Dispelling a myth of centralized IT

“Information Technology”, or IT as it’s more commonly known, tends to get a bad rap. It’s a black box to organizations, there to serve arcane purposes that always seem to have a habit of getting in everyone else’s way of doing whatever they need to be doing. The end result is the idea that “IT is evil”.
It’s a bit unfair, truth be told. IT doesn’t try to be evil (heck, some IT organizations actively espouse not being evil), it’s often a net effect of just being misunderstood. And like any misunderstood creature, problems arise, misconceptions arise, and pretty soon people are chasing down systems administrators with pitchforks, and…
Oh, I’m getting ahead of myself a bit. Let’s rewind a tad, shall we?
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Things I learned by leaving social media

On 8 November 2016, Americans elected their new president, whom I hope to never have to publicly acknowledge. That night, I came to a rather painful conclusion: I needed to abandon social media for a while.
In this particular election, the media had (unwittingly, foolishly, stupidly, or all of the above) enabled a level of insipid, unchecked banter that intelligence and logic were utterly cast aside in favour of whomever had the best catchphrase. Basically, a Hollywood political satire come to life. Very real, very painful life.
It hurt so bad that I had to turn it off.
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20 Years a Web Developer

Twenty years ago this month — and very possibly this week, though I’m not 100% certain of that — I entered into the very nascent industry of digital marketing. At the time, the project had been little more than a simple idea, something to possibly prove my own abilities, a problem that sort of needed solving. And yet, little did I know at the time, it would send me down a long and sometimes disturbingly windy path.
It’s also a milestone where one does need to consider … well, everything. Honestly, a bit of reflection and introspection is needed from time to time, but the decade markers seem to have a certain extra amount of importance. Though to be honest, that’s just a perceived thing; there’s no legal or social reason that I’m aware of. It’s more about having a well-defined chunk of time to really take that step back and say:
“Ye gods I’m getting old…”
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An open letter to Nest Labs: please don't outsource your support

Dear Nest,
Yesterday, you launched your new Protect smoke detector product. Pretty much my entire social feed is filled with people lusting over the device, especially those — like me — who already have enjoyed the Learning Thermostat and want the amazing experience that comes with a Nest product.
You have another experience beyond your products that also receives massive accolades, and rightly so: your product support. From what I understand, you’re about to do it a terrible disservice.
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2012, A Year in Review

For me, 2012 was a bad year. Between a host of medical issues (brutal chest cough that led to pulled muscles, to appendicitis, to strep throat, a couple nasty colds-cum-killer flus, and a minor outpatient surgery), ridiculous amounts of stress, the ever-present struggle of being a parent to young children, a general malaise, and an unfulfilled burning need to travel, it’s truly a wonder I got out of bed in the morning.
So it wasn’t with any reservation that 2012 walked out of my life on Monday night, yet it still managed to leave me rather depressed. Sadly, 2013 woke me up looking already a lot like 2012, so I’m not sure if I’m able to look at this new year with much hope yet. Instead, I suppose I shall have to try harder to make things work more my way.
This not to say that I “didn’t like” 2012. It’s hard not to like an entire year in one’s life, especially one that brings so many new things to learn and experience. I just wish it hadn’t been so darned painful…
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The Nest: Excellence in Product Design and Customer Service

I’ve turned into my dad. Really. I’ve got to be the hardest person on the planet to buy for. My poor wife pestered me for weeks to expand on my Christmas list (she pre-populated it with: “If you don’t add anything, you get a vasectomy!”), and I amounted to two things: sweatpants, and a new silicone scraper for the kitchen.
So leave it to my sister to — yet again — pull off a miracle. She has a knack for this. I don’t know where she’s acquired this skill, but she’s got it down and I’m fairly envious of it. (I struggle every year to return the favour. I suck at it.) Last year it was the most comfy sweatshirt I’ve ever owned. This year? She delivered to me one of the most whiz-bang things I think I’ve ever been given:
A thermostat.
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How to be a Technical Writer

