Seven come eleven. Nobody knows what that means.

May 14th, 2010

I just upgraded to Windows 7. Hello from a desktop that has a big picture of a bale of hay on it!

Mostly this post is to check that the Windows Live Writer is working. Cross your fingers! The suspense! The nail-biting thrill ride! The obvious success I’ve already had if you’re reading this!

What the what

April 26th, 2010

As you may be able to see if you actually go to my blog instead of gathering the pathetic crumbs off other, lesser media, I’ve added a little weirdness. Not a lot, just enough to be mysterious and exciting.

What I’ve really done is discover the joy of CSS’s new @font-face declaration. At last, they’ve given us a real method to choose whatever overly ornate fonts we want for our web pages, rather than labor under the eight or ten fonts that everybody has installed: Ariel, Harmonica, Roman Times, Tugboat William, Casio Pro, Verklempt, etc. Now, at last, professional well-designed fonts like 420 Weed, Killer Klownz and Bleeding Cowboys can take their rightful place on everybody’s sites. The Future is Now. The Revolution Will Not Be Legible.

Screw SEO

April 22nd, 2010

Yeah, I said it. SEO can kiss my grits.

For those out of the know, SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” It’s essentially a way to monetize the Web by making sure your site is laser-targeted for an audience. So when people search Google for, for instance, “camel fucking” it takes them straight to your camel fucking blog. Then you can turn around and sell ads for camel fucking products which are targeted to camel fucking enthusiasts who are drawn to your site about camel fucking.

SEO has become a big business these days, mostly because it’s essentially easy money. Just make sure you follow the rules, write about the right topics, and once page views start pouring in, sell ads. It’s about the only way to make money off the Web, really, besides porn. And some of us just don’t have the body for that. Oh lordy lord above we really, really, really don’t. I feel a bit ill just thinking about it.

And so the Web has become heavily monetized by people who are trying to make a living off of a free medium. I guess that’s okay, but SEO has the potential to suck all the soul out of the Web. After a while people don’t produce a camel fucking blog because they particularly like camel fucking; they do it because camel fucking is an under-represented niche and YAY they’ve found their cash cow (or camel, as the predictable joke may be). Eventually you get huge networks of blogs that churn out sites with names like “” and constantly compete with one another to claw up that one last slot on Google that’ll get them on the front page.

Ohh, yes, the Google front page. The Big Time. Apparently people who visit Google have the attention span of a peanut (widely regarded the most ADHD of the legume family) who skim the first page of every search and then go OOO SOMETHING SHINY and forget what they’re doing, where they are, who they’re married to, that they’re bipedal endotherms, etc. You gotta GRAB ‘em, which means you gotta be in the Top Ten for your Search Terms or you’re nothing! NOTHING! You WORM!

Yeah, well, bite me (on the side opposite where I invited Apple to bite me earlier). Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I liked it better back when the Web was populated by enthusiasts rather than opportunists. I admit it’s nice to make money, but it’s worlds better for the human soul, I think, if you just do what you enjoy and let people find you organically. If you maybe a few bucks, that’s great, but any money you lose for being casual about your site is made up for by not killing yourself to raise your Google rank.

You’ve probably noticed that I don’t advertise here. I might, one of these days, but I won’t bother to optimize my whozis to get page views. If you find me, good. If you don’t, lick me. It works either way. See?

(P.S. Hello to all you camel fuckers who came to my site because all the repetition of the term pushed it up in Google’s standings. This site isn’t really about illicit sex with hot juicy underage camels. Sorry. Didn’t mean to mislead you dromedophiliacs. You can go away now. Thanks for the boost to my PageRank, though!)


April 13th, 2010

So Adobe and Apple are in a sissy slapfight about Apple hating on Flash. Steve Jobs seems to think Flash is slow and bloated and buggy and just generally skanky and awful.

Well, yes, it is. Sorry Adobe, but Jobs has a point here. Admittedly the lion’s share of Flash’s problem is the people using it. Preloading your Flash movie with 100 megs of kitty photos is a good way to make most computers poop all over themselves. But rather than add in a tooltip that says “Hey, developer person, your compiled ‘movie’ is larger than your World of Warcraft install directory. Maybe you could dial things back a little there, Bunky,” Adobe just assumes people know what they’re doing.

