_basedir issue on the new server and solved that (long story short: had to manually edit the new httpd.conf files one-by-one); semi-caught up on Eureka Season 4 (ep. 5-9, until 1-4 become available and/or episodes 10-20 air);
- manually updated ALL of the databases on the new server (the support guy was transferring them one-by-one, which was taking forever, so I exported the info out of phpMyAdmin on the old server and imported it on the new server; est. time of competition: 1 hr);
- found out that the article that The Mountaineer came to us for back at the beginning of the month is scheduled to be published on Wednesday (yay!);
- talked to Allan about the SMDC Expo event and got some of the 'minor' details out of the way;
- re-croned the new server to perform the "reminder" cron job every minute of every day (after I realized that the main php module was in a different location;
- loaded Seesmic on my laptop, which is easier to manage than TweetDeck, but I would like the integrated desktop feature for constant notifications of mentions and replies;
- stopped by the Waynesville Rec center and took a tour - really like it and may join in the next few months;
- browsed the "Internets" and found a lot of good stuff: duly tweeted
- and of course, did my standard stuff for every day (check reader, reply to email, etc);
- then came home and did some last-minute cleaning before the inspection tomorrow
....And that was my Monday.

Can't wait to see what Tuesday brings up!


Tags:#dilbert #smdc #php #tweet #cron #expo #progress #transfer #subdomain #alpaca #eureka #hugh

Sick Day vs. Entrepreneur's Day

Cat Proximity - xkcd

I can't say much about today. I spent most of it in bed....with a killer headache. I got to bed around 2-ish, which isn't bad for me, but I wasn't feeling too bad so I thought going to sleep would be easy. Turns out, Chi is back in heat. It feels just like last week that she got out of it, and now she won't stop the constant meowing. I think I laid awake until 6 or so when I finally got fed up with her and tossed her out of the bedroom and closed the door. When I'm very sleep-deprived, my long fuse of patience quickly becomes smaller than a micron. It's times like these that I regret her half-Siamese background (in case you don't know, Siamese have very large lungs and can meow very loudly. Chi is an Ocecat, so she's 1/2 Abyssinian, 1/2 Siamese, and a little tabby mixed in for color. Adorable cat, but very annoying when in heat).

Anyway, I woke up (and got out of bed) around 2pm because I had my Angel Investment class at 2:30. Keat was nice enough to take me although I had a headache all through the class. The class itself was nice, since we finished up the talks of a 3-week topic. Now I feel better prepared to talk to Angel Investors, although not completely confident. It may take me a few practice sessions, but I'll get there.

I went back to bed after I got home around 4:30, and slept till 8. My head was a little better, but not great. I finally got up, took an ibuprofen, ate a little dinner, and watched Price of Persia with Keat. Not a bad movie, but I do wish the ending scene could have been a little better. Great story and effects though.

I took another ibuprofen after the movie, and although my head isn't 100% better, I wouldn't be typing this if I didn't take those pills.

On a related matter, I spent the past 30 minutes or so going though my reader (with more than 150 items on there). I was surprised to find that President Obama announced on Tuesday that today, November 19th as National Entrepreneur's Day! I was under the impression that November 20th was the official day, but I guess today is better than tomorrow. Also, Nov. 14-20 is National Entrepreneurship Week. Glad that the work of David Hauser and Siamak Taghaddos, Founders of Grasshopper Group, and the petition they started actually produced the result they were expecting. It only took them 6 months, but they did it! Way to go guys!

I'm going to finish up some work while I'm up and then back to bed. Stupid headache.


Tags:#entrepreneurday #chi #headache #kitty #angel #xkcd

Coefficient x Progress

Coefficient x Progress- xkcd

As you may (or may not) know, I did work on the comment system this morning (last night?) and got it mostly, if not completely, done. The biggest issue I was running into last night was that Chrome and Safari were caching the old js file and I couldn't figure out why the cache wasn't being cleaned (after having extensions in Chrome clean it, and manually going in and cleaning it myself in both browsers, the cache issue was still there). Luckily, they finally gave up the cache and I was able to finish the comment system.

I was also informed by a family member that there was a small bug in the Tag system, but that was a quick 3-second fix. There was also an issue with the comments being inserted into the database, and that was solved as well. While on a roll, I also received my first spam bot, and implemented a feature to (hopefully) block spam bots.

