I just received the following message in my inbox with the subject of "Message Removed":Now maybe I've been getting these all along and this is just the first time one of them made it through my filters - but come on... what kind of a replacement is this? In the words of Captain Jack Sparrow, "Well that's just maddeningly unhelpful". It boggles my mind that some programmer somewhere actually dreamed up this message.
"Uh... We had a message here. We are not sure what it was. We aren't sure what happened to it either (although it was obviously not our fault). We only know it's missing - and rather than leave it out of your already crowded inbox, we just thought we would give you this friendly note as a replacement. There's nothing really you can do about it, but perhaps you can sit there wondering for 90 seconds or so..."
It's kind of like the dozens of times I've asked for a girl's number and received it, but when I called it later it was disconnected - or worse, it was the lady who gives out the time or maybe the Chinese take-away. Have you ever tried to get a date from the guy who answers the phone at the Chinese take-away? It's humiliating.
Those of you who follow the personal life of the muse know I have traveled for the last 12 or 13 years to the northern reaches of Minnesota to a resort (Cedar Rapids Lodge) on the shores of Medicine Lake. Medicine Lake is an under-fished haven for Walleye and Northern Pike. For many years now the lake has been under a DNR program that requires fisherman to return Pike that are longer than 22 inches and shorter than 32 inches back to the lake. The end result has been a significant growth in the size of the fish on the lake. These days it is pretty rare to go fishing for pike for more than an hour without hauling in a 28 or 30 incher.
This year the DNR raised the slot to between 26 and 36 inches because the size of the fish has become significantly larger. The fishing and the weather this year were spectacular. The lodge and cabins were in great shape, the wind was moderate and the evenings were cool. All in all I would rate this as one of the best weeks of Muse fishing ever. If you don't believe me just take a look at this 34 inch trophy that took my line last Friday.Read More
It's campaign season and the country is abuzz with speculation about our next president. The air waves are humming, the blogosphere is awash with sound bites and pithy slogans alongside lengthy diatribes advocating this candidate or that candidate. It seems we are destined to make history no matter who we elect. Now before your blood-pressure starts racing let me assure you that this is not a political post. I only want to point out that during this cycle in our communal life as a nation we get pretty jaded. Our eyes glaze over at the latest political ad and we have long since stopped giving any politician the benefit of the doubt. Experience has taught us that the business of getting elected is a dirty one, and the dirt rubs off on everyone... or at least so I thought. Last week I was in DC, speaking and attending Webmaniacs at the Carnegie Center, and I had an experience that made me both proud of my country and ashamed of my cynicism.Read More
CF Webtools is fortunate to have an excellent staff of developers. For the last year our main Flex developer has been Axel Jensen. We are saying goodbye to Axel this week. He is taking a new position at Gallup here in Omaha. Since Axel is one of my favorite people, and an avid CF Webtools blogger, I have to stop and say a few words about him.
Every pundit has predictions this time of year - so a CF Pundit should be no Exception. Even though I have no track record, no skill at prediction (as my record in the "bowl pick-em" contest around our office can attest) and no technical reason to do it, I have decided to offer up my predictions for 2008 just the same.Read More
A reader added a comment that got me to thinking about why I blog. It's something that has become an important part of my life. I blog at Coldfusion Muse and I blog on another site as well. On the 10th anniversary of the word "weblog" that morphed into "blog" I thought I might answer the burning question (that no one is probably asking) "Why do you Blog?"
Regular readers of my blog will know I enjoy writing. I even attempt to entertain from time to time. In fact, if you click on the Humor and Life category you will find more than 40 entries that are not technology related at all. They range from attempts at satire to commentary on my life, fatherhood, family and faith. I really enjoy letting readers get to know me from time to time. I am well aware that most of my readers who are not related to me (Hi Mom!) find my blog interesting because I write about Coldfusion and web programming. Still, I enjoy taking little side journeys into life with you. All work and no play make Jack (or Ben or Ray or Sean or even the Muse) a dull boy.
Have you ever found yourself solving a problem that you were sure you had solved before but you just couldn't remember how you did it? I have this problem every year when it's time to put Christmas lights on my house. I try to put them up the same way every year. The lights are supposed to be strung together in a certain order but every year I'm at a loss to remember how I did it the year before. I suppose if I got them out in March and again in September and practiced putting them up it would help me recall the steps. The same problem crops up in Coldfusion or SQL programming from time to time. For example, I know there is a way to programmatically restart the print spooler - but this issue has only come up once or twice before, so I can't remember how to do it. But if I blog about it, I have a knowledge base to mine for the information. In fact (and I know this might be immodest to say) I find myself returning to my own blog almost daily to look something up. I'm famous for referring my own developers (developers who work for me at CF Webtools) to my blog with the famous words, "Check my blog - I think I have a post about that." So blogging regularly about fixes and tips is an important part of keeping my own knowledge current and in view.
CF Webtools has no marketing budget. We spend about 1200 dollars per year on Google ads - that's it. That's the whole enchilada. In spite of this lack of marketing we have grown from 2 employees to 12 employees in the span of about 3 years. About 30 percent of our leads come from word of mouth - but about 50 to 60 percent of our leads come as a direct result of this blog and the other CF Webtools blogs. Companies looking for a high level of expertise in Coldfusion stumble onto our blogs and contact us directly. Please understand that while blogging benefits our business, the tone and purpose of our blogs is not "Hire Us". Rather, it is an attempt to add to the compendium of knowledge available on the web and cut through the noise with a message about Coldfusion's benefits and uses. Like many areas of life, when you do something nice and try to be helpful you are rewarded.
I'm sure there are other reasons why I blog. Perhaps it allows me to vent occasionally. Perhaps I enjoy the comments or discussions - or perhaps it feels smug to post your own links into CF-Talk in answer to a question (ha). Anyway, perhaps this post will inspire you to "pick up the pen". Don't be shy - there's plenty of room on the net for all of us.
I just got a spam message advertising a beauty product. In the subject line it said, "You are a Beautiful Woman". It went on to tell me how I am wonderful and beautiful - and I don't hear it a enough (after which it tried to sell me something for my wrinkly, saggy skin). It's true I don't hear it enough. In fact, I don't hear it at all - at least not to my face. I admit there are occasions when I feel pretty and want to listen to Bette Midler or watch a musical... but they are really pretty rare. I have enough problems in my life without my inbox adding gender confusion. Isn't it enough that they think I'm bald, fat, under-financed, impotent, and have a very small ....er...uh... television? Do they have to criticize my makeup as well? I remember that old prayer, "Lord, help me be the man my dog thinks I am." I would add to that, "...and never let me be the man (or woman) my email thinks I am."