Worst Superbowl ever

I am going to come right out and say it: “the SuperBowl sucked”. There, I said it. The game sucked, the halftime show sucked, the announcing sucked and the commercials sucked.

The Bachelor

Yes, I am living the life of a bachelor, once again. Recently my wife went to Philadelphia on a business trip and thus life has turned into an extended episode of the Bachelor at the ol’ Lambert manor. Ramen noodles, frozen pizzas, and chicken pot pies, oh my!

I actually enjoy being a bachelor again, if only for brief periods of time. I get to watch whatever I want on TV, put my feet up on the coffee table and I get all of the dog’s attention for a change. It is nice, at least knowing that you’re only alone for so long, unlike being a real bachelor. I am missing my wife though… talking to her on the phone is just not enough.

Good television again, finally…

I am so glad that television is back. I don’t watch a whole lot of TV, but I do have a list of shows that I am faithful to and when they are not on, it messes up my schedule. I know what you are saying, “if there was anyone that I know that would have a Tivo, it would be Todd” but in all honesty, I kind of like the regimen that network television does to my daily schedule. It give me a bit of structure, which I like sometimes. However, there are some times when it’s a pain in the butt and that is why my friends on Bitorrent are always there for me – to download missed shows, or shows that I can’t watch because of conflicting air times. The number one conflict I have is that 24 (and all the bad ass Jack Bauer that goes along with it) and Heroes are on at the same time.

List of shows that I watch regularly: (in no particular order)

  • 24
  • The Shield
  • Rescue Me
  • Lost
  • Heroes
  • Nip/Tuck
  • Desperate Housewives
  • Prison Break
  • E/R
  • Survivor (although this getting old)
  • Family Guy
  • Simpsons
  • CSI Las Vegas

End of the year – end of an era

TeleVox Software, Inc. Logo

Time has come to move into the new year and with that comes change. I have set into motion a series of changes that will definitely shape the year 2007. I have left my stable, daytime job at TeleVox Software to pursue my dreams. After three years, the time had come to move to the next phase of both my career and my life.

I am eagerly working towards changing things so that I can spend more time working on the things that matter to me most and minimizing things that don’t. It’s that simple. I’ve heard others say it, I’ve preached it myself on countless occasions, but this time I am doing it instead of just thinking about it.

Cruisin’ the Coast 2006

A cherished tradition returned to the Gulf Coast after missing last year because of Katrina. This was the 10th annual Cruisin’ The Coast and the first one in several years that had perfect weather! Classic cars were rumbling all over the coast which is always a treat because you get to see cars that you hardly ever see anymore. This year’s event seemed to be just about perfect, from the weather to the venues, to the entertainment and of course the cool rides! Although the coast has been undeniably changed from Hurricane Katrina, in most cases you wouldn’t have known it. I took some photos from the events in Ocean Springs. Ocean Springs is one of my favorite “sleepy-little” towns and it was a perfect location to spot some killer cars and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere. This is truly the Coast at its finest.

CRW_3981

CRW_3995

CRW_3990

CRW_3989

Autumn falls upon us

Autumn is all about change; changes in season, changes in state, changes in mind. I love Autumn more than any other time of the year although I am often the worst about changing. I am looking forward to the cooler weather, the colorful foliage, football, more golfing, and of course the holidays.

It has been an extremely hectic year and I hope that as 2006 comes to an end my life make some changes for the good. I am going to try and put some of the negative items in my life behind me and move forward again. I yearn for trying some new things so that is what I am going to do. I am going to let my leaves fall and get ready for the next season in my life.

Post-Katrina – one year later

The worst part about the rebuilding process is that there is so much uncertainty. Uncertainty in jobs, real estate, traffic and restaurants; yes restaurants. I like to eat. I enjoy meals more than most much to my chagrin and my waistline actually, but the restaurant situation on the Gulf Coast has been in dire shape and does not really appear to be getting much better.