After this morning's wake-up call, I dropped Keat off at school early and then went to the Ribbon Cutting ceremony at the newly remodeled Hardee's in Canton (Clyde? I don't know the exact town since both were being used interchangeably today). That was fun, although I didn't make any referrals or new business connections. I did get to meet a lot of the staff of the Champion Credit Union, since a lot of them recognized me but couldn't place what Champion did for us. That's another story for another time. After the ribbon cutting, we all went inside and the manager of the Hardee's allowed us to get a free lunch! Can't beat that: a free lunch at Hardee's! I wanted to try something new since this is a rare opportunity, but I ordered what I always order ($6 combo with a Monster Energy drink) since I didn't want to waste a free lunch. Not bad for a Thursday morning.

So that was this morning. Now onto the afternoon.....
I found a small issue with the Fire & Ice site after I implemented the new "Show More" jquery feature. Apparently, the slideshow feature that I have on a lot of sites uses the same commands as jQuery but didn't use the jQuery library, so it was getting confused and didn't work. Fixed that.

I'm also a part of the "Help a Reporter Out" (or HARO) community, and saw that a reporter was looking for "Freelance Web Designers" for a book. I thought, "What the hey?" and sent in a pitch to see if I could help out. I received an email about 10 minutes later saying that I was one of the few programmers that responded, the person was glad to have me contact them, the book deadline is at the end of this month, and I was given a 7-page interview sheet to fill out. Wow - didn't expect that.

I also received the check from a client today, so now we can upgrade the servers. Tomorrow's a little busy for me, so I'll have to do that next week. But at least we got the money to do that now.

Lastly, I paid my Progress energy bill last Thursday and the payment station we paid at said that they processed the full amount asked (I pay half, Keat pays half). Keat says that her bank account shows the check processed a few days ago. I checked my account, and no check had been processed (even after a week). I checked Progress's site and they said they received the full amount. Don't know what's going on with that. I'll contact the bank next week if it doesn't get processed by then.

After Keat and I got home, we slept for a bit since we were both tired. But it was hard to sleep when our neighbor decided to go outside and started singing. Ever heard nails across a chalkboard? Kinda like that. I'd rather take their dog howling for hours on end from separation anxiety (and being crated for hours) than her singing. But I won't go into details about that.

CJ says there is more trouble at LMP. Although I do feel somewhat responsible for the issues at LMP (since I put the new President in place), I can't help but think that I released an infection (the new president) there and everything has slowly deteriorated. I just wish I could have been there for another year (or more) to make sure things went smoothly.

That's it from me tonight. I'll see about adding a few more features to the blog and try to work on the accelerator. The server upgrade will have to wait until after the check processes (or else we can't pay the server company).


Tags:#xkcd #comment #hardees #champion #jquery #haro #progress #lmp

Winding down the Semeter...

Well, I know that it's been over a month since my last post, but I have a good reason for it: I have been extremly busy. We now have a new client, the Student Support Services of Western, I'm talking to a new client (Desktop Factory), SD is now part of the Web Advisory Board for Western, we lost Catamount Communications to a "class project" (they'll come back to us, muh ha ha ha), and the UC site is a dud (the guy said that "we as individuals will redo the UC site"). AND...SD (which is now SD&T [Shadow Development & Technologies]) is trying to get ad space in the new LMP Calendar (it's going to be a flip kind, instead of the one sheet of paper).

Besides that, I had a lot of innovative ideas over Thanksgiving break, and only 2 weeks of classes left till exams!

I haven't been able to work on Verge much, but as I practice AJAX, I should be able to make Verge better than ever.

On the down side, big controversy with Sara and everybody. I've been out of the loop for a while, but it seems that Sara is apologizing to everybody (i don' quite know why). Also, I have discovered a new band: The Offspring. They've been around for a while, but I just heard them for the first time, and they ROCK! As I heard "Kids Aren't Alright," I was thinking of an intro for Keat's and my Manga series, Neko Sentou (of course, this will be for the anime, which I hope will happen soon). That song fits perfectly for an action-based series like this).

I don't know what else to say...post later


Tags:#AJAX #LMP #Offspring #SGA #Shadow #Dev #Thanksgiving #Verge