It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

It’s been a whirlwind of activity in life. I don’t really get time to update this site anymore. Well, except for now.

AAU basketball has come to a close (for now), so for now, it has been work, a lot of work. A major website launch coming at the end of the month, trying to keep a kid eligible for basketball by getting him to study and do homework… Two full-time jobs and having to do insane amounts of paperwork for everything it seems.

I did get my year review after I went full-time at work and it was a good one, so I have that going for me.

With everything going on in the world, there are more days than others where I just want to disconnect forever and be done with it. Maybe that will happen when I finally say enough with this site.

Going into the holidays, I probably won’t be updating much, but who knows? Things change at the blink of an eye!

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The Future

So the move has been made, we are settled into our new home in southern Maine. Now, after some time off from work, after a few days of relaxing on vacation, after some much needed rest, after much pondering… I’m giving much consideration to the brand of six03 and ending it.

It has been around since it was just an idea I had while in college on California in 2003. 14 years later, I think it is time to lay it to rest. Sort of a major rebrand, or, just kill the site in a cost-cutting effort. I’m just not 100% sure yet.

I have two more years of playing Dad to my son before he leaves the roost. Time is at a premium. I could move my act over to Medium, I could do rebrand, I could just disappear into the ether. I just don’t know at this point. I’m caught in a limbo.

I wish there was something I could give back to the web community that has driven me for the past 19 years plus, but I just don’t have any ideas. I just rarely have any time.

I work an hour and a half away, so my three hour a day commute, twice a week, takes it toll. I could find time when I work from my home office, but with everything that goes on with my son and his extra-curricular activities, I don’t know if that is probable.

Maybe I am just in a funk? It is, after all, almost the close to summer vacation. maybe I will have some time?

I do feel, however, a sense of inferiority when it comes to seeing all these wonderful authors that come out with these books, all these wonderful speakers at conferences, all these people I follow on Twitter that are tweeting about their craft and making it sound like they are the Stephen Hawking of their discipline.

Maybe I just need a sandwich?

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Mobirise

So I am testing out Mobirise, a drag-and-drop app that creates web pages and such. I had a site I had been working on when the upgrade to version 4 from 3.12 I was using happened and it erased all my work. Over three months of pain-staking, trial and error, tedious work.

Needless to say, I was not happy. Methods to get the app to read my project file (to no avail) were;

  • Deleting version 4 then downloading and installing version 3.12
  • Deleting version 4 or 3.12 and installing version 2
  • Importing project.mobirise file

So alas, I have to start over. Luckily I have a uploaded index page, inside templates to child pages and contact form page all saved for reference.

They should probably work that bug out and patch it immediately over at Mobirise.

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Moving

Our adventures in moving has completed. We are now down the the southern Maine area! It is time to get all the school paperwork done and transfer the kid to the new school. Lots to do and no time to waste!

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A New Beginning

Yesterday was the first day of my son, Brandon, as a Marshwood Hawk. While the formalities have not yet been finalized as of yet with school changing and permanent residence, we’re close. Very close.

Signed the lease to the new apartment yesterday, got the keys. Now the moving begins. In the meantime, we have a tournament to get through at the University of New Hampshire.

Game One, a win in his first game. Played well, a lot of work to do. Game Two. Marshwood down 2, :30 left, Brandon scores the tying basket to force the game into OT. The time keeper then starts the clock on the inbound pass, not when the first player touches the ball with :01.7 left in the game on what could have been another GW shot by Brandon. Not a good way to end a game for kids that hustled and worked their asses off.

A coach from Suffolk University was impressed by Brandon and he is getting looks right now (keep working on your game) that’s a compliment, as since Brandon’s freshman year, coaches, and officials alike have complimented him on his game. As a junior in high school. He’s had people looking since his sophomore year, the new AAU season with the NH (Seacoast) Spartans Elite as well. He does turn heads at 16 years old, 6’8″, 200 lbs. Now the weight room awaits.

Moving on to today. 2 games on tap and he is ready to go. I hope.

Within the next week, we will be down to our new home, to give the kid a shot at his dream. An NBA dream regardless of the naysayers. Past experiences aside, and yes, those still get under my skin when I think about them, Brandon has the best coaching staff that supports him, is behind him, and has faith in him 100%.

That’s what the kid needs. Nothing below that. Or any kid for that matter.

I look forward to seeing his progress in the next year.

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Comments/Complaints, Part Two

So with the new day brings a new email form the user of a site I developed with a contact form that uses reCAPTCHA v2. Said users fifty years IT experience trumps my 25 years of web experience. I should feel humbled.

