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September 27, 2002

How to Infuriate your WebGuy for $500, Alex

So, I get an email from a client sent to both me, and my boss's boss, informing boss's boss of the mythical "completed" status of a job that was, indeed, 80% or more complete, but the last 20% was driving me crazy. Not only had said client announced the "completed" status to boss's boss, but the final product had already been marketed fully and promised to client's customers, without being greenlighted by me or my offices.

That was step one in "how to infuriate your web guy."

Next, add to that an uncommunicative subordinate of said client, who hasn't gotten you even the first taste of her information for aforementioned site. Nevermind the fact that it will be presented to you completely differently from the other functionally-matched piece, which you've had weeks to work on. (And no, I still don't have it.)

Thirdly, (Thirdly? There's more?) add Scope Creep to the mix. (FYI, scope creep is when a project somehow finds a way out of the bounds of its original scope. You need it to do this, but you only told us about this this and this... so we built it one way and you need more, so you find a way to make us do it. Yesterday.) Additional functionality requested after the functioning product is turned over and after the client has had plenty of time to review it as-is.

Fourthly, (good lord!) while working to fix the problem, using an utterly foreign concept called a "development server" (as opposed to a "live, production server") we figured out the problem which was the final 20%. The client was contacted and told which parameter they would have to change on their end. Only, when they did, they expected to see it on their live site, when all you were doing was final testing in development. So, then, when they didnt see a change, they changed five other parameters, thus breaking the current, 80% working in-production software. AND THEN (Oh, God, and then...) when told about the issue, the client then argued WHY IT SHOULD STILL WORK rather than accepting the fact that we'd spent 3 days (THREE DAYS) trying to fix it the same way they ended up breaking it.

When we finally got on the same page, everything was peachy, right? Wrong. The client still was toying with the parameters on their end. A little nudge here, a little tug there... BAM. Broke the live site again. "STOP IT," I shouted. And finally, a little voice of reason decided I meant it.

And then, I fixed the final 20%. Out of nowhere. The single good thing this Friday had to offer.

But we still don't have part 2 from the client's subordinate lackey. She can't even create a directory in Winblows using a step by step guide. I gave up.


So, weddings tomorrow. Unfortunately, I'll only be able to make it to one. And it's a 3 hour drive. And it's formal.

And, I expect, it's Catholic.

So, after another long day of people NOT DOING THEIR JOBS at work, I went to Kohl's and got 2 news shirts and 2 new ties.

When I got home, I found some bugs had chewed their way through my suit pants in about a dozen places. So, it's good I had a backup pair. AAAARGH.

Yes, I do dare say, that aside from my hair and my spotty complexion, I'll be stylin tomorrow.

Because, you know, it's all about me.

Not about you, no, not you at all.

Kidding. Have a wonderful day, Lorie and <A HREF="http://www.inklingx.com">Geoff</A>. Well, especially Geoff. Much love. And maybe someday I'll actually meet this girl, Lorie.

Meanwhile, I'm off to the Cousin-in-law's. For a couple days, anyway.

September 26, 2002

Gigamatt: Behind the Code

So, havent had time to write much this week. Busy busy busy, both at work and in class.

One thing I've noticed is the freakiness of my current screensaver. In MacOS X, there's a "Screen Effect" called "Pictures Folder", which you can point at a directory (folder) and have it display every photo in that folder as a slideshow, which pans and scales the photos each a little bit, then crossfades into the next, in an endless loop.

The freakiness is that when I set it to my last camera download, it looks like I'm watching a "behind the music" of my life in July and August. Photos of my hometown, then of my trip North, the scenery, the cemetaries, my family, my friends. Freaky, I tell ya.

My life as a mocumentary.

Class last night was good. Fun, even if the sorority/volleyball chicks are too dumb to get it. Unfortunately, due to the amount of crime (and violent crime, and threat of such) on and around campus, we've all had to change the way we think about night classes. Walking in groups along well-lit paths, etc. I ended up escorting 2 girls across campus to their cars. You may be asking why. 1) Because they were scared, and 2) Because it was the right thing to do, and 3) Because all of the current campus escorts and student security services are overloaded.

