01/30/2009

I was working late the other night with a client who was doing a web site switchover, and managed to come up with a clever solution to his problem. He sent me an e-mail:

Nice one. Thanks Jeff.

I bet you know how to solve a Rubik’s cube too.

And of course I had to admit that yes, in fact I do know how to solve one. Then he threw down the gauntlet.

When I was a kid, I could get about 2/3 of the way through one of the algorithms, but then I would just get lost.  So when I stumbled on the cube on someone’s desk a few weeks back, my determination was reignited.  I’m no speed demon, but I’ve got the sequence down.  Takes me about 4 minutes right now.

Complete with photo!

So I dug around my closet a bit and unearthed the Cube that I had when I was a teenager (junior high, maybe?). I scrambled it a bit:

And then I went to work. It took a few practice runs to remember all of the moves, and then I had Laralee time me as I went for speed.

1:30. Oh yeah, the old man still has it.

01/30/2009

Mmm…. spam.

These must be the happiest people I’ve ever seen to find out they owe more than ten grand on their taxes.

01/28/2009

It looks like banking and financial CEO’s really took a hit on their bonuses in 2008. Apparently they dropped 44% from 2007, to a paltry $18.4 billion. It sure must be rough to be a bank CEO.

01/27/2009

As someone who’s never missed a mortgage payment, it infuriates me to read about how the Gov is bending over backward (with my tax dollars!) to help homeowners who got in over their heads. From an article I read today:

The Fed said it would consider reducing the interest rate paid on mortgages at risk of default, extending the term of the loan, and accepting a deferral or reduction of the outstanding principal balance of the loan.

So if you don’t (or can’t) pay your mortgage, don’t worry! The Fed will step in and drop your interest rate, extend the loan, and even pay off some of the principal for you. Whee!

I realize that people fall on hard times, and I realize losing your house is a big deal. But at the same time, it’s a travesty that people can’t take responsibility for their own finances. Today we just took one more step toward Socialist America.

01/26/2009

From an article about programming by Jeff Atwood:

Unlike applications, web applications are not released in one to three year cycles. They are updated every day, sometimes every hour. Rather than being finished paintings, they are sketches, continually being redrawn in response to new data.

I compare web applications to Von Kempelen’s famous hoax, the mechanical Turk, a 1770 mechanical chess playing machine with a man hidden inside. Web applications aren’t a hoax, but like the mechanical Turk, they do have a programmer inside. And that programmer is sketching away madly.

I like this because it’s so very true. The web sites I build change weekly, daily, sometimes hourly as customers ask for new features, minor tweaks, and other random changes. It’s fast-paced and exciting to watch a site evolve, but at the same time it’s dangerous territory for a programmer because a mistake instantly affects all kinds of users immediately. Whoops.

Many moons ago I did application programming and loved it, but I think I like web programming because it’s fast and dirty and just plain fun to slam out a new feature only hours after someone asks for it.

01/26/2009

Snow day!

It’s coming down pretty hard today, so the guys and I are all going to work at home. Sometimes it’s sure nice to have a home office…

01/25/2009

“Opportunity is a haughty goddess who wastes no time with those who are unprepared.”

— George Clason

01/22/2009

Yay for Obama, who signed an executive order today ordering the closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. The abuses conducted there are a national embarrassment and a sad legacy of the misguided Bush administration tactics against suspected terrorists.

It remains to be seen how the details will play out, but at least we’re heading in the right direction.

Finally.

01/14/2009

Today I was driving to a meeting and for some inexplicable reason I started thinking about inertia.

Inertia is, of course, the tendency for an object in motion to stay in motion (or at rest) barring any external force. And I think all of us tend to have inertia in our lives. We do the same things (or don’t do things) not necessarily because they’re the “right” things or the “best” things, but rather because they’re the things we’ve been doing for so long that it’s just easier to keep doing them than to change and do something different.

Since my business is a big part of my everyday life, I tend to think about ways to improve it or expand it or just generally be more successful. And I wonder if I have too much inertia in the way I do business. I’ve been doing it more or less the same way for almost nine years now, and although I’m happy with my progress and proud of where I am, at the same time I can’t help but wonder if changing this or that would take me in new directions that would be even more rewarding.

The hard thing about inertia is overcoming it. I guess one of my New Year’s resolutions should be to do just that. And not just in business, but in my life in general. How many of my daily activities are nothing more than inertia? How many more great things might I be able to do if I overcome that inertia and move in a different direction?