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SpikeTheLobster

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  1. Like
    SpikeTheLobster got a reaction from simplysidy in Should I Start A Website?   
    Sell it. You're obviously in two minds about it and if there's one single thing you absolutely NEED to make a website work, it's passion (or dedication or stubbornness - all similar things). If you're just toying with the idea it'll be a time-sink, then you'll give up on it and it'll just put you off doing anything productive in the same vein later on.
     
    You're better off avoiding the whole thing until you're really fired up about something and will put in the energy, effort and time.
  2. Like
    SpikeTheLobster got a reaction from imbamancer in How did you learn to develop databases?   
    A long time ago, in a dark room far, far away....
     
    I started with arrays in the ZX Spectrum and BBC Basic languages. Back when I was but a lad, my A-level computer science project was a PBM game (play-by-mail) database and turn generator, all based on arrays and a direct file access database (i.e. the file on 5.25" floppy was a collection of data and the program moved its pointer to the right place, read the data, wrote back and so on).
     
    My first "proper" databases were in Paradox. I wrote a "guiltware" distribution (i.e. free but if you feel guilty about using it for free, send me money) of a video database, taught OO Paradox programming and did some other bits and pieces. About that time I picked up DataEase as well (for work) and maintained one of the UK's leading solutions for pawnbrokers... single-handed. That was pretty scary.
     
    I also got into Access DB development for a client in Mayfair who made incredibly expensive bizarre things for inordinately rich people. They needed a database to track the manufacture of things like diamond-encrusted CD-ROM players. Yes, I'm serious.
     
    After that, I got to work on proper databases (Oracle, SQL, etc.) when I was contracting for a big networking company in France. Writing queries, optimising a few, consulting with the real DBAs for upgrades, problems, links to other projects and so on. I also got into CRM, running their Siebel installation for EMEA, and business intelligence, building universes and reporting systems in Business Objects. The scariest one of those was their sales figures thing: checking every single salesperson's figures rolling up through the entirety of EMEA up to global figures - tracked to the cent on billions of dollars.
     
    After that, I did bits and pieces wherever I ended up working: looking after a helpdesk app and the IP telephony for one of the UK's leading animal charities, helping the guy round the corner with his jewellery shop inventory DB, three months at a leading London business school unmaking the mess they'd made in their contributions database (and convincing the marketing people that the answer was NOT to install yet another database but to fix the one they had) and whatever else came along.
     
    That's over about ten or twelve years of work in all, I think.
     
    These days, I only use tools to keep my blog databases tidy.
  3. Like
    SpikeTheLobster got a reaction from Victor Leigh in First Elance Job...   
    Way too much experience on Elance and oDesk (on both sides of the hiring process) and a bit on Freelancer and vWorker (rentacoder, as was), too.
     
    THE most important thing you're gonna need to do is set milestones with pay and VERY clear deliverables, especially at the start. With a project of $2k, you cannot afford to let things slip or to let the worker screw you at any point in the process. And do NOT give feedback before the final milestone is done - you may feel pressured to do so, but don't. That's just asking for trouble.
     
    You're going to have to manage the person you hired, too. And I mean MANAGE. Not just poke your head in, ask for something and leave. You're going to have to be very clear, very present and very strict (though not necessarily unfriendly) to make sure you get what you expect, when you expect it.
     
    As an aside, I've found Elance the best for top-end writers/editors, oDesk the best for cheap labour, Freelancer a hive of scum and villainy (excuse the quote) and vWorker the best for techies. But that's just my personal experience.
     
    If you have specific questions about the Elance process or any tips or whatever, feel free to ask, Chuck.
  4. Like
    SpikeTheLobster got a reaction from Marc in To all you who say macs can't/don't get viruses   
    What's your IP?
     
    That's a very, very naïve approach. Haven't you ever heard that "there's always someone smarter than you"? Unfortunately, this is especially true in the IT world, so you're just inviting trouble if you don't run an AV utility. Malware does not only propagate through user stupidity - it propagates through multiple avenues, any one of which means you could be the next easy target.
     