I even got a compliment from the graduate assistant. In his lispy voice, he said I was taller and beefier than him and I'd be much better equipped to handle an attacker. (I almost laughed. Really.)

I think I will have lots of snippets for either T-Stories, Beans, or some new concoction on Reaching.org. That site needs some updating, to be sure. I hope her founder is doing ok.

September 24, 2002

The Phantom Client Strikes Again

I haven't heard from them in months. On a hunch, I pulled up their website (just in time for the fall rush season), to see what was there. What I saw was neither the old site nor what we turned over to them.

Why am I upset? Let me list the reasons.

By using our services and not using the final product, it is inferred that they were unhappy with said services, and possibly that they found our work sub-par. We call them a client, and they're liable to tell people that we suck. And, also, if we call them a client, we'll look bad because they did not opt to use any of our designs/plans/structure.

Really, what happened is a long, strung-out project in which there was a complete lack of communication and funding, and then a complete disregard for recommendations.

If you contract us to do a job, and we do it to spec, at least use what we give you. Don't make up your own rules and make us look bad.

September 23, 2002

A Monster! Aaargh!

Oh lord, I may've created a monster...

A friend of mine noticed that <A HREF="http://www.mikeintosh.com">we're</A> <A HREF="http://www.naladahc.com">all</A> <A HREF="http://www.ohioblogs.com">blogging</A> and now she wants one too...

Look out, Cleveland...

September 21, 2002


<A HREF="http://www.fidius.org/quiz/pirate.php">What's your pirate name?</A>

<B>Dread Pirate Kidd</B>

<I>Like the famous Dread Pirate Roberts, you have a keen head for how to make a profit. Even though you're not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!</I>

Ohio Connections!

September 20, 2002


So, I have several goals for this weekend...

1) Finish installing and configuring ikonBoard on my laptop (for testing purposes) and start prepping to move my alumni site to it.

2) Finish cleaning out my closet. Throw out the broken futon frame. Bring my weight bench up into the guest room.

3) Finish the never ending pile of laundry.

4) Apply a design to this god-forsaken page and get my permalinks working again.

5) Call far away friends. Or at least email. Send both grandmothers cards with long letters.

6) Mow the grass before the neighbors who are moving out take their lawnmower.

Does that sound like enough?

September 17, 2002

I live for this sh*t

A friend asked me to write a quickie XML/RSS parser for PHP that would only require one or two lines of coding on his part.

As I told him, "No problem."

I live for this sh*t.

A list of features

This is a list of "features" that the client would like "posted" on the new web site they want us to create.

Priority 1:

  • A FAQ Page
  • Link to Our Services
  • Link to Our Products
  • Link to Call In Service - or maybe that will be on our main page (Support Center) This is the most important link
  • Operating Tips/Instructions
  • About Us
  • Feature products on Main Page Rotation
  • Banner or Pop ads that promote our service
  • Privacy Statement
  • Site Map
  • Environment Statement
  • Automatic cursor prompt to information fields
  • Phone Number
  • "Tab" feature for information fields
  • Link to primary vendor sites
  • Email Link
  • Dropdown fields

Explaining from here that the client only offers one sort of product and service on that product and only to customers within the parent company. Also, this list was provided with no firther explanation than what I listed above.

Most of the pages that need "linked" do not currently exist, nor has the client provided any content for them, nor any specs for any structure for the information. Given the complexity of the items sold by the client, and the quick turnover in lifetime of the products, it almost definitely should be data driven with a custom back-end.

This all adds much complexity and development time.

Oh, and BANNER AND POPUP ADS??? For your website? From your website? Insane.

I havent even gotten into Priority 2-5 and the insanity there.