It’s surprising how often I’ve been asked this question over the last few months. Once upon a time — some dozen years ago — I was a technical writer. I wrote manuals, technical documentation, and various forms of other literature for a living. And, to be quite honest, I hated it.
Well, hate is a strong word. I got bored of doing it. (Long story, suffice to say, I ended up making websites for a living.) But certainly the skill has never left me (I still write documentation to this day as part of my job), and I do know a few things about writing clearly and effectively.
Sadly, it’s not something that is done particularly well…
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Marketing Red Herring: QR Codes

I’m in digital marketing. I spend a lot of time dealing with ways of people visit websites to get them to spend money. (That’s the short version. The really short, and moderately soul-suckingly depressing version. The long version is … an entire career.) So I deal with a lot of different ideas, tools, methodologies, and directions that — in theory — make everyone’s lives easier.
Every so often, we get hit with buzzwords. Sometimes, they’re tech-related, like DHTML, AJAX, and HTML5 (remember, I deal with these things every day — I know what they really mean). Sometimes, they’re things like “progressive enhancement” or “responsive design” (yes, buzzwords — they can grossly over-simplify reality). And then there’s the Big Shiny™ stuff that distracts from simplicity.
Let me tell you a few things about QR Codes
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Thoughts on Microsoft Surface

Okay, you know my opinions on Microsoft. They’re not exactly private. So yes, I definitely went into yesterday’s announcement with low expectations.
Microsoft has really only done one thing really well in the last decade, in my opinion: Xbox. That was a helluva gamble — I was in the gaming industry still when the first rumours surfaced — and Microsoft could have gone down hard. But the gamble paid off — they invested heavily in content, and (in the end) content helped win their position in the video game battlefield.
But on their software end — their traditional business — it’s a very different story. It’s been a long wait for something “better”. Windows XP has been around for a decade; it finally goes away in 2014. Windows Vista was an utter mess. Windows 7 appears to be decent, but the adoption seems to be more about having to leave XP than “oh, this is so much better than X”. Windows 8? Haven’t played with it yet, admittedly, but I just don’t hear the buzz about it. Office is an ancient standby that’s in need of a serious overhaul (really, a word processor shouldn’t occupy so much RAM). Internet Information Server (IIS) is so overcomplicated as to make me wonder if someone wrote it on a dare. Don’t even get me started on IE.
Microsoft has rested on its corporate laurels for most of its life, continuing along without any real serious change. (Debate me, please! I would love to be proven wrong, but I’m pretty sure I’m right.) We’ve not seen anything truly new.
That includes the Microsoft Surface tablet. It’s a mobile device that runs Windows. It’s been done before — the Microsoft phones, for example. (Windows RT, CE, 8, etc. It’s still Windows, regardless of the flavour.) They’ve not exactly taken off with the popularity of the iPhone or Android-based phones. The platform seems solid, but the overall environment (media integration, for example) is absent.
The tablet itself is … well, just another tablet. There was not one innovative thing announced yesterday. Oh, the keyboard? That’s not part of the tablet — that’s an accessory, and it’s already been done. It’s a smarter implementation, yes, but nothing truly new. The Surface tablet, in fact, reminds me much more of the RIM Playbook than anything else — too complicated to be a simple device, which is what makes the iPad so brilliant.
And this morning, I realised the other thing Microsoft has failed upon — releasing it. They’re taunting people with the next-nearest thing to vapourware: an unfinished product. It was so bad at the launch yesterday, that demo devices were snatched away before anyone could get any significant details on them. By comparison, Apple — the very company Microsoft is attempting to emulate, here — announces hardware by saying you can buy it today. There’s a lot to be said for immediacy. Microsoft’s announcement was the marketing equivalent of premature ejaculation.
Okay, now in Microsoft’s defence — because, yes, I do see where they’re coming from. Although Microsoft has never released a real computer of its own (they’ve done some excellent peripherals; my favourite keyboard next to the original heavy-click IBM PC keyboard was a Microsoft split keyboard), they have heavily influenced PC manufacturers for years. But that influence has … well … if you’ve gone around and looked at the recent PCs, you really have to wonder if anyone has thought outside the beige box. PC designs have changed little, and, frankly, they just ain’t sexy. They’re even more boring now than the old towers of old.
So this is Microsoft telling all their vendors that “enough is enough” — if you’re going to do something right, do it yourself. So kudos to Microsoft to stepping up to that plate, and driving it hard. This is where Microsoft could potentially change the game again — as they did with the Xbox (yes, pun intended) — and revitalise an industry that is sagging like … um … see my above comment about “premature” and draw your own conclusion.
As for my conclusion on the Surface — it changes nothing at this point. The announcement was too early, the environment undefined, and until someone antes up with a real-world demo of how awesome everything together can be, I’ll remain wanting.
Wanting Microsoft to be awesome again. I’ve been waiting a long time.
 