    Get an AV. It doesn't matter what OS you run... get an AV. There are plenty of good, free ones around and not having one is like driving everywhere without a seatbelt: no, it's not likely you'll have an accident... but the day you do, you're dead.
  5. Like
    SpikeTheLobster got a reaction from Victor Leigh in Mastering Google - Penguin, Reverse Engineered   
    As a content writer (though only for myself these days), I have to say that I find all the analysis interesting... and amusing. Ever since I first encountered SEO, I've thought of it as something for other people - all the mathematical analysis, statistical analysis, keyword densities and other stuff was just too math-geeky for my liking.
     
    Why is that funny? Because even though people did all that analysis and it made a really big difference (before I was doing serious content writing), since Panda and Penguin, none of it really matters. They're still doing all the analysis and talking about the same measurements and numbers of this, that and the other thing... but high-quality content written by actual writers who have a decent control of their language totally bitch-slaps the stuff that's been SEO'd up the wazoo.
     
    I can so easily imagine all the Google engineers sitting there with big grins on their faces because - with just two updates - they've pretty much decimated the BS SEO market (note: not the people who are good at it) and put quality content and quality search results back into the hands of the smart people. That is, the folks who realise that useful, high-quality content is better for a good web site. And that SEO requires skill because it needs to be done without ruining that content.
     
    I know it's mean in a way - especially because the vast majority of SEO companies are based in poorer countries (and it sucks that their business has just been effectively fire-bombed by the updates) - but as a writer, I can't help but feel satisfied that the second-rate garbage-spewing cheap-ass writing and SEO markets will take a huge hit. Site owners will get proper content. Writers will get paid properly. Good SEO people will be paid properly. The world's a better place.
  6. Like
    SpikeTheLobster got a reaction from Victor Leigh in Where to find article writers?   
    Y'know, Vic, talking about yourself in the third person is a sign of losing your sanity... at least, when you're not part of the royal family it is.
  7. Like
    SpikeTheLobster got a reaction from Nathan in Dealing With Email Spam   
    Domains don't really work, since they mask them so often (or send through gmail, for example).
     
    Personally, I work the other way around when starting a new account. Assume everything is spam and whitelist the real people by address or domain (if appropriate). It takes a bit longer to get it right, of course, but not as long as you'd think.
     
    As far as gmail goes, I *hate* their spam filter. I'm constantly having to pull stuff out of the spam box, no matter how many times I tell them it's not spam. Like WP notifications from my OWN blogs, for example... pile of crap, their filter. And you can't switch it off. Smart.
  8. Like
    SpikeTheLobster got a reaction from Nathan in Godaddy.com   
    I've had the opposite experience: every domain name I've bought has been cheaper on GoDaddy and I've never paid even $10 for them. I always get them at about $6 a pop compared to the $12 or more Namecheap quotes.
     
    Maybe I'm just lucky or something... but it's consistent luck that's lasted for about 70 domain name purchases.
  9. Like
    SpikeTheLobster got a reaction from merlyn73 in Freebie!   
    I wasn't entirely sure where to put this, so... here it is.
     
    A while ago I published a tiny little ebook called "ReQuiEM" - Really Quick Easy Marketing. It's a simple little booklet thingy with 50 ideas for promoting your business without breaking the bank (or putting in too much effort). I've just made it available for free from Smashwords.
     
    I'm pretty sure you'll have seen some (or a lot!) of the ideas in there but hopefully there'll be one or two that you haven't considered. And it's free... so no loss apart from the 3 minutes it takes to read.
     
    Although it's on Amazon, don't get it there - their price-matching hasn't kicked in yet so it's still at the minimum $0.99. Instead, go here: http://www.halfhog.com/blog/2012/05/...asy-marketing/
     
    Hope it helps.
  10. Like
    SpikeTheLobster got a reaction from Nathan in Godaddy.com   
    I use them (exclusively) for domain name purchases because they're incredibly cheap. They always have a sale or discount of some kind running - usually 25% or 30% (though the last one was .coms for $1.40) - and also do bulk purchases and so on. Much, much cheaper than almost any other registrar.
     
