Nice People

I finally had a chance to sit down and catch up on reading all the RSS feeds I’m subscribed to. This past week and a half has been filled with dealing with a very frustrating publication, some of which was through a blackberry in another time zone because I was traveling from work. We’re still dealing with the aftermath though things have calmed down some. They are very demanding and have asked for many changes to their newly redesigned website over the past week. As the requests grew (many for changing things that we just changed), I really wanted to just tell them no (I have recently been given almost complete control over what goes up on all our websites in an effort to improve them and let the publishers focus on running their publications instead of being web designers). Each time, I took a deep breath and told myself that as long as this change didn’t mess up anything design-wise, it would make them happy if we put it in and soon they would be satisfied.

While I was reading my RSS feeds, I came across the following snippet of Tantek’s blog on Nice people:

  • Give more time and attention to nice people: For now here is my summary advice: focus most of your time on the people that are nice (or overall clear net positives), some of your time on people who are neutral (or unclear if they are net positive or negative), and no more than 1% of your time on people who are mean (or net negatives). This explicit distribution of time will likely take considerable proactive effort on your part, as once you start analyzing how much time you spend on whom, you’ll likely realize that the net negatives end up soaking up most of your time (and emotional energy / attention span for that matter) by default. You will almost certainly need to take firm steps to reduce the time you spend both with such individuals, and even thinking about them, and then be sure to fill that time by both thinking about and spending time with nice people.

Unfortunately this particular publication happens to be the largest money maker for the company (although they are #3 currently for Internet revenue due to larger expenses). However, I do think that this method has some merit and I think people tend to do more for nice people anyway.


I decided to use WordPress for my Sazbean site, and I have been very happy with it. The interface is easy to use and so is installation. Customization can be done through open-source widgets and plug-ins, although these can be a bit of a challenge to get to work properly. It is written in php and uses a mysql database on the backend. The php is accessible so you can tweak and edit whatever you want – although anything you probably want to tweak is in the theme php instead of having to touch the base software. It doesn’t have quite the flexibility as Mambo, which is what I’m using for this blog – but Mambo is a full blown Content Management System (CMS) with blogging as an afterthought. WordPress is written specifically for blogging, with the ability to do some static pages as well.

For the purposes of Sazbean, WordPress has worked very well and I think I will be switching both this site and the Dynalink websites to it. I will lose some PageRank from switching over Engineered Thoughts and my feed address will change (I’ll have that go through FeedBurner so I don’t have to worry about that in the future), but I believe it will give a better experience for my visitors and will be easier to manage for me. I’m going to try to work on that today, but might not get done until next weekend. I’ll try to give a headsup here so it isn’t too much of a surprise.

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Project Launch

Sazbean logoAfter a long wait, I’m finally launching my side project Sazbean – Internet consulting for business to business (b2b). Being the Internet Manager for a B2B publishing company, I have gained experience in the unique B2B world. I’m passionate about helping people learn how to use the web effectively and the B2B world gives me a niche to express myself.

Project Update

Finally got the logo for my side project on Friday and it looks great! Now I’m working on what I want the overall look to be – which just takes time. I have something in my head and I need to figure out how to get it into code and graphics. Puttering around the net tonight trying to give some more form to my thoughts. I think I’ve found some good foundations to start with, but it’ll take some work to get it to the point where I’m happy with it. I’m hoping to get enough of the pieces to take with me up to the cabin this weekend (no net access) so I can get a good chunk of it done there.

Crazy Weather

Just when I was wondering if we would ever have the summer tradition of hiding in the basement when bad thunderstorms were around, we had this crazy storm go through. During our daughter’s six years, I think we’ve had to go into the basement twice, maybe three times. Maybe memory just condenses down after the years, but I swear we were in the basement hiding two to three times each summer. Obviously the technology for storm tracking and tornado prediction has become much more accurate and they only send out warnings when there actually is a tornado or threatening storm instead of just anytime the sky turns green.

My daughter handled it really well. Initially she was a little wigged out, but after we settled under the workbench with a calvin & hobbes book that just happened to be nearby, she chatted on about tornado drills at school and one time they went in the kitchen to get away from the windows.

Tornados and bad weather still make me nervous, but not as much as they used to. Seeing two tornados from the freeway in South Dakota when there’s no where to go to get off the road or find shelter, will really change your life when you’re twelve and your parents are trying to figure out where to go without sounding too nervous. I remember the date too – July 25th – Christmas in July with the ground covered in hail. It’s too bad I don’t have a picture of those two tornados or that storm – it would be worth sharing – but it is still vivid in my memory.

Too Much Traffic? Update

We had another outage (short) yesterday afternoon. This time the CDA (Content Display Application) cluster (jboss) had more connections than it could handle. It is the sort of problem you want to have (kinda). At least this time, the machines can handle more connections since the XSLT-caching was put into the system. Solution for now is to up the connections (conservatively to 100 each up from 75) and purchase another Apple XServe to add into the cluster.

We’re doing really well at handling the traffic that is normally coming to the sites. Now we just have to make changes so we can handle the traffic spikes. This is a bit of a moving target since as our sites grow the high water mark will too.

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Image I finally got to see the Transformers movie last night and even though it makes me sound 14, it rocked! I was a huge fan of Transformers when I was a kid and I still have all of the toys I collected, several of the original cartoons that were released on dvd, and the original movie on dvd. I had heard good reviews from a coworker, Paul, ‘giant fighting robots!’ and from my husband, but I was still worried that hollywood had ruined my childhood memories.

The movie was really a lot of fun and as soon as I saw the first Transformer transform, I knew it was so right, even integrating the original transforming sound from the cartoons. The characterizations were pretty good, although Ironhide had some rough edges and we didn’t see nearly enough of one of my favorite Transformers, Jazz, who (spoiler alert!) doesn’t even make it through the end of the movie. And I have to agree with my coworker, Paul, ‘giant fighting robots!’ are way kewl.

As always, they left the ending in such a way to allow additional movies and hopefully I’ll see more of my favorites, such as Mirage, Blurr, and Hot Rod, in future movies.

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