TV is dead. Long live the internet!

I feel like an old man. I can now look at my kids, and say with far too much vigour: “When I was your age…” I refer to, of course, having to get off my ass, walking over to the cathode ray tube-based television set, change the dial to UHF, and move the oversized dial that changed the direction of the UHF antenna…
I’ve lost you, haven’t I? I shudder to think how few of you have an inkling of what I’m talking about. Yeah, that’s how old I am. I remember when there were only a handful of channels, when almost all of the content was on ABC, NBC, CBS, CBC, CTV, Global, and a few independent stations (such as the awesome CityTV and the the extremely nacent Fox). I remember the introduction of cable. I remember having to wait for the summer reruns because I missed that crucial episode of The A Team that everyone was talking about in class the next morning. I remember when the season debuts were a big thing. I remember when missing a live televised event was significant, because it was gone forever.
It seems somehow just as bizarre a concept as the Spanish Inquisition.
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Can we get rid of timezones now, please?

For over 100 years, we’ve had a rough international agreement about at what point the sun is directly overhead, because this is when we assign an arbitrary time known as “noon”. We’ve divided the world into “zones”, which for some reason makes sense.
Like most international agreements, it’s not perfect, and many governments have gone well out of their way to thoroughly botch and/or screw around with the implementation — so much so that, in some cases, the concept of a time zone really makes no sense at all. Given the rise of the internet, the massive synchronisation between continents in real-time, and the presence of global companies, it’s frankly a wonder why we even think time zones are a good idea anymore.
So let’s get rid of them!
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Renovating: a word on LED lighting

For our renovation project, one thing we decided to do was take the leap to using LED-only lighting. This is a trend we started a couple of years ago, just as commercial LED bulbs were really coming available. It’s something we strongly believe in, and something I think everyone should consider.
Are they cheap? No. A standard incandescent bulb is easily 10-50x cheaper. A compact fluorescent (CFM) bulb at least 10x cheaper. Halogen (usually) gives off more light. And you’re still a little limited on options in terms of dimming and colours, and so forth.
So why do it? Because you should.
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Canada: You're about to lose your freedom

I’ll keep this one short folks, I promise.
Do you use the internet (even watching videos on YouTube and Facebook counts)? Do you use an iPod/iPhone/iWhatever? Do you watch downloaded movies? Are you a student (or thinking of going back to school)? Then you’d better pay very close attention, because your beloved Federal Government under Stephen Harper is about to pull the rug out from under you.
If you somehow missed the bruhaha over the United States’ failed SOPA bill, you cannot afford to miss Canada’s attempt at the same thing. We’re very close to passing bill C-11, a bill sponsored by big media (notably movie studios, the music industry, and publishing giants) who want to control the way you access your music, TV, and books. They want this control because they are unable to cope with the digital economy, and want the Government to create laws that heavily restrict your actions, and impose ridiculous punishment.
Now I am no expert on these things, but I read someone who is: Professor Michael Geist of the University of Ottawa, the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-Commerce Law. (I mean, really, could you possibly get anyone better?) He has written some excellent articles on just how bad C-11 is — and has been very clear on how it could be improved so it’s not so terrible. (The Government, to no surprise, is not listening.)
I offer you the following from Geist’s blog. The intros here are my paraphrased summaries of the articles.