    When it comes to basic hosting, most companies are pretty much the same. I'm with iPage for the basic shared stuff and they're OK. Usual problems you'd expect on shared hosting, nothing major. I don't use site building services of any kind, so I can't comment on those.
     
    I have a VPS with GoDaddy - mostly because they have a nice stepped setup so I can test the waters without coughing up huge piles of cash. Still at the setup stage with that, though, thanks to the disappearing developer (mine, not theirs). We'll see how that goes once it's running properly!
     
    The main reason people steer away from GoDaddy is because of their initial support for SOPA. I have yet to use any company whose ethics I trust, so I'm not overly concerned by that.
  11. Like
    SpikeTheLobster got a reaction from merlyn73 in Need help to build traffic for a new site/forum   
    One question should be enough to help: what (content) are you offering them that no other site offers?
     
    If you can't answer that question clearly, then you know why they're not signing up. Unfortunately, the pet niche is quite heavily populated and a lot of the sites are owned by big-name (or big-budget) players, so you really need something unique, different or special to stand out from the crowd.
  12. Like
    SpikeTheLobster got a reaction from Godric in (WTB) Site Logo   
    The ones I've had made have been delivered in multiple formats, including JPG, PNG, vector, etc. If they'd been delivered in EPS I'd have been really pissed because they wouldn't be easily usable.
  13. Like
    SpikeTheLobster got a reaction from fakesky in The Complete Guide to Starting a Website   
    Easy to spot: watch for new members (especially ones coming through third-party services) who instantly post HUGE threads. Anyone posting more than three paragraphs in their first half a dozen posts on my forum gets checked very closely - copy part of the text, paste into Google...
     
    Ban, rate down, kick out. Simple... and strangely enjoyable...
  14. Like
    SpikeTheLobster got a reaction from Victor Leigh in The movie that made you cry?   
    The one that always gets me is Shall We Dansu? (the Japanese original, not the US remake). Every single time. Even though I've watched it about a dozen times.
     
     
    Unsurprised for Dragonheart. I don't think you're getting old and sentimental... you're just less concerned with people thinking you're not a "real man" - most adolescents and guys in their early 20s would love to cry at movies but don't dare.
     
     
    Not me. Terrible movie: I spent most of the time wishing I was somewhere else.
  15. Like
    SpikeTheLobster reacted to bloggeroo in Process flow design   
    What kind of diagrams are you making? UML diagrams? May I recommend yEd from yworks.com?
     
    yEd is a Java-based application which you can install to run in your computer or run it online. I'm planning to standardize my design and development process around this tool.
  16. Like
    SpikeTheLobster got a reaction from Nathan in CSS Help!   
    Your while loop's screwed in projects.php.
     
    If you want them three across, you'll need to do something like a stepped FOR loop, taking them three at a time ("number of rows div 3" times) or a FOR inside a while (though it'll be weird) or a complex IF with a manual counter (which is a bit old-school but works and is sooooo easy to read).
     
    Effectively something like this (which is only one way of doing it):
     
    while the current display row number < total number of rows
    if there is a row of 3 to show
    show three from current display row number
    increment current display row number by 3
    elseif there are 2
    show those 2
    increment current display row number by 2 (or 3, whatever makes it bigger than the total so the loop ends)
    elseif
    show the one remaining
    increment current display row number by 1 (or 2 or 3, whatever makes it bigger than the total so the loop ends)
    end if
    end loop
     
     
    Or alternatively:
     
    get number of rows returned MOD 3; (call it leftovers)
    get number of rows returned DIV 3; (call it cycles)
    FOR cycle times
    show a line of three projects (at row numbers cycle*3, cycle*3+1, cycle*3+2 (assuming it starts at 0))
    add a line break
    END loop
    FOR leftovers times
    show one project and make sure there's no line break
    END loop
     
    Hope it helps. Note that it's not in PHP because I only taught myself the language in an hour on Tuesday and it's probably less confusing (for you!) for me to write in pseudocode than try to do real PHP.
  17. Like
    SpikeTheLobster got a reaction from Tony in Should I buy an online product that promises to make me Money Online? - Commission Blueprint Evolution   
    Additionally, every single one of them I have ever seen, without exception, says and does the same things that you can learn elsewhere for nothing. So no, I would not either.
     
