Technology and geeky stuff
I have lots of clients who have great ideas, wonderful vision, and yet have a lot of trouble understanding why I keep asking them for more and more specificity before I sit down and write some HTML or code. I’m afraid they sometimes think I’m a dolt because I keep asking for more detail about exactly what they want me to do. They find it hard to understand why I can’t just take an idea and run with it. Why do I need a detailed specification?
I ran into this passage a week ago, written over 10 years ago (but timeless), and the clarity and insight was so right on that I laughed out loud:
“The programmer, who needs clarity, who must talk all day to a machine that demands declarations, hunkers down into a low-grade annoyance. It is here that the stereotype of the programmer, sitting in a dim room, growling from behind Coke cans, has its origins. The disorder of the desk, the floor; the yellow Post-it notes everywhere; the whiteboards covered with scrawl: all this is the outward manifestation of the messiness of human thought. The messiness cannot go into the program; it piles up around the programmer.
Ullman, Ellen (2012-02-28). Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents (Kindle Locations 352-356). Picador. Kindle Edition.
So when the client says, “Make that headline a little more greenish,” I now have something I can point them at so they’ll understand the difficulty of that seemingly simple task. I love it!
Oh man, I am asked all the time how to pick a hosting company. And although I do all my hosting in just two places now, the evolution has been interesting, and I don’t have an answer that I completely like yet. I can see that for most people, you have to go with something easy, and the domain registrars provide easy solutions – like Network Solutions and GoDaddy, for instance. But if you’re a geek and can handle your own simple installations, then a virtual private server can be a tempting idea.
Here’s my history of hosting on the Internet. (continue reading…)
Well am I ever surprised! I would have thought that inserting a robots.txt file that tells googlebot to “go away” would cause it to “not index the site.”
Instead, I discovered that the googlebot may still spot the site and then put up a message saying that the site exists but is not indexed. i.e. the Googlebot still publicizes the existence of the site. It makes Google look like the good guys and us look like the bad guys for putting up a robots.txt. Yay for Google liberating all online information! Boo for us trying to keep our site un-indexed until we’re ready to make it public. (continue reading…)
NASA flew the retired Space Shuttle Endeavour through the San Francisco Bay Area this morning. It was a treat for tens of thousands of us who waited and watched for this very last flight of the Endeavour. It is one of four shuttles going into retirement in the form of permanent exhibits…with Endeavour ending up in Los Angeles.
Using amateur radio repeaters — there were lots of folks watching for the aircraft all along its route — I tracked the flight’s progress from Southern California up past Stockton, where it flew around the capitol building in Sacramento twice, then down the Sacramento River to the Bay Area. The craft made a pass by the Golden Gate Bridge, one around the Bay in a big loop, and then back out straight between the bridge towers. I joined hundreds of enthusiastic fans viewing from Twin Peaks (elev. 800+ ft) in the geographical center of San Francisco. We were nearly the same elevation as the aircraft, which flew between 1,200 and 1,500 feet during the entire maneuver. (continue reading…)