And he also visited with Strombo on the CBC to talk about C-11. It’s less than two minutes, and it explains just about everything. Even if you don’t read the above articles, you really should watch this video.
In short, our beloved Government is refusing to adopt the perspective that they represent the Canadian people. They are preferring to listen to corporations and corporate associations, and worse still — foreign corporations who have no business dictating our laws.
Okay, so what do you do?
First, sign up with OpenMedia’s petition. It only takes a moment, and every single little bit helps. (SOPA died in the United States because the vocal backlash was loud enough.)
Then, can I suggest sending the following text to the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper ([email protected]), the  Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture) Hon. Christian Paradis ([email protected]) (he’s the Minister putting C-11 forth, and hence is responsible for our impending nightmare), Nycole Turmel ([email protected]) (she’s our official, albeit interim, Leader of the Opposition), Hon. Bob Rae ([email protected]) (our most experienced elder statesman in Parliament), and your Canadian Member of Parliament.

Dear Gentlemen and Madams,
I am writing to express my deep concern regarding Bill C-11, now put forth in our Parliament.
While I am very much aware of the need to address copyright laws within Canada to ensure that they meet international agreements, the terms and conditions being put forth in C-11 appear to be overlooking the needs of the Canadian people, both in the present and in the future. These terms go far past those required by international agreement, and introduce unnecessary restriction and overly  punitive  damages.
The proposed conditions are being driven primarily by corporations, and are also heavily influenced by foreign governments and foreign corporations who have no right to comment on Canada’s laws. The Canadian Federal Government is supposed to stand for its people, yet we are being considered last in this process.
Please stop the blind approval of this damaging legislation and reopen it to Canadian legal experts who have offered wise and just opinion on how C-11 could still address the needs of Canadian law while not imposing unnecessary (and unfair) restrictions on law-abiding Canadians.
Most sincerely,
[Your name here. Please use a real one.]

Why SOPA will (and must) fail

Across the internet, the letters S-O-P-A have inspired a particular level of hatred and vitriol. Beyond the internet, the Stop Online Piracy Act has barely registered any significant presence within mainstream media. The reasons for this are … well, circumspect, especially given the damage that SOPA would bring to the internet. And this, my dear reader, is something that you do need to be aware of, as it may very well affect this very website.
The Stop Online Piracy Act is a bill before the Government of the United States of America that proposes — in a general sense — a series of rules and penalties in an effort to eradicate online piracy. At a high level, it certainly seems like a reasonable request. In fact, so reasonable that anyone not spending time reviewing the details of the bill might very well have missed some of the more draconian measures being implemented, allowing — in effect — individual companies to disable outright any website they believe to be infringing on copyright without right of trial, so long as said website has some dependency on US-based services (which a tremendous percentage of websites have).
In effect, a US company can shut down your otherwise legal operation because they’ve told their government that you’re the bad guy.
Sound unfair? It should. But this, dear reader, is also where things get more sinister.
The authors of this bill are members of the American government, but that’s not who is really driving it. The backers? Big media. Notably, the same companies who have been engaging in a futile, misguided, and often grossly misdirecting effort to have laws enacted to protect their business models. Companies represented by the RIAA and MPAA, and a host of old companies who don’t want to change.
They’re flailing, and failing. They’re unable to grasp the concept of digital media. They’re used to their physical world — one book to one person, one CD in one CD player, one VHS tape showing on one tube-based television set. The new world allows a single copy to be copied, cut, remixed, and displayed on millions of devices simultaneously. The media companies chime: “Show me the money.”
But instead of adapting, they cry foul. They cry piracy. They claim that they’re losing money hand-over-fist, and they will expire without the assistance of new laws. Yet, they’re not losing money. In fact, many of the music labels are making more than ever, largely in part to Apple, who strong-armed them into making music cheap, and — to absolutely no surprise to any armchair economist — removed the barrier to entry, and sold music in such quantities that the music industry was very likely saved from imminent death.
Hence, SOPA. And while the White House chosen to not sign the bill, there is no reason to believe it won’t be back in some other odious form.
Beyond the American government, I have reason to also fear this bill because of the efforts of my own government. The Canadian government has thrice shown to be spineless in its resistance to these same groups lobbying for ridiculous legislation in Canada that would put our own culture and identity as unwarranted in terms of content ownership. Our politicians, who had in decades previous been those who stand only for its own people, now show to be bowing to massive foreign conglomerates, leaving its own people to suffer as a result.
SOPA, and bills like it must fail. Because they are flawed in their consideration of evolution, because they fail to take digital commerce into account, and because they will unnecessarily bind our children into false agreements and behaviours that will haunt them their entire lives.
If you are an American, please write your congressperson. If you are Canadian, please write your MP. In either case, don’t let your government become party to Big Media’s insanity, don’t let our future be dictated by corporations. Learn more at AmericanCensorship.org.
Content yearns to be free. Not free as in ownership, but free as in freedom, free as in life. Let content live.