We’ve tried just about establishment on the coast and there are a very few places that are worth going to. This is especially true of Mexican food. We have several Mexican restaurants here and they’re all horrible, every single one of them. With the supposed influx of illegal immigrants to the Gulf Coast, you would think that they would be bringing better, more authentic food with them, no? Quick, somebody airlift a bunch of Chimichangas in before I lose my will to continue!

Never let an ad agency near your web site

I sat here thinking about web design, print design, and how the two mix and don’t mix. While reading some articles online, I ran across an article titled “Web design: never let an ad agency near your website” written by Gerry McGovern.

I started thinking that in order to get the job done correctly, you would need to work with someone who does either or and not both. Would you go to a fast food joint if you were looking for a top sirloin steak? Of course not, you may say to yourself, but then why are people using ad agencies whose primary function is print design, to design their web site?

How many times have we seen a site put together by an agency that simply caters to the art director on staff? Does being “pretty” mean anything when it comes to websites? Does making something look “cool” really mean it’s better for the client or more importantly, for the client’s customers?

Does working in an “a la carte” mode for your company’s design needs mean that you have to sacrifice design for usability? Do you have to wonder about the direction of your company’s brand or style is going? I don’t think so.

I think that getting the right person do the job is the most important part of creating an online persona. If your site doesn’t work, or is slow, or just built to look “cool”, you are doing your customers a disservice and they will most likely think so too.

So what do you do? You should stay with an agency if that is who you already have doing for your print work, but if you are looking to add web design, e-mail campaigns, and other online marketing solutions to your company’s offerings, then get someone who knows what they are doing in that arena. Don’t settle for a one-stop-shop just because they promise that they can make your site “cool”. You will be more satisfied with the end result and again, most importantly, so will your customer.

Today, using standards based design principles to design sites, allows the developer to easily adapt the site’s look/feel to a particular client’s branding. This means that sites can be built correctly from start to finish with backwards compatibility and growth for the future, all without sacrificing the brand that your company has worked so hard to obtain.

This site illustrates how standards based design offers the capability to change your content’s look/feel without have to actually alter the content. There is only one actual copy of the content on this site, but by using the “theme” switcher you can see just how powerful it is to have your content seperated from the display functions of your website. This site can be altered dramatically with changing just one page of code. No massive re-designs, pulling the site down, going through every single last page of a site and removing all of the code that makes your logo red, or your contact information white.

Make a few changes to a stylesheet, and you have a whole new look for your website, in very little time. Also, because your content is separated from the display characteristics, it makes it much more transportable, meaning you can move your site, change platforms, etc… all without having to worry.

This is where most agencies fall down. Very few agencies are all encompassing, and capable of offering true dedicated web services and not just and an add-on feature set of capabilities designed to get the client to spend more money with them.

Ask yourself what you want your website to be, and then ask yourself if your agency is actually helping you to accomplish it.

Master of disaster chili

Home Simpson ChiliI went to my very first Chili Cook-off yesterday and I was sadly, disappointed. Yes, they had chili, and yes, they had beer. But the entire event seemed nothing more than an overblown charity fund raiser with chili as an afterthought.

There were two Casino sponsors who won a “Team Spirit” award, where both teams’ members actually acted as if they could care less about the entire event. One gentleman from a large casino down here, actually sat in a chair, and gave dirty looks to people who had the audacity to actually want to have some of his chili. Well, I did have the audacity, and I did get some of their chili. It was plain, boring, and was quickly dumped into the BFI dumpster next to his stand.

Speaking of BFI, they won third place, and I felt they should have actually won. Their chili was the best I had tasted and their attitudes and humor went beyond the call of duty. They all were wearing t-shirts that read “Pure Trash – All Garbage” and “BFI – Better Food Ingredients” and they genuinely looked as if they were having a good time.

