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 For Web Designers 2021-05-19 15:27:37 UTC Mail Delivery Problems? 

Tuesday, December 23 2014

2014 Holiday Shutdown

I'll be out of the office until January 5, 2015.

All server monitoring and monitored server emergency response will continue as usual, but I'm not handling any non-emergency business or servers that are not under contract. It might be possible to bribe me to work, but it'll be quite expensive.

Happy Holidays!

→ committed: 12/23/2014 17:47:53

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Saturday, September 13 2014

Cell Phone Upgraded, Old Number Gone

I've recently acquired a new cell phone and with it a new carrier because the carrier I was using doesn't support BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Accordingly, my number has changed. I'm not going to post it publicly because I don't need to hear from every salesdroid with a web browser and an offer I cannot refuse. If I somehow managed to leave you off of the bulk mail recipients list so you don't have my new number, please email me about it.

If you need to get in touch but don't have my email address handy, you can use my contact form.

Yes, the HTC One (M8), Google Play Edition, is a schweet device.

→ committed: 9/12/2014 21:10:09

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Saturday, July 26 2014

Todoist, GTD, and Inbox Zero

I'm big on keeping my world in order. I want my email inbox to be empty every time I finish processing my mail, and I want all of my upcoming tasks to be committed to some trustworthy application that will keep track of them so I don't have to. That's one of the principles of David Allen's Getting Things Done, but it's something I started doing long before he wrote the book.

I developed my own version of GTD in the 1980's when I inherited the highly dysfunctional service department of an electronics manufacturer. It was explained to me by my employer's production manager thusly: "Service is an evil, a necessary evil". I was shocked to hear that, but soon came to understand why it was seen as a necessary evil within the company. The department was chaotic in just about every way, left behind a trail of dissatisfied customers, and had never in the company's history operated at a profit. I brainstormed a system to bring order to the chaos and transparency to the opacity, implemented as a handful of manila folders and a magnetic whiteboard. There were, of course, many other changes required, but the core of the system consisted of the folders and whiteboard. Proving out my perception that we had good people on staff, within a few months we had nothing past due in our repair queue, our efficiency was greatly increased, and our turnaround time greatly decreased. The technicians were happier, too, because our system was predictable, easy to live with, and drove away the unreasonable time pressures that had been a constant. At the close of the fiscal year the CEO dropped by to congratulate me for being the first one in the company's 20 year history to manage the service department profitably.

Tangentially, turning the service department around proved to be the key to making customer win-backs, too.

There's more ...

→ committed: 7/25/2014 23:00:00

[ / technology / miscellany] permanent link

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Monday, May 19 2014

Logitech M705 Mouse Button Fix

My Logitech mouse was giving me fits with click-and-drag operations, as when selecting ("highlighting") text to copy, as if it was releasing the button despite my having ample and consistent pressure on the actuator. Apparently the most common Logitech mouse button problem is erroneous double-clicks, but I was only rarely experiencing those. The fix for that can be found here, and is the reference for the rest of this brief article.

The requisite caveats: If your mouse is under warranty, give the problem to Logitech. If you proceed with this fix, you risk breaking your mouse, and the fix might not work anyway. There may be other failures that mimic the one described here. You may be bitten by a radioactive spider but not be transformed into Spiderman. Or you might win a lottery jackpot. Such is life.

If your Logitech mouse button is foiling your attempts to copy text because it's apparently releasing the button, but is not suffering the double-click failure, this fix is easier than is the one for the well known double-click failure. Disassemble the mouse as far as opening the switch as in the article above, but do not remove the copper reed. Instead, cut a couple of strips of printer paper a few inches in length and about ¼" in width. Insert the first small strip of paper between the contacts, which are at the front end of the reed, the end furthest from the battery. Gently close the switch (depress the reed) with a small screwdriver, a pen, pencil, or even a fingertip, and drag the paper through the contacts. Repeat this closing/dragging operation several times, then repeat with the other, clean strip of paper. Then, partially reassemble the mouse with two or three screws, install the batteries, and test. If it proves to be working nicely again as mine is, finish buttoning it up and be happy — you've just saved yourself right around fifty bucks. If instead it's still a bit twitchy, try another clean strip of paper and a bit more cleaning. If that doesn't work, be happy but try some other fix, or replacing the recalcitrant rodent.

A side note: The switch enclosure I encountered was slightly different from the one in the referenced article, in that the locking tabs were on the sides rather than the ends. It's not a big thing, but you should look at the one you encounter carefully, and proceed more carefully. If you apply the correct pressure in the correct place, the cover should come away easily. You don't want to hear the wrong snapping noise!

I recommend a contact cleaning if you're in there to fix the infamous double-click failure, too.

I think I'm going to spend the next few minutes just randomly highlighting text to see it working properly.

→ committed: 5/19/2014 17:16:09

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Thursday, May 15 2014

Schedule Change, TBD

I gave my "work/life balance" schedule a fair trial, about two years, and have determined that it was just not right for me. When I say "not right" what I really mean is very wrong, as I am about to explain.

It's not really news that many programmers will work at night whenever possible. The two most common explanations given are that (a) the brutal conditions of startup companies place unreasonable demands upon their usually short technical staffs, and (b) those whose primary work requires prolonged periods of intense concentration find the quieter time more conducive to that work. I am wholly unqualified to speak to the former as I've never been directly employed by a startup company, but of the latter I can say that there is some truth to it. I've often said that a two minute interruption can set a project back by two to four hours, and I stand by that. The only time this is not true is when the software project at hand is trivial. But there's more to the story, at least in my own case there is more to it. Another thing I am wholly unqualified to do is to speak for my entire profession, and I won't pretend otherwise. I acknowledge that I might be and probably am an outlier. With that said:

There's more ...

→ committed: 5/14/2014 23:16:38

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