BAD MOVE ADOBE. Nobody ever knows what they’re doing, least of all programmers. We just try different things at random until they work, then never touch that code again for fear of jinxing it. It doesn’t help that ActionScript since version 3 has taken what was a language built specifically for what Flash does and turns it into some weird version of Java with all-new lists of types for my feeble mind to memorize. Dammit, not another OOP-oriented C-like, I thought, my fists clenched in rage, when I saw the specification. Please, no more prototyping, I pleaded, to deaf ears. Nobody likes taking an hour just to set up the framework of a program before you can start working on it, I raged, but no, Adobe resolutely turned its back to my protestations. What a bitch.

(And yes, I know, they created a new language SDK so they could develop Flex and AIR and so on. It’s still way more verbose and encapsulated than it needs to be. In the olden days, before there was hair, most programming languages would actually support writing a one-off straight-ahead program to do something simple and could do it in ten minutes. Now, blech. BLECH I SAY.)

So Apple has a point about Flash. According to them, who needs Flash when you have HTML5 galloping in like a white knight. At last, a completely open system which uses JavaScript (or “ECMAScript” if you’re concerned about the open-sourced-ness of the language to the point of being obnoxiously pretentious) alongside new HTML DOM elements for audio, video and drawing. At last, Our Long National Nightmare is Over.

This is great and all, but, er, psst, Steve: HTML5 isn’t any easier on a computer. In fact, it seems to be a lot worse so far. Part of this is because HTML5 isn’t an accepted specification yet, and implementation is spotty in even the best current browser. But right now, drawing to a Canvas element (the HTML5 version of a “drawing surface” on a web page) is heavy on the CPU compared to Flash.

Most browsers’ JavaScript engines aren’t really built for speed. They were originally designed to make hamsters dance, which doesn’t require a lot of optimization. But now developers are building whole operating systems around them, and they’re getting a bit … creaky. The recently rewritten WebKit engine has the fastest JavaScript interpreter I’ve tried, but a simple mouseover script I wrote still took up 66% of my computer’s CPU and eventually locked up one core completely. Now that gives a developer confidence.

We have a way to go yet for HTML5 to gain widespread acceptance and even further before it’s a real “Flash killer.” In the meantime, much like democracy, Flash is the worst system in the world except for all the other ones.

(Incidentally, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ll probably dig deep in my pockets and get a copy of the Adobe CS5 suite when it comes out. One of the features of Flash CS5 is the ability to export a Flash movie as an iPhone app. Meanwhile, Apple just changed their iPhone OS 4.0 EULA to specifically forbid anything developed by third-party applications, including Flash. So in conclusion, Apple can bite me. Hard. Right there. I’m pointing at my butt.)

Twitter’s for quitters

April 12th, 2010

This WordPress for Blackberry app is pretty neat. Now I can update with whatever stupid crap pops into my head. And crap pops into my head a LOT. “Crappopperhead,” they used to call me at finishing school.

So here begins another era, an era of stupidity the likes of which has rarely been seen by mortals. And away we go! Into the future! To infinity and beyond! Shut up and write!

Once you go Blackberry, you never go back, Barry

April 10th, 2010

Hey campers! Guess who just downloaded the WordPress app for his Blackberry! Besides Cory Doctorow, I mean. Yep! So let’s see how this inaugural phone post goes. Whee doggies!

I, Webguy

March 26th, 2010

WARNING: This update is actually somewhat serious despite my usual impish tone.

Recently it’s come to my attention that you, every person reading this, are desperate to know my philosophy of what I do: Web design and development. Well, settle in, Chuckles, because I’m about to drop a screed.