September 16, 2002


Every month, I set up an Excel spreadsheet to do my budget. Every month, I have it calculate the remaining funds, after bills, and divide them by the number of days to give me my daily budgeted spending amount. And, about every day, I check my account balance and update the spreadsheet.

And, it seems, every month I forget to do the actual "days remaining" division, thus scaring myself into spending less and less as the days go on.

Effective, but when I'm down to $12/day including gas, food, and incidentals I feel damn poor.

Then, when I got sick, I got even more crazy about it. How am I going to afford cough medicine? etc.

So, anyway, I can sort of relax. Take a deep breath. Why? Because now I know what the real daily total is, which means I'll have actually saved some cash this month. (Well, maybe not after I pay the car pay't...)

Get out of my head!

Ohio Blogs?

Oh no! <A HREF="http://columbus.ohioblogs.com">They</A> found me! I wasn't ready!

[watches as his traffic increases]

September 15, 2002

Leather pants?

<I>"I think you need a pair of leather pants. I think they could look good on you."</I>

Um yeah, right after my tummy gets flat and i get a tan and a decent hairstyle.

September 14, 2002


Eww. My language pack does not like the Cyrillic alphabet.


September 13, 2002

ACRN needs help

So, my favorite college radio station is back on the air, and, I'm told, taking themselves a little more seriously now that RIAA is cracking down. Check em out: <A HREF="http://acrn.com" target="_blank">ACRN.com</A>.

September 12, 2002

Pies and such.

"That's a lot of chrusciki," he said.

"That's a lot of &lt;Methodist&gt; pies," I said.

What we were referring to was my mom's need of fifteen 5# bags of flour. You can tell it's <A HREF="http://pumpkinfestival.8k.com/">Pumpkin Festival</A> time by the amount of flour they need for pie-baking.

Oh, the insanity that is the Pumpkin Festival... It's fun for about an hour, if you're between the ages of 18 and 30. If you're young, there's plenty to do. If you're old, there's plenty to do. Your only hope for people my age is to be able to share it with your friends or your children.

I do wish the church still turned the fellowship hall into a "restaurant." The food was always so good. I miss that. The pie sale always coincided, and we always made several thousand dollars. But now, the people are old, and until the young folks take over (which I think will happen soon) they can't handle the work.

So, like my Great Aunt Addie, they bake pies till they hurt. From scratch, of course. Oooh, homemade pies.

I have to go before I start drooling on my keyboard.

September 5, 2002

Server reinstalls...

What can't I find? C*ld Fusi*n original disks. Found the backups. Nor can I find that little slip of paper that goes with it. You know, the one you need.

Methinks we've been schnookered by a previous employee. You know, the one nicknamed Cl*sterf*ck.

Oh, Cl*sterf*ck, how you will rot in Hell. With Hellspawn, no doubt.

Oh wait, today Hellspawn said something nice. Really nice. Wonderful even. And ALL of BusOps heard her. Maybe the old girl aint such a cancer after all. It was in our Ethics workshop this morning... she asked about the Other Cancer, hereforth referred to as OC, and his shady business deals with his puppet company which he is lying to her about. Boy was she pissed. And happy to find out she CAN do something about him.

September 4, 2002

It's been a long road...

Holy crap. I've had so many things to complain about over the last few weeks since I started this site up again, but I simply haven't.

Today, I'd like to start with some recent observations since my upgrade to Jaguar and installation of various other hardwares...

1) Jaguar seems faster than 10.1
2) Mail is pretty sweet, mainly because of the ease of use, and the spam feature.
3) iChat is annoying. Why? Because I cant group my buddies like AIM.
4) Microsoft Remote Desktop Client for MacOS X rocks my socks off. Clean, simple, wonderful connectivity to my Win2K servers.
5) Dreamweaver MX - not too difficult to figure out. Looks like the old Homesite if you want it to. Lists all include files on the site map. I'm in love, as of now, but I really need to see how the data connectivity works, and if it gives hints on parameters for objects, etc.

So yes, it's a day of changes, but most of them have been good.