It was brought to my attention and I replied that yes, even though it does slightly concern me, unless the client comes back after fielding the concern from the user directly, I have nothing to do with said project after it’s completion.

The client was satisfied, the transaction was completed and I am a busy person just like everyone else is. I’m not going to sit, and pine over a site that I did, and make changes (unpaid work) because ONE user cannot use a reCAPTCHA form like it is meant to.

When I have had issues with the reCAPTCHA form, it is because I was in a hurry and rushed through without reading the directions and just haphazardly clicking through. With that said, I do not do hand holding of clients websites after contractually fulfilling my end of the deals.

Fifty years of IT doesn’t mean anything in my opinion because it is a different kind of monster. Server work, networking and sysadmin have little to do with the web development side. So you trumping me on experience has no effect. I simply do NOT do pro bono work and it is not a priority because one user doesn’t like the user experience.

if fifty users emailed me, then there could be cause for alarm. Five hundred would make me bring it up to management. One? On a simple reCAPTCHA? Seriously. Times have changed Charles Babbage. Let’s slow your calculations down and take a deep breath and get through this.

I have a 5 hour, round trip drive to take today, with a 16-year-old, a basketball tournament, and my weekend off from my full-time position as a web developer/support technician at my full-time job. There are other means to contact said business and yet, I’m contacted out of the goodness of the heart of the man who will change the web one contact form at a time.

Users, especially those in the industry, or with experience in the industry can be a touchy bunch. As indicated by the end of the email, with a stern “slap” on the wrist, that I was not jumping right on this problem out of the goodness of my heart, and kindness, and the civic duty I have to fix this problem that ONE USER has with Google reCAPTCHA version 2.

One.

User…

Out of (literally) thousands. Let’s do the math on that. Percentage-wise, factor in my time to research, develop, and implement a new CAPTCHA method that tucks this user into bed, with blanket and bottle, and assures the user that the entire site (which it is a VERY easy site in my opinion) is a user experience like no other.

Times have changed since the social engineering and dumpster diving methods used to bypass the punch card system used in the Los Angeles bus system. Web development and the means of which web developers do their thing have changed since 1995. The web developers I know, do not do any work with out a spec or a contract, nor do they do any work that is out of the scope without drawing up a revised contract, or any work after the completed contract without drawing up a new contract.

I am not obligated to do this in this instance, I will not do this without a new contract, I am far too busy being a parent and enjoying what time I do have off doing my main job as a parent to finagle with a reCAPTCHA that ONE USER has a problem with that should be addressed to (and in the end was submitted correctly mind you by the user) the owners of the website!

I am contracted to do a job. Period. It irks me, that one user can be so indignant, because the response I gave that person, was not what they wanted to hear. You are not entitled to demand I take my free time, or any of my time mind you, and use it to do pro bono work. Or go back to a company that may or may not take your complaint into consideration. YOU do not write me checks, YOU do not pay my bills, and you certainly DO NOT dictate what I do and do not do professionally.

You may have fifty years of IT experience, but your lack of the knowledge of how the web development field is run shows. You can be the 21st century version of Fibonacci, you can be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs for all I care. You do not contact me with your complaint and tell me “I’m making the developer aware” and then become indignant when I politely tell you, that this is something that the owners of the company would handle and that if they wish to take action, they can go through the contract process and hire me again to do the job.

You sir, and you know who you are, can take your indignant self, and your fifty years of IT experience, and your sense of self-entitlement, and pound sand. Strictly on a professional level.

The job was completed on-time, on-budget, with the approval of the client and the client was extremely satisfied with the results and that is all that matters. Obviously, the methodology of how the web development process from start to finish is quite out of your reach as far as grasping the concept that if I am not under contract, I will not do work for free.

I will not do work for free on something that works for thousands of other people, that have no problem with the Google reCAPTCHA version 2. It was not indicated that there was any sort of impairment or “disability” on said users part, therefore I am going to deduce that this user has no problem with navigating a website, yet has a huge problem with grasping the concept that web developers do not work for free off the clock and on their own time.

When the owners bring it up to me, that is when I will be sure to take full action. Until then, I intend on enjoying my weekend with my son and putting this to rest.

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Comments/Complaints

As a business owner for many years, I have rarely had the opportunity to field any complaints. I try, as any human being does with their line of work, to do the job that I have been requested to do, to the best of my abilities.

Does that always resonate with the management or client? Of course not.

So this morning, I received an email for the first time ever from a website user of a site that I had built for a client. Usually, complaints are fielded by the business owners and passed along to me, which in turn, are discussed and a new contract for development work is done to fix anything the site owner feels they would like changed or fixed.