My upgrade to OS X "Lion"

For those of us who live on Apple-brand devices, there’s rarely an OS release that goes by without a rush of excitement that should normally require followups with a physician. While the majority come in the iOS (read: iPhone, iPod, iPad) space, there are the odd ones that come out for the desktop hardware.
One such example is the recent OS X “Lion” release, hailed by Apple as the next coming of operating systems, and anyone foolish enough not to install it might as well ship themselves off to a leper colony. Of course, anyone who has done systems support in their life (i.e. me) knows that upgrading to any “new” OS just begs for things to go wrong.
Which is why I volunteered to be a guinea pig.
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Why you should use Google Analytics

For anyone out there trying to do any form of semi-serious work on the internet (notably with websites), you often end up asking yourself: is what I’m doing having any effect whatsoever? It’s an important question — especially if there are monetary values attached to the work you’re doing — and it’s not always the easiest one to answer.
That’s where analytics packages come in handy. They can tell you who is visiting your site, where they’re from, what browser they’re using, their navigation path, search terms, etc. From a metrics perspective, it’s  indispensable  information. And there’s a lot of packages that’ll help you get all that.
But only one of them will get you into Google’s search index almost instantly.
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An argument for wired city council

As little as a hundred years ago, North Americans lived (generally) in towns and (much smaller) cities, where it was possible to know your elected representatives personally, meet with them, and have a person-to-person chat. In the years following, our representatives have been accused more and more of being “disconnected” and “out of touch” from their constituents, as the towns and cities grow, and the number of people in a given district rise well past the point of “manageable” by a single person.
The biggest problem is not really the number of people — it’s the time councillors need to connect with them all, while still doing the job for which they were elected. In a physical sense, it’s nearly impossible. Some have turned to the internet to help bridge the gap, using technology to connect.
Allow me to show you an example, which I experienced today…
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The development in my life

If I were to summarise the last ten years of my career prior, specifically from about June 2000 to June 2010, it would look something like this: web developer, specialised web developer, senior web developer, junior manager, manager, director, technical architect. What, in many ways, looks largely like an “upward” progression in knowledge work.
During these last ten years, and notably the latter five, I trended more and more away from programming and more into management. I managed people, I managed projects, I managed implementations, and pretty much managed to avoid coding of any kind. I convinced myself that it made more sense for me to focus on the higher-level technology planning than it did on the actual implementation — there were others who did it better than me, and it was a waste of effort to try do it all.
And suddenly, I found myself checkmated.
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Switching from Shaw to Telus