    That said, I know a lot of people who would because they consider $65 fair exchange for gathering all that information together in one place. This is the same principle as my book, for example - everything's available online but if you pay a few bucks you get it all collected, collated and put into some kind of sensible order.
     
    For me, it's not interesting at all but the price is right for a lot of hopefuls. I particularly liked the way you emphasised that it's just a tool and that the measure of the buyer's success lies with how well they use it and how hard they work.
  18. Like
    SpikeTheLobster reacted to Jessi in How Much Would You Donate?   
    I have never actually donated to a forum before. I have made small donations to other sites and projects before, but I have no interest in paying for a premium membership on a forum that likely isn't offering me anything that I can't get elsewhere for free. I really don't think most people would pay 10 bucks a month for any given forum.
     
    That being said, I have seen scaled systems work out nicely for some boards. Instead of having just a premium membership, they offer specific perks for much smaller amounts....like a customized title for $1, etc.
  19. Like
    SpikeTheLobster got a reaction from Godric in What is the best Non-paid way to promote a Website or forum?   
    A kind offer but I don't actually do marketing as a rule. At all. I've never needed it and I dislike it, so I just do a bare minimum when I absolutely have to.
  20. Like
    SpikeTheLobster got a reaction from Godric in Freebie!   
    Just for a minute, you had me really worried!
     
     
    Glad it was useful. It always really annoyed me that KDP don't do a "free" setting and I couldn't just offer it around.
  21. Like
    SpikeTheLobster got a reaction from Godric in The Complete Guide to Starting a Website   
    Easy to spot: watch for new members (especially ones coming through third-party services) who instantly post HUGE threads. Anyone posting more than three paragraphs in their first half a dozen posts on my forum gets checked very closely - copy part of the text, paste into Google...
     
    Ban, rate down, kick out. Simple... and strangely enjoyable...
  22. Like
    SpikeTheLobster reacted to redinit in Pinterest - Great for traffic, but not sales?   
    I think we are actually on the same page, we said the same thing but you had an extra use case which makes my point better than I did.
     
    It stops some bots, but big named sites like Gmail, Windows Live, Yahoo have had there CAPTCHA system cracked. There's a University in Newcastle with a research team that has a 90% success rate of getting pass Windows Live CAPTCHA. There are a handful of methods to crack CAPTCHAs, thats why software such as phpBB, Wordpress constantly need to update their techniques. Which is why you are starting to see some ridiculous CAPTCHAs. Namely the ones where you enter two words that you need a magnifying glass and the amulet of Zeus to read. Or the ones where you have to solve algebraic equation.
  23. Like
    SpikeTheLobster reacted to redinit in To all you who say macs can't/don't get viruses   
    Hipsters are the new fanboys.
     
    I do prefer Unix based OS over Windows, but I've never been one to force it on people, because at the end of the day an OS is just a tool we use, and most people don't even know the difference.
     
     
    True story
  24. Like
    SpikeTheLobster got a reaction from ChuckTesta in The Complete Guide to Starting a Website   
    I always preferred espresso with my pasta.
  25. Like
    SpikeTheLobster got a reaction from ChuckTesta in Pinterest - Great for traffic, but not sales?   
    I hate it when this happens. Been saying exactly the same thing for the last two weeks, then someone popular goes and blogs it. Pffft. Gotta learn to keep my gob shut and post "expert advice" instead.
     
    Interesting to see that I was right for once, though!
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