1. I am an experienced corporate Web designer/developer. This is different from a person who makes a site for his band or can set up a blog or knows how to change his Twitter background. I can do all that, too, but that’s not how I make a living. Over my 14-year career, I’ve set up Web servers from scratch in many varieties of Linux and Windows, using IIS and Apache, and learned a veritable alphabet soup of programming languages. I can make a fully functional database-driven site (and have) using nothing but Notepad, CuteFTP and a $50 art program. I design for ten-year-old browsers as well as the bleeding edge and know how to gracefully degrade from one to the other. I understand that Web sites are a blend of art, technical knowledge, and psychology. Which leads to …

2. The best corporate sites align with the company both internally and externally. If I’m to create a site for a company that touts loyalty and service to its customers, my first thought is to make a site that promotes and rewards customer loyalty as well as providing service to the customer. Meanwhile, and there’s no reason to whitewash this, if I’m working for a for-profit organization, I always try to build trust and legitimacy so visitors can feel comfortable spending money. This requires a solid layout and easy-to-navigate design using Web standards. I do NOT immediately think about what sort of stupid-cool effects I can do in Photoshop and Flash, because …

3. Special effects can be great … once. And they have to be REALLY great that one time to make them worth the time and effort. After that, though, they’re annoying; they add to loading time and require patience from the customer even if it’s the 200th time they’ve come to the site. And we do want the customer to come back again and again so they can give us money again and again. There’s no percentage in making someone wait even five seconds, which is an eternity when you’re sitting there just trying to click something.

Point 3 doesn’t count for personal sites, incidentally. If I annoy you with my personal stylings then you can just leave. I’m not asking for money or customer loyalty. Only your UNQUESTIONING OBEDIENCE. (I just wanted to make that distinction because I’m working on some HTML5 stuff for this blog that’ll turn you WHITE. </zeddemore> )

4. Corporate Web sites must be easy to change. This is absolutely vital. Bosses are the most fickle creatures in the Universe, even edging out cats and Glenn Beck supporters. The very best sites don’t require whoever maintains the site to have to bust out Photoshop to add a new header. Some designers will argue that this limits what is graphically possible, to which my answer is: Yes it does. So? Forget about it. Dump the gimmicks and browser plugins, learn CSS and how to organize a site, and build something for the future.

Would you still need me? Would you still feed me?

March 25th, 2010

I’m 44 now. Yes, I know, congratulations for another year of not accidentally inhaling something bigger around than my trachea, well done.

I’m also halfway in my working career toward retirement age. This freaks me out a bit, since I haven’t been very careful with my finances so far and I’d much prefer not to have to build Web sites for the rest of my natural life. Which would be significantly shorter than it would be if I didn’t.

So we’re seeing a financial advisor, which is sort of like seeing a marriage counselor in that after we talk to him we say “Good meeting! Glad we’re doing this!” while still feeling vaguely uneasy about the future. I think we’re about to turn our nest eggs over to this guy. I’m sure it’s a good idea but it just seems like we’re failing somehow. “We give up, we can’t secure our financial freedom. Hey, here’s a guy in a suit, let’s let him do it.”

I suppose we’ll be glad we did it 20 years from now, provided President Palin leaves any of the planet habitable. And even then, air purifiers and shotgun ammo ain’t gonna buy themselves.

15 more things to do with an Apple iPad

February 4th, 2010

Apple is famous for breaking paradigms and strategizing changes to the social structure of the Universe. But with their newest pile of secrets, the iPad, Apple has blown the doors off even their own hubris and sent the blogosphere into conniptions of joy and despair with an almost Proustian display of modern existentialist computing.

So me and the “editors” have been passing around a bottle of Jack and we’ve come up with the following list of incredibly obvious things you can do with an iPad because it’s a hot topic that gets hits when you’re a technical writer. In standard Internet journalism form, we’ll put each tip on a separate page with a barely related photo so you’ll have to click through and look at more “clever” movie-based Flash ads than the normal human sees in a week.

15: Surf the Web. We know, right? We start right off with the most obvious thing in the world. It’s MADE for surfing the Web. That’s practically all it CAN do. It’s a steaming TURDPILE compared to every other slate or laptop ever made or that ever will be made. Why do you even care about this stupid thing? Oh right, Steve Jobs, we forgot for a second. Anyway, it’s an intimate experience and you can surf the web from your armchair or something.

