Why is Zing awesome? Because we can do the kinds of things our clients need, when they have no idea how to do it or who to even ask. Some examples from today:

One client had a list of 5,000 ZIP codes from a consumer database and needed to know which states they were in. In 10 minutes I was able to generate a list of not only states, but cities as well.

Another client needed to send an e-mail message announcing their new project to 22,000 people. As is often the case, they didn’t really get everything together until today, and they need the message sent no later than tonight. I created a nice graphic e-mail, reformatted and imported their contact list, and had everything ready to send in 40 minutes.

Someone else was having problems with Yahoo search results directing to old URL’s on his site. In 10 minutes I was able to update the configuration of his site to automatically rewrite URL’s so the search engine links were correct and people could get to his “important” pages easily.

Still another client decided to change the underlying user authentication model for their entire business, so we had a conference call to figure out an approach. I was able to come up with a solution which will give them two different “classes” of users while still preserving the overall functionality of the system.

Those are the unusual requests that came in… I also handled updates to a donation request form, launched a major new site, handled a case where a client lost all of his passwords, updated accounting calculations for million-dollar trade deals, and provided online order summary reports for someone who couldn’t figure out how to generate what she needed.

All in a day’s work, I guess. There are a lot of web design and development firms in the world– heck, there are a lot just in the Boulder area– but I feel like we’re extra awesome because we can do the things the other guys can’t.

Of course, I might be biased…

Fifteen years.

Wow, that’s a long time. But today is my fifteenth anniversary, and I must say that I still think Laralee is pretty swell. She’s the best thing that ever happened to me.

Photo credit: Thom, circa 2000

Today’s overused annoying phrase:

living document

Example usage:

This list of widgets will be a living document so we can continue adding each flavor as our magical talking newt shares his visions with us.

Documents are inanimate objects. They aren’t alive. Can’t someone come up with a better term here?

So Laralee has this crazy vibrant orange shirt with Electric Apricot across the front.

I have no idea what that is, but it seems like a great name for a band.

It’s been twelve years since I worked at Raytheon, but during my five-year tenure there I had the opportunity to contribute to some cool projects and work with some great people. Every few years I meet these guys at Mama Alvino’s, an old pizza hangout we used to frequent. So today I made the pilgrimage down to Aurora and enjoyed lunch with Bill, Ken, Paul, and Dan.

What an awesome team. I miss you guys… although I don’t miss working for The Man!

Hah, another pizza week, starting last Saturday…

Saturday : homemade pizza
Sunday : leftover homemade pizza
Monday : Anthony’s Pizza (south Longmont)
Tuesday : Old Chicago (south Longmont)
Wednesday : Pasquini’s (south Denver)
Thursday : leftover Old Chicago (at the office)
Friday : Mama Alvino’s (north Aurora)
Saturday : homemade pizza
Sunday : leftover homemade pizza?

I sure hope to see a federal study one of these days that proves conclusively a diet of pepperoni pizza and orange juice extends your lifespan by ten years…

Alex and I got back a little while ago from a campout with his Boy Scout troop. Good times. We were up in the foothills above Boulder– beautiful area. The area was deserted, which made it nice and peaceful. Well, I guess with ten boys there it wasn’t exactly peaceful, but still. The weather was a little nippy, dropping down into the 20’s overnight, but everyone had a good sleeping bag so we were all right.

Now it’s 60ish and sunny, so I went out and washed my car. I hadn’t washed it since sometime in December, so it definitely needed it. It’s all nice and shiny again, so overall life is good.

I made some mac and cheese for dinner tonight. As I was scooping the noodles into the pan, I noticed the date on the side of the can.

One can only hope that pasta doesn’t go bad after eight years.

Benjamin Franklin’s daily planner:

The two things I find interesting about this:

1) He really believed in “early to bed, early to rise”. Sheesh, five in the morning?

2) I like his morning and evening questions. Maybe if more people reflected on their days like this, our world would be a little better.

An article by Charlie Brooker sums up my feelings about Apple products exactly:

They make you feel good, Apple products. The little touches: the rounded corners, the strokeable screens, the satisfying clunk as you fold the Macbook shut– it’s serene. Untroubled. Like being on Valium.

Until, that is, you try to do something Apple doesn’t want you to do. At which point you realise your shiny chum isn’t on your side. It doesn’t even understand sides. Only Apple: always Apple.

That’s how I feel about my trusty old iPod Shuffle… and my shiny new Apple TV. I’m a hacker; I’ve run Linux for a decade and a half. I’m the guy who wants to get under the hood, who wants to customize everything just so, who is always looking for the back door. And with Apple the hood doesn’t open and there isn’t a back door. Unless some enterprising hacker figures out how to fool the hardware, and comes up with a jailbreak to make people like me happy. Until, that is, Apple patches the thing that made the jailbreak possible and locks the door once more.


Today was sunny and almost 70 degrees, so I was able (finally!) to play ultimate in bare feet. It’s been many months since the ground was soft enough– and warm enough– to do that. Nice.

Today’s grammar police bring you this gem from an email sent by a woman at an agency I’m working with:

If I can be of assistance to you please do not hesitate to reach out and contact myself.

That’s “me”, not “myself”. I think it’s a result of kids being taught from their youth that they should always say things like “him and I” when it’s properly “him and me”. People are afraid to use the word “me”, so it’s like they grope for a word that’s similar and end up with “I” or “myself” or whatever.

By the way, I realize that my first sentence should properly end with “… at an agency with which I’m working”. Never end a sentence with a preposition.

With some help from Josh and his Mac, I finally hacked my Apple TV and now I’ve got a sweet little media center. We’re watching previews online… Laralee is making all of us laugh by picking movies like “Hello Dolly” and “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”. The movies back in the 60’s had previews that make you want to poke your eyes out. I don’t know why people went to see movies back then, after seeing the trailers.

But anyway, despite Apple’s stupid iTunes lockdown, now that I have XBMC installed on the Apple TV it’s actually useful. Shout out to the guys out there who come up with the jailbreaks to do this.

This is a first. I have a conference call with one of my clients tomorrow, and they want to talk about restructuring their web site. To prepare for the call they sent a document with scans of their “wireframes”:

And then a video that shows the meeting where they discussed all of this. The video is an hour long and includes riveting scenes like this:

Basically I’m supposed to watch the meeting to “get some context” prior to the call. Hoo boy.

On Saturday we went to a Cub Scout fundraiser and bid on an air hockey table someone had donated to be auctioned. We bid $5, the recommended minimum, and waited for others to bid up the price. No one did. I felt kind of bad getting a nice air hockey table for five bucks, so I told Kyra we should outbid ourselves at $25. She wrote it on the bid sheet and we waited again. Still no one.

So, hey, we ended up with a $25 air hockey table. It’s great fun. Of course it takes up a bunch of space in the basement, but it’s worth it.