So basically, what I received is the following;

From: ██████████████ <███████████>
Subject: Failing to send message to Jonathon’s restaurant via their website “Contact.”
Message Body:
I sent a message 2 days ago to Jonathon’s Seafood Restaurant.
I had a little difficulty getting through the “I’m not a robot” verification, but my message finally did seem to be sent. As yet, I’ve not received a response to that message. I tried this morning to resend my message, but I seemed unable to satisfy the “I’m not a robot” verification. I’m not pleased with the user friendliness of Jonathon’s website. I suggest you rethink your verification step and/or consider setting up a means to make an online reservation. Thank you for taking time to read my message.

My response was as follows. A bit long-winded perhaps, but I think I made my point;

Good Morning ██████████,
While it is not custom for me to reply to a customer on a website I have built for a client, I will respond to your email you sent through my contact form on my website.
██████████████ is the owner of the website, therefore any messages sent to them via their website, their Facebook page, or by any other electronic or other means is solely their responsibility to answer, not mine.
Their response time is theirs. I do not monitor their messages, or answer any feedback, comments, or other communications their customers have with them via any means, electronic or otherwise. This is the owner’s sole responsibility.
Regarding the Google reCaptcha verification on their contact form.
You are the first person in that has sent a direct response to me about this feature. A feature that has widely been regarded as easier than the old means of verifying you are a human on the other end, as to cut down on the electronic, robotic, and programmatic spam that businesses usually receive, when they have a form that is not secure.
With that said, the owners of ██████████████ paid me to do a job and they were satisfied with the job that was done. The contractual obligation they and myself (a small one-man outfit) agreed upon had been outlined and agreed upon, mutually signed, and I fulfilled those obligations to ██████████████.
The onus is on ██████████████ to have that question fielded and decision is theirs whether or not to improve the contact form security. They have paid for services they agreed upon in full and received the website they agreed upon.
Even I have difficulty at times with certain reCaptcha forms myself and I have been in the web development field for 25 years.
You will have to field your question to the owners of the business, in order to let them know your dissatisfaction and see if they would like to take action to change the contact form verification.
I simply cannot go in, and change things at a whim. I also do not do pro bono work on the review of a businesses customer. My method is to contractually agree with business owners to do work they set out for me to do for them in a contract they sign.
While I agree that the Google reCaptcha process can be difficult at times, yours is the first complaint I have fielded. Ever. The reCaptcha process dates back to May of 2007. I advise people to take their time to read the instructions and follow the directions on the verification process.
Should you field your comments to the owners of ██████████████ and they decide to take action, I will certainly indeed take the steps necessary to ensure that the verification process is much simpler for your use. So until they come to me, I simply do not have the time, nor am I contractually obligated to “fix” their site because of a customer complaint. You will need to go directly through ██████████████ ownership.
As for the user friendliness of the website, the owners are satisfied, I have fulfilled my job as a web developer to give the client what they wanted and as far as a usability and user experience standpoint, the site is a simple site to use and has been tested by many professionals in my field and regarded as very user friendly.
With that said, I would direct you to send any comments and questions to the owners of the establishment, on Facebook, via the contact form, or by calling the number listed on the website.
Thank you.

I’ll be going to the office to work my full-time job now, leave questions or comments in the appropriate area. Developers/Designers, I would especially like to hear from you on this topic. Do you answer these and address these emails or do you just let them go?

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Happy Birthday, Brandon!

Happy 16th birthday, to my son, Brandon.

Brandon

It’s been a long road, and the past year has been even longer, tougher, and filled with challenges you have been able to meet and beat. You have been second guessed and been told there is “no faith” in you by a coach. I have faith in you and the people that matter have faith in you. That’s all you need.

I’m proud to be your dad. I’m proud of you. You, are my champion.

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Moving

So within the next month, now that my son & I are going to move, since the dynamics have changed in this building we currently reside in, things are going to be a little bit quiet around here and elsewhere regarding me.

A landlord rented to a business owner who sublet (against the rules in the rental agreements unless the landlord and party bargained an agreement otherwise) to a guy that has become a nuisance. The original plan, according to the landlord, was to sublet to an Italian guy, who was going to work for this business owner.

The other morning (3:30am to be precise) they were arguing and woke up my son and myself.

I try to teach my son, to be respectful of your neighbors. Other people that live in the building. I try to respect the others that reside in the building I reside in. Others sadly, do not share that sentiment.