14: Watch movies. Admittedly you can only hold so many movies in the puny space they give you on the basic iPad, but you like watching movies, don’t you. Yes, you do. You like them. YOU LIKE WATCHING MOVIES. YOU WANT TO WATCH A MOVIE RIGHT NOW. WASTE YOUR TIME WATCHING MOVIES. DON’T DO ANYTHING PRODUCTIVE WITH YOUR LIFE. JUST RELAX AND LET THE MOVIES WASH OVER YOU. FORGET. FORGEEETTTTT.

13: Make spreadsheets. Oh yay! You can do spreadsheets! With your fingers! It’s so easy and fun! Whoopee spreadsheets! And after you do your spreadsheets, you can have a box of juice and then take a nap!

12: Admire your iPad. Just look at that sleek shiny surface. The bezels. The curves. The lack of ports for memory cards. It’s so light, so dark, so stylish. All your friends acquaintances will be so jealous when you whip this out at the coffee shop. “Don’t mind me, I’m just surfing the Web at 3G speed,” you say, sliding your finger across its smooth yielding surface. It feels like warm satin. They’re all watching you. You and the iPad. Your iPad. Oh. Oh yes. Yes.

11: Play music. Just like every other electronic device you’ve bought in the past five years. But the iPad music experience is totally different. Er, somehow.

10: Make phone calls. Oh, no, wait, that’s left over from when we wrote this exact same article a couple of years ago for the iPhone. Well, maybe you can use Skype – no, hold on, it doesn’t have a camera. We’re not even sure it has a microphone and we’re too drunk to check right now. You could IM, we suppose, if you don’t mind pecking awkwardly at an on-screen keyboard. Yeah, let’s go with that.

9: Run fart apps. Oh shut up, it’ll have thousands of them, don’t even deny it. Maybe they can combine them with a flashlight app. The Fartlight. Hmmm. I have to make a phone call to some developers I know.

8: Check your email and run a spreadsheet at the same time. Hahahahahahahahahahaha oh we crack ourselves up.

7: Surf the Web, anywhere, anytime. We know this is essentially point 15 warmed over but we’ve included the go-anywhere stuff because it’s the big thing right now. We’ve often wished we could access the Internet from Pike’s Peak or the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls or many other places of grand natural spendor. Pshh. It’s usually just some trees and a pile of rocks anyway.

6: Serving tray/big Frisbee/packing material. We’re running out of ideas to pad out this list, so we’ll plop in a big fat ol’ dollop of Internet wacky. Oh! You can also Rickroll people with it in public! Classic!

5: Play games. If there’s one thing the iPhone has taught us, it’s that people will pay over and over and over again to play Tetris and Bejeweled. So there you go. It’s a game machine now. We Have Spoken.

4: Go paperless. Because it doesn’t print, you see. Seriously, it doesn’t. We have to spin that to seem like a good thing, so we’ll make that out like it’s a revolution in the paperless workplace. To be honest we think this is a mind-boggling omission, but we can’t say anything bad because Apple advertises a LOT and we want some’a’dat sweet sweet moneys. We have house payments to make and Naruto DVDs to buy. Don’t judge us.

3: Compute on the toilet. Yes, another point that overlaps points 15 and 7, but instead of “surf” we say “compute” so it’s totally different. We didn’t title this damn article “12 things to do with an iPad,” after all. Those extra page views and the subsequent ad revenue we get from them will help ensure that we continue to bring you the very finest in Internet journalism. So anyway, you can surf while you poop LOL.

2: PORN. For fuck’s sake why are we even trying to dance around it anymore. Might as well just call it the iWhack Anywhere and include a fleshlight attachment.

1: Spend, spend, spend. Screw Haiti and the war orphans in Afghanistan, I want a touchpad NOWWWWWWW!

From the ridiculous to the ridiculous

January 20th, 2010

I’m posting this link in hopes it gets a video some hits/increased rankings for work. I don’t endorse it exactly, I just work here. I suppose you may like to look at it if you ever thought about wrapping your car or you want to advertise something locally. Wraps are very good for that.

Ask for it at your grocer’s freezer or your place of worship.

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