For those of you not already following the story, I’ve sworn off Shaw. As much as I am tied — nay, symbiotically attached — to the internet, I would have been quite willing to end the service at home with the continued lack of service I was receiving from Shaw. It was past “infuriating”, past “mind-bendingly torturous”, and I was way passed “pissed off”. We had to move, or I could have possibly killed someone. Consider that move a public service, folks.
We moved to Telus. Not solely because they’re really the only other option in town, but partly because the new Optik service had proved highly appealing (nicer interface, and free PVR with long-term contract), and a very lucrative introductory offer combined with Shaw’s epic failure really cinched the deal.
Not that it’s gone completely flawlessly…
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From the frying pan…

Before we returned to Calgary last December, we did a fair amount of investigation into what services we would get at home. In particular consideration were television, internet, and phone service. (In my ideal world, it would have also included cellphones, but no-one does the full bundle in Calgary … yet.) After an extensive amount of investigation, cost comparison, and service review, the only real option (at the time) was Shaw Communications.
Some nine months later, I’m ready to heave Shaw out the door like a long-overstayed houseguest, and welcome in a new tenant: Telus. Since our last major investigation, Telus has rolled out a new television service (which, at least from reports, is quite good) and is taking on Shaw toe-to-toe to steal and cajole whatever marketshare they can. In theory, it’s a buyer’s market.
There’s only one problem: both of them have serious service issues.
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My WordPress pet peeve

I have a pet peeve with WordPress. (Actually, I have a few, but we’ll get to the rest later.) This one, I’ll admit, is limited to those of us who develop with WordPress. In short, WordPress hard-codes domains in its database. Worse-still, some parts of WordPress (and a few plugins) save the server’s full internal filepath as part of their operations.
The average person who just installs and starts using WordPress right away won’t ever see this. It’s only when you try to move the installation to another domain name (such as if you moved your blog from “www.mysite.com” to “blog.mysite.com”), or if you move to a new service provider (and the internal file paths change) that it becomes painfully visible.
And, although I do love you WordPress, this is something that’s gotta change.
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Get Geeqee

Back at the beginning of the year, I took a different direction in my career. Until December, I’d been a career man — work for one company. Work your butt off, be the cog in the machine, and do the best you could to stay safe. It was what I knew, and it generally worked well. Or rather, worked me well. (I’m sure you know what I mean…)
Things changed, and I went the route of contracting, something I hadn’t really done since I left university. Initially, it was with my friends over at Evans Hunt Group. The result was VisitCalgary.com. Since then, I opted to take a vacation, and now it’s time for me to get my own little consultancy off and running.
It’s time for me to Get Geeqee.
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Visit Calgary: You're Very Welcome!

When we returned from Costa Rica, our plans had been pretty simple: take off the month of December to get settled, and then head back to work in January. Plans changed shortly after arriving back home, and suddenly I found myself without a job. Bills still had to be paid, food purchased, and because we live in a city that is far too unfriendly to public transit, we also had to buy a car.
A few years ago, this probably would have put me into a panic. And a few years ago, it would have been just me to worry about. Now I have a wife and two kids (well, one at the time, and one on the way) to support. Really, that should have put me off the deep end. Having lived through a significant amount of adversity over the last couple of years, though, I found myself not even concerned about the prospect of unemployment.
I attribute that to having kept contact with just the right people.
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Flash: I'm not dead yet!

I’m getting a little tired of this topic. I was tired of it about a day after Steve Jobs first showed the iPad to the world, and the infamous blue LEGO appeared where a Flash plug-in should have been. It wasn’t really so much a shock to the world — Apple had been denying Flash applications on their iPod/iPhone platform all along. But this seemed to start off a little maelstrom the likes of which I haven’t read since people argued over on which end to start eating a hard-boiled egg.
The events of the last few weeks have been extremely tiresome to say the least. Far too many people and groups have been  prognosticating  the future of personal computing, and there’s been far too little in doses of reality. The future is coming, but it’s not coming nearly as quickly as everyone thinks it is, and rushing to meet the future will likely only harm the present. A little rational thought would be appreciated.
Okay, let’s address the elephant in the room, first. Steve Jobs hates Flash. There, I’ve said it. Now let’s move on.
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Marketing is from Mars, IT is from Venus