I then tried the next stand and was greeted by two types of chili, normal and SuperHot. Me, being me, exclaimed “Gimme the SuperHot!” I was given a cup of chili which looked mostly normal, had some larger chunks of beef which were not cooked enough and were kind of “chewy”. I was about to discard the chili when I had my last bite, which contained something that when I bit into it, my face imploded. It was a solid chili pepper about the size of a quarter and made their chili a memorable experience for no other fact than cheating. They should have been disqualified, as that is not how you make chili hot. That is the Chief Wiggum method, and I am not Homer Simpson.

Overall, I thought the event was pretty sad, and I guess we should have gone to the Crawfish Festival instead. Maybe next time I want a good chili cook-off, I will look to Texas, and leave the Mississippi Gulf Coast to doing what they do best, Crawfish and Shrimp boils

An Event Apart – Atlanta 2006

So I arrive in Atlanta the day before the event, get my rental car and decide to do some sight-seeing before it gets dark. Not having a map, or even the slightest clue about where I am or how to get around Atlanta, I set off from from the Avis depot with nothing but adventure and determination on my mind. That is until I quickly find myself roaming the back streets of downtown slumville USA. Seedy people eye-ballin’ me left and right, wondering if I have anything of value in my silver, Chevy Malibu with a big Avis rental car sticker on the back.

I start to feel that I am in fear for my life as I begin to drive faster and faster in what appears to be one big circle because all the streets, buildings and people appear to be identical. Then I find the Olympic Village area, a left-over attraction from the Olympic Games held here several years ago and find that things start to seem more normal. Normal that is until I notice that I am the only one looking at the sights, everyone else is looking for one-night stands, to score crack, or some other form of a “good time”. I however am looking for my hotel.

After several hours of driving around the great town of Atlanta, I arrive at my Hotel and my sanity. I posted some of the photos I took while driving around, to illustrate the variety of life I found during my stay here. It is a neat place, very big yet still retains a feel of the smaller southern charm I have become accustomed to.

All in all, I had a blast, enjoying the city almost as much as I enjoyed the An Event Apart conference and the meeting of Jeffrey Zeldman, Eric Meyer and Jason Santa Maria.

New layout new format same site

As you see, I’ve revised the site yet again, and changed up the format this time. Everything is now going to be grouped into “slices” of time, rather than just individual posts. My hope is that this method will allow me to have more pertinent posts and will also buy me a little time to put together content that is better overall rather than just daily diatribes of what I had for lunch, how traffic was today, etc… Stay tuned, we’ll see how it goes.

Some new toys

Some new toys

I have been really busy with a lot of things lately, but that hasn’t stopped me from staying current in technology. I mean, I will be the first to admit it – I am a technophile. I often lie about where I am going just so that I can spend a few more moments with a tech rag, or I am sometimes caught talking dirty to my peripherals. I can most often be found just by listening for a beep, bleep or bloop. I cannot help myself, I am obsessed with having the latest and greatest techno gadgets.

3 generations of iPods

This was no more apparent than today, when I was showing off my latest techno-wizardry at work, when an associate asked me what the differences were between the old and the new iPods. I quickly broke out my iPod collection which elicited a decidedly awkward gasp from the room of onlookers and wannabe technophiles. Seeing the initial reaction followed by the curious comments and questions; started to make me feel a bit strange. Was I the equivalent of a man reaching for his youth by purchasing a fast red sports car? Was I just using technology to regain my yearning for the bleeding edge of the dot com era?

If this wasn’t bad enough, I eagerly await the gawk session to begin again on Monday, when I show up with my new Powerbook.

Props to Alex Dukal

Today, while surfing the world wild web, I stumbled across a site that made me stop and take a gander for an unusually long time. The site is the personal site for Alex Dukal and clicking through his illustration works and other items I was in awe. It’s wonderful work and I felt like sharing it with some of you who may not surf the same streets of the web that I do.

