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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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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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.



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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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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An Event Apart

An Event Apart Boston 2017

So the time has come where the wonderful web conference happens in Boston at the Marriott Copley, An Event Apart.

My first (and currently last) time was in 2008. A life time ago in web years. I still have all the schwag I got, I still have the pictures on my Flickr feed, and my An Event Apart laptop case… It was a great conference.

I got to meet the likes of Jeff Veen, Doug Bowman, Jason Santa Maria, Andy Budd Eric Meyer, Jeffrey Zeldman, and Bruce Lawson to name a few. It got me in touch with Ethan Marcotte, Christopher Schmitt, and a few others as well.

Looking back still, I got a little fan boy-ish when I thanked Bruce for conditional comments which helped me with the whole IE styling back in the day and even got a shout out on his site. Which made me laugh and makes me laugh even more to this day. Thanks, Bruce!

During the days when I was very active on the web, when I was freelancing and doing very well for myself with my little one-man band development club, when I was religiously following everyone I could in the early days of Twitter, I wanted to do the web standards thing. I was fawning over the fact I met, talked to, and even broke bread (lunch I believe) with Jeffrey Zeldman.

To sum it up, AEA was great, educational, and terrific. I highly suggest people in the industry to go if they have never been. it is money well spent.

Then I planned in grandiose fashion, of course, to and vowed to return every year, when it came to Boston to keep in touch with folks and see the others I have never seen or met before such as Jeremey Keith, Andy Clarke, and a pantheon of others I religiously followed.

So then life came along and I got in my own way. I don’t hide the fact that my past was very checkered with addictions of all sorts. Alcohol and drugs being the worst of the worst. I got a big head, a.k.a. ego. I missed 2009, I vowed to return in 2010. I missed 2010, I swore to return in grand style on a unicorn, throwing lightning bolts and proclaiming my return in 2011. Missed 2011.

I went through many years of failure on grand levels. I got in my own way and the addiction thing is probably best saved for another post.

I decided that my dreams of working at a great firm such as Happy Cog, 2Advanced, Razorfish, Red, etc., were done. I continued to slop around and freelance, but work dried up, I got deeper in the hole I was digging, and by 2012, I gave up.

The last 5 years, I have been in recovery. Got a year, stumbled, currently working on 4 years in August. May of 2016 I was hired by a company that I am still working for, doing web work. I got the itch back. So I decided to ask if they would send me to AEA, I got the go ahead.

I’ll be returning after 9 years. Yeah, I got right back. I’ll leave the unicorn and lightning bolt throwing at home though. I’m back to learn. I’m back to hopefully catch up with people and re-introduce myself to some folks.

It’s been a real struggle, but I’m glad I’ll be back in May.

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Busy, Volume I

Close Encounters with PHP is up and I can finally go back in and go through this course. Finally, back to being really busy, I’ve been trying to manage my time better. To no avail however.

My son plays basketball and is currently starting on JV and on the bench for varsity. So he has practices nearly every night and games, couple that with working 40 hours a week, I get home and I am beat. I wouldn’t trade it for anything though.

I’m hoping soon, and that’s probably in March, that things slow down a bit. We shall see. I’ll get back to updating this thing more often and I have another Free Code Camp update to post as well. Ciao!

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Angular 2

Angular 2

I’m really looking to dive in, looking for good online content to start from the ground up. I’ve found plenty of content to read and pour over, but precisely where to begin, to develop an application I am in the concept phase of, seems a little daunting. Perhaps I need a mentor.

I know if I implement Angular 2 and some other technologies behind the app I have in mind for development, it could be huge for the people I have in mind. I guess more hunting around for tutorials, reading, etc. is in order.

I want to be able to fully grasp Angular 2 and take it, run with it, and develop with it. Those are my final goals in this phase of my life. I am pretty certain that this could land me some opportunities outside of what I already do and go from there.

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