I’ve spent over a decade in the Big Leagues of interactive marketing. I started in the low rungs as a web developer, and slowly worked my past the coding to see the bigger pictures: what made marketing work, why certain campaigns were better than others, how to think like a client, and so forth. These are all truly interesting skills, and helped a lot with the projects I worked on.
One thing that regularly amazed me, however, was how often a client’s internal IT group seemed to have non-trivial input on almost every aspect of an initiative, from the way it was hosted right down to the specific use of a given image. I often found myself watching our best-laid plans being eaten away to the point of delivering something I was less than happy with. The repeat experience led me to focus on one inexorable fact:
IT departments should never have any input on the marketing website. Ever.
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The end of the individual experience

A few years from now, my kids will be old enough to ask me questions that will require a lot of explanation. Like, for example, what the internet was like when I was their age, how I survived without a mobile data device, did I watch TV in black and white (interestingly enough, I did, but only because the TV was black and white), and what did I name my pet dinosaur (‘cuz, you know, every kid makes that joke of their parents).
One question I also expect them to ask is how I watched TV without having my computer in front of me, firing off notes through Twitter, Facebook, or whatever social media network will be in vogue in 5-8 years from now. I’ll look at their cute, adorable little faces, and tell them as seriously as I can: There was a time when we watched TV on our own. We went to sporting events in small groups, we went shopping without telling everyone what we were doing, and we could vanish for hours on end without anyone knowing where we were.
The idea that we exist solely as individuals is rapidly becoming extinct.
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The failure of the electric car

In our Inconvenient Truth world, popular desire is starting to change the way some companies think. We’re seeing large companies produce “green” products, such as biodegradable detergents, packaging from recycled plastic, and tables made from recovered wood. We’re asking our service providers to show us how they’re working to reduce their output, through paperless billing and electronic messaging.
A few years ago, the “hybrid” car was introduced, a shining new example of how to make vehicles more efficient, and spawned a new movement of environmentally-aware manufacturing. Today, Nissan stands ready to finally release the first mass-market all-electric vehicle, amping up the competition to become the centre of the environmentally-friendly transportation universe. I, for one, welcome the arrival of the electric car, long overdue from formal acceptance in North America. At the same time, however, I also curse its arrival because it doesn’t actually address a primary problem.
The electric car strives to perpetuate a bad idea: that we all need a car.
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What makes a Senior Developer

Every so often, someone asks me what I need to see in a senior developer. Why people ask me this is a mystery. I mean, besides the fact that I’m a Know-It-All, could it really be that several years of being a manager have really allowed me to delve into the core of the human psyche, separate the hard skills from the soft, and know what it really means to be “that” person?
Yeah, I’m having a good laugh at this one, too! But since I am a Know-It-All, and someone asks, it’s really hard for me to say “I don’t know”. I mean, it’s not like I don’t have an opinion on it or something…
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Make April 1 "IE6 Dies" Day

At the moment, IE6 still holds about 20% of the market (according to today’s metrics from NetMarketShare). That’s far too large a share for a 8.5 year old browser, especially one that has been  superseded  by successive releases of its own code by two versions. It’s far too much for a browser that costs too much to support, and despite several service packs still bears significant security issues. It continues to haunt the internet, acting like a lazy bouncer allowing the seediest of activities to go on unchecked.
I propose April 1st be “IE6 Dies” Day.  It’s time that IE6 be shown the door. But we’ll need help.
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Greed kills innovation

I was sitting at my kitchen table, poring over recommendations I’m writing for my client (partially communicative, partially CYA), when I had one of those sudden thoughts: I need tea.  While I was drinking my tea — a pomegranate green tea, if you must know — I had one of those epiphanal moments when something becomes radically clear.
Greed kills innovation.
It’s short, it’s simple, it’s sure to raise the ire of a lot of people, but it’s also a major problem we’re seeing lately, especially in internet technologies. It’s a problem that’s dogged humanity for generations. And it’s getting worse.
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