Todd’s version of shock and awe

Shock and Awe

I love to blow stuff up.
I love to watch things burn.
I love the smell of napalm sulfur.

Yes, it’s that time of year again, when I go out of my way to make sure that I am able to annoy every neighbor possible and make them all wish they had received invitations to my annual shock and awe campaign that is the 4th of July.

This year is no exception and I have moved forward in my celebratory festivities using not just one, but two 1/4″ PVC pipe launching vessels to rain down a visual assault that is not matched anywhere in the neighborhood.

Ah yes, I do love the smell of burning sulfur and singed eyebrows.

Get your G-mail invites!

Okay, so I have been using gmail for a little while now, and I do really think its going to be a great service. It is better than both hotmail and yahoo email accounts by a mile and it really has a pretty awesome interface too. I was really rather impressed with how well it seemed to work, with the new threading features, filtering, and searching capabilities.

I have a few invites still left to give out, so if anyone is desperately seeking Gmail, let me know.

By the way, upon looking for the appropriate user name for my junk email account with Gmail, I found these which are still currently available… grab em while they’re still available!

spamless@gmail.com
webcoder@gmail.com
macfreak@gmail.com
applyguy@gmail.com
junkbuster@gmail.com (one of my favs)
harmonica@gmail.com
tubesnake@gmail.com
golfcourse@gmail.com
testcase@gmail.com
lastchoice@gmail.com
borked@gmail.com (I came very close to taking this one)
geekspeak@gmail.com

I ended up with two accounts for myself, which seemed to work well for my needs.

Anyways, get em while they are hot!

Why standards matter

WASP If you are a fellow web developer please visit WASP and complete their Web Standards Survey. This will allow them to further their work towards a goal that we should all care about, Web Standards.

It’s a pretty basic survey asking mainly generic questions about your usage of standards and how those decisions affect your normal daily routine.

Please support Web Standards and your local web standards supporting web developer, buy an XHTML based website today!

Hurricane season coming soon

We’re getting ready for another (the first since Katrina) hurricane season on the Gulf Coast. Personally I think it’s going to be a tame season, I hope. I really really hope. We do not need anything remotely resembling a tropical storm, let alone a hurricane, to come anywhere near us. We are not ready yet (will we ever be?).

Version 5 of TLE is here

You may be noticing some drastic changes, I have re-designed the site and revamped a few things.

First you will notice that the navigation is vertical rather than horizontal as in the past versions. The look is also a lot cleaner and more graphical although I really tried to “tone” down the look. I think I succeeded in this goal.

The site is still validating, and still works in all modern browsers. I had some issues with the new navigation scheme not working Win IE 5, but I think I have those issues resolved now.

I hope that you like the new look and feel, and would love some input on what you think of this new direction for the site. And of course if you want to revert back to the previous design, feel free by using the Site Theme changer located on the left under the navigation.

Stay tuned too, as this is only the first part of the site revisions and I hope to have the others online soon.

Gritty, Grimey, Good…

Awhile back, Clint turned me onto a photographer’s website that just blew me away. I thought I had lost the link to the site, but recently found it buried away under some piles of unused xhtml in the corner of my desktop. Anways, after visiting it again, I have decided that I need to post it here, because it really is some great work and deserves to be linked up. The photographer’s name is Erik Refner and his site is here. Be sure to check out the Rockabillies section as it is some HOT stuff.

Behind the scenes of a web browser

David Hyatt recently posted about the intricacies of web browsers and how they load websites. This is a fascinating look into the underpinnings of modern web browsers and illustrates the problems faced by browser developers and web developers alike.

Although some of it is rather technical in nature, it is clearly written and offers a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes environment of web surfing today. Check it out.

Ace Data Storage goes live

AceDataStorage.com website photoAceDataStorage.com goes live today, after being under development for the last month.

This site is for a local data storage and destruction company which needed a new site to showcase its excellent use of technology at its new facilities. The site is standards compliant, validating against xhtml 1.0, and despite its graphic nature it actually weighs in very light in file size. Check out the site here.

