Our friend and colleague Wil passed away a few days ago after a hard-fought battle with cancer. Wil worked for CF Webtools for almost 10 years. His devotion and expertise are irreplaceable. He has posted on this blog frequently and was a frequent writer on his own excellent blog at Trunkful.com. His role here was as a senior architect and knowledge expert. His influence was felt throughout our staff.
CF Webtools is a company built on people and a certain culture. We have 4 core values that are a part of our DNA as a company - Caring, Competence, Communication, and a Can-do spirit. Despite the alliteration, these are not "aspirations". They are what make us tick from the top down. Wil exemplified all these attributes in our company. He cared about our customers and his co-workers. He was excellent at communicating his wealth of knowledge - indeed, probably half of the entries in our large internal Wiki were written by Wil. I trusted him to handle a sticky problem and find a solution. When it came to solving problems, Wil had determination. He was stubborn! And he thought around corners in a way that always reminded me of me.
As a man, Wil was larger than life. He was funny, affable, and generous with his time. He loved cigars, good food, good bourbon, and his jeep. He was gentle with big-hearted self-effacing humor that always made us smile.
He died too young, but during the time we knew him, he lived well - loving and honoring those around him, building friendships, and adding joy to those he knew. May the same be said of all of us. We at CF Webtools will miss him dearly.
From the absurdist school of customer service I bring you another tale of woe and frustration (and comic insight).
I write for a living. I know most folks think I actually code, troubleshoot, run a company etc - but in truth a large part of my job is to communicate in email, documents and instant messaging. Recently I got to thinking about purchasing a new software that would help me with style and editing (I'm a notoriously wordy writer). I started poking around and found this link with some excellent choices so I started reviewing them. I settled on one of them (I won't say which but it was pale and misty) for my first trial. It was inexpensive and appeared to have an easy interface. More importantly it seemed to be able to jump to life within any software I was using. Since I use Word, Evernote, Outlook, Gmail, Google docs, and Homesite (for blog writing using hand coded HTML) I thought that was a great feature.
I downloaded a copy and tried it out on a few things - emails mostly. I liked it so I purchased a licensed. I began with a document that I was prepping. Uh oh.... the software has a 10,000 character limit - it won't scan more than 10,000 characters at a time. That's a non-starter for me - and it's too bad. The software was really nice and slick - and I was digging it. I contacted support and they were extremely helpful in answering my questions and confirming that it would not meet my needs. I asked for a refund (I'd had my license about an hour) and they said "no problem". They forwarded me to "Lee" in the payments department. That's when the trouble started. Here's a rough outline of how it went.Read More
Note - this is not a technical post. It's strictly intended to make people laugh or at least chuckle. And for the record I like cats.
In a recent meeting with a group of mad guitar players (meaning they have a high skill level - not that they are angry) it was suggested that I write a quick post on email etiquette for posterity. Going around the circle it became clear that each of these "normal users" - that's how us tech types think of everyone else - had stories of emails that were unintentionally vague, ambiguous, redundant and also said the same thing twice. So I thought I'd put my pen to paper so to speak and try to give my take on the proper use of email.Read More
In the immortal words of John Cleese "And now for something completely different." Please note that this post is intended to be funny. As a geek with a sort of geek sense of humor I have to say that up front or some folks may miss it. The Muse does not typically castigate sales people over the phone unless they are calling from a NY boiler room (the stock kind - I actually have an affinity for maintenance people). I'm generally nice with the goal of getting off the phone as quickly as possible. But I suppose some of these things are bubbling along inside of me all the same. If this gives you a laugh then I'm pleased, but I am not setting out to offend anyone. If you are trying to make a living calling folks to sell them something you might want to stop here unless you have a thick skin. I know you are just trying to make a living and I wish you success (but don't call me... please don't call me!!). And now....Read More
Warning: The following post is not related to ColdFusion, SQL, Troubleshooting or anything else of a technical nature. For this post active ingredients include faith, sentimentality, syrupy sweetness, hyperbole, statements of love, and over-all good-feeledness. Side effects may include smiles, light hearted chuckles, blushing, desire to hug your friends and loved ones and an internal urge to answer that pressing question "does my life matter". You have been notified. Seriously folks, if blogs that include statements related to faith bother you - my apologies. I have no desire to offend anyone, but Thanksgiving seems like an appropriate holiday for the following.
On this Thanksgiving Day I hope that you all have something to be thankful for. No matter where you are in life it pays to stop and consider the little things. This is not mere Muse sentimentality - although I do tend to cry at the end of "Armageddon" and every time I hear the song "I'm a little teapot" (it's a long story). No, what I mean is that living a life in tune with gratitude is a recipe for being content. You can make an amazing income, have power and influence and be an outstanding talent - but if you haven't learned how to be content then you may have the "good life" but you have yet to learn how to "live well".
Now I don't know everything about being content. I certainly have a ways to go. I am sometimes frustrated by others. I often feel an excess of pride and ambition. I'm not always as grateful as I could or should be. Still, the older I get, the more I am convinced that I am fortunate and blessed - and the more I want to share that blessing with others. More often than not I am content - and that is a powerful gift. Gratitude is a huge ingredient in the contentment recipe. Gratitude brings perspective and perspective allows me to rest and enjoy what I have in my life.
So what am I thankful for?Read More
One of my terrific, fantastic, stupendous, extraordinary, (doesn't that make you want to come and work for me?) developers named Denny has recently been working on consuming an API from a popular service who shall remain anonymous. I'll only say that when I hear their name I think of lederhosen and that cough drop commercial with the fancy pants guys and big horns. Anyway, Denny apparently uses art to vent his frustrations. Here's what he came up with.
Ok so he's not Picasso yet - but it is definitely refrigerator worthy don't you think?
As a part of our effort to build camaraderie among the team we put our heads together and thought of a group activity. Naturally the first thing we thought of was to equip the whole team with guns and send them out into the woods to shoot at each other. Here's a small sample of our CFWT team and friends in full battle regalia at Mad Cow Paintball.
From left to right is Christian Marvin, Chet Lovegren, jQuery aficionado Chris Tierney, Director of Development Jason Herbolsheimer (on one knee), Sales Director Curt Lovegren (Chet's father), Me (large and blue in the middle), My lovely wife Ann in her camouflage in front of me, CF Guru Wil Genovese, Nate Kuester, Jake Churchill, John (Nate's friend who's last name escapes me) and Ryan Stille.
It was a great time and we are looking forward to doing it again sometime soon (in between rounds of golf I suspect).
It' a Saturday afternoon - one of those days when the music of my life is soft and mellow like elevator music. My boys are at school practicing for an upcoming math competition. My daughter is working. My wife and I sit in the living room while I read and she does Sudoku. I've already eaten lunch, done a few chores around the house and cleaned up my email. Having had another arduous week I am enjoying a little downtime. Meanwhile, my mellow mood is perfect for writing Haikus - so here you go:Read More