This building turned from a nice quiet place to live and work from, to a place that is inhabited by people that are rude, crass, and do not care about their smoke wafting through into others apartments.

It happens everywhere, regarding rentals.

I just hope our next move, is somewhere, where there is some sort of relief.

Frustration has ruled the stay for the last several months since a string of “chefs” were rented apartments here. Well “chefs”, you both suck. One drops his toilet seat and is just ignorant to the fact he has neighbors when he stays up late, plays his XBox, and doesn’t care past his own protective bubble of ego.

The other, just allowed someone to come in and like his business, the place goes right to the shitter. Smoking inside the building, noise, arguing at 3:30am. I know real chefs who are kind, compassionate to others, and respectful. These two shit sippers take the cake.

I’ve never been this upset. Due to the fact my son stays with me full-time, I think the issue is so that he is not around such idiocy and I can’t protect him from it, but I wish I could give him a little reprieve.

I just hope our next move will be a little better.

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Changes

So to close friends and family, we have thoroughly thought about this and the decision has been made that Brandon and I, as of August 1st, will be moving to South Berwick, Maine.

To be perfectly honest and candid, Brandon and his uncertainty of the next basketball season at Kennett, and the opportunity, the invitation, and the ability for us to go to South Berwick, to play for his current coach, at Marshwood High School are the biggest factors.

Scholastically, I feel this is an upgrade, to help Brandon, with his struggles in school, and stop the years and years of hair pulling and struggle with his grades and hold him more than accountable with the way Marshwood holds their student athletes accountable for grades in order to play.

Those we have selected that are very close to us, that I have sat down with and asked for advice, have been great and supportive of this move for Brandon. This has been an ongoing discussion since the new AAU season that he spent with the NH Spartans Elite team.

I have consulted with my job and the finalization of this is imminent and I am afforded the option of working from home as most of you know. I am able to make this move, pending the finalization from the company president, which I have been told is more than just “probable”.

Brandon, however is the main focus.

When he came back from the Colby College basketball tournament with that huge smile on his face and an air of confidence I have never seen before with him, I knew we had made the right choice.

His first practice with the Hawks team and he was quickly accepted as one of their own and plays with them like he has played with them for all his life. He’s not a guy that hangs out on the 3-point line on the far wing on the sideline and watching the plays develop for the guards and forwards to shoot from where they do with regards to the play.

Brandon is part of an offense that has a numerous amount of plays for a 6’8″ center.

Brandon is part of a team that when the hand goes up, they get him the ball. And he scores at will.

Brandon has worked furiously, hard, and frankly, he has worked his ass off since the NH State Tournament and there are two instances where I have noticed much improved development.

  1. The time from the start of the AAU season with the Spartans…

and 2. from the NH State Tournament until now.

He’s developed in that short amount of time, a desire to prove one person wrong, and to improve him game exponentially.

He has developed court confidence, tenacity, aggressiveness, physicality, and desire to win. A desire to win that he feels lacked with his former coach. We went down that road before and that ended up with me being branded a sort of “Lavar Ball” type. Which I couldn’t care less about.

Marshwood has an offense that is tailored for Brandon, he will play for 100% certain, there is no guessing what the pecking order will be next year, there will be no guessing whom will be chosen to skip ahead of the upper classmen or whom the senior(s) will be that will be starting in the same position.

No excuses, no getting your guy from the Rec Dept league, no politics or favoritism. No coaches kids that start that should probably play another sport other than basketball that they excel better at.

None.

Brandon will play, he won’t be rotting on the end of the bench during an abysmal season, no watching. Playing. The game he loves to play. I know how he feels and we make the move.

I do this for my kid so he can chase a dream. He may not get in and he may have his doubters. So did a kid named Michael Jordan. Do I think my kid is the next MJ? Hell no.

My kid is the next Brandon Libby and even if that kid went through the D-League and got a 10-day contract and played 1 game and had the stat line of a Matt Steigenga (Bulls ’92) or Ron Watts (Celtics ’66). I’d till be proud as hell of that kid like I am now.

Brandon made the decision back before the AAU season, but we have carefully thought this out and are now in the final stages of planning. His development and what he accomplished in that season against very tough teams and top notch talent solidified our decision to move.

Brandon isn’t on Facebook a lot and I know that he shares the same sentiments I do when I say for him, he thanks and appreciates the time and the mentoring, the coaching and the support that has been shown to him and for him since he started playing the game from everyone.

Regardless of the past year and what I believe to be the truth.

It’s time for him to play and for us to move on. For Brandon.

Thank you to those who have supported Brandon especially and who continue to do so.

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