A day at the races


I was thrilled to be able to watch the inaugural race of the Offshore Super Series Powerboat Racing Association, Smokin’ The Sound (of which I designed the website while at The Ad Group) this weekend. I not only got to see the races, but I actually viewed them on the water, parked between Beau Rivage and Casino Magic casinos. It was a total blast being so close to these thunderous machines racing at over 125 mph on the Mississippi Sound.

We got great racing that was marred only by an accident on Friday practicing which unfortunately killed the driver of the boat. However, the racers were in top form on Sunday, and we were treated to a great race and a great racing venue. The weather cooperated for most of the day, with heavy thundershowers only arriving shortly after the last race had concluded. I am looking forward to this event coming back next year and will be attending for sure.

WordPress 1 – MovableType 0

I have recently completed the transformation from MovableType over to WordPress for the content management system used on this site. While I hope this has been a seamless transition, you may experience some bumps or glitches and you may notice some changes too.

In fact, I had to remove one of the previous features for showing Recent Comments, which I hope to be able to bring back soon. But, I did not just lose features, I gained quite a few as well. The site now has better searching capabilities with hi-lited search terms in the results pages. I also have a more functional calendar now and the whole site should perform much better as its being served by MySql now.

Hopefully you’ll enjoy the new system as much I do on this end. Leave comments if you notice anything out of place or something that is completely borked. Thanks! 😉

Did someone say “MacWorld”?

Yup, it’s that time again. That wonderful time when you see all the new toys available from Apple and then try to figure out how to pay for them.

Myself, I want a rack of new G5 Xserves, and Xraid, and a bevy of those new iPod Mini-me’s…. Yup.. that’s what I want.

I’m also looking at the new iLife suite for another $49 bucks… then throw in the upgrade for my copy of Final Cut Express at another $99… [adding in my head] I am now up to one miiiiilllliiiiooon dollars! Well, at least it feels like it will cost that much.

Still, it is such a wonderful time right now, being MacWorld and all.

Flesh is not flesh colored at all!

crayons.pngThere I was the other day, thinking about colors to be used for an upcoming project, when I started to realize that colors don’t mean as much to me as they used to.

Colors started as pretty benign designations that you are taught as a kid: Orange, Yellow, Green, etc.. Then as you move into the world further and discover Crayons™, you suddenly find yourself immersed in new names for what were once just simple colors. Now you have Raw Sienna, Maize, and Prussian Blue. They could still be classified by the base color names, but now they are so much cooler!

Anyways, I then thought about how Hexadecimal equivalents relate to the cool color names from my Crayon™ days and decided to do some searching about the origins of these new names. I ran across a very cool rundown on the history of Crayola Crayon™ colors and when they were introduced.

Then searching further, I found that SimpleBits was running a small informal quiz, asking you to guess the Hex color codes of a few sample swatches (which I did very well on btw).

Then I realized, I have gone from simple color names to fancy Crayon™ colors and finally ending in boring Hexadecimal colors. Where did I go wrong?

Safari gets Min / Max Height Properties

David Hyatt announced that the latest internal versions of Apple’s web browser Safari include support for min-height and max-height properties now. This is a step forward but only a step as it still doesn’t support min-width and max-width yet, however he did say that those were in the works.

But again, this is only a step forward because Microsoft refuses to implement this capability into Internet Explorer.

For those who don’t know what these properties do, they allow for “liquid” designed sites (sites that expand and contract according to the browser window size) to be set to maximum width and heights. Why is this important? Because this helps to keep text from extending to very long widths and helps to keep lines of text at a readable length. This site uses a max-width property which is displayed in Better Browsers™, but not in Internet Explorer. Maybe we will get these new technologies about the same time that Microsoft implements support for PNG graphics with an alpha channel like the rest of the world has already done. I won’t be holding my breath, however.