Open Browser, Insert Foot

The problem with “sticking your foot in your mouth” online is that it seems harder to take it back, since it’s saved in a backed-up, triple-redundant database and permanently archived and indexed by multiple seach engines and archiving services. Shouldn’t comment forms have Edit > Undo functionality?

Tact is something I must still need a lot of work on.

SXSW Recap

It’s been about a week since SXSWi, so I’m more than overdue to post my thoughts on it.

My expectations of this conference centered around panel after panel of mind-blowing Web 2.0 know-how. Instead, however, it ended up being something very different. Rather than the panels being the end, they were really the catalysts for discussion among the attendees. The topics presented, combined with the community of like-minded individuals, led to some incredible interpersonal discussions and great networking opportunities. And to that end, the conference was invaluable.

It was amazing to meet some of the very people who got me fired-up about standards-based Web development in the first place. The “Internet famous” were there in plenty, and frankly, it was pretty neat to spend some time rubbing shoulders with them. But my favorite part was not meeting the “famous,” but rather, meeting those passionate, qualified individuals who don’t necessarily have names for themselves (yet), but are striving to be better at what they do. I want to name a few, but out of fear for excluding some unintentionally, I will refrain. To those of you who fit this description, though, thank you. I came home motivated and inspired by you. Keep up the good work.

Free WiFi at Boise Airport

Well, I’m officially on my way to Austin for SXSWi. Although leaving the wife this morning was tough, I’m really looking forward to the conference.

The free WiFi at the Boise airport is a very nice way to start the trip. It’s graciously provided by the folks (marketing department) over at mpc – thanks guys!

SXSW, Here I Come!

Though a series of blessings (that started out with the sincerely generous offer of staying on some friends’ hotel floor for free), I will be attending SXSW Interactive this year! I am exceptionally excited, as this is something I’ve wanted to do for years.

I’ll be in Austin, TX from March 10 – March 15, so please let me know if there’s anything I should make sure not to miss while I’m there (besides the obvious SXSW Interactive Festival itself – you know I’ll be there).

Enchancing Gmail Chat

Perhaps you’re a Gmail user. Perhaps you’ve considered taking advantage of its new integrated chat feature. Perhaps you’ve been perplexed about how to make it usable as a real chat application.

Well if that’s the case, you and I have a lot in common.

You see, while I wanted to have the chat feature available to me, I didn’t want to install Google Talk on my work computer. Our IT department doesn’t like it when you install software without approval.

So Gmail’s built-in chat was the answer for me. As I started messing with it, however, I discovered a “flaw” that made it impractical to use in my normal work setting. That “flaw” was the lack of “Always on top” functionality. That is, I want to be able to keep an eye on my chat conversations while I am doing other things. Going back to the chat window every 20 seconds to see if a friend client has responded is just not a good way to be productive. I need my chat windows to stay on top of any window I’m using so I can keep an eye on them while still getting work done.

So off to Google I went. And that’s where I found the aptly-named, Always On Top Maker by FAD Software. This handy piece of software lets you use some quick keyboard shortcuts (CTRL + ALT + T, to be exact) to turn the “Always on top” feature on or off for any particular window. And it’s just a small executable file. Perfect.

To get it to work upon reboot of the ol’ PC, just throw it into your Startup folder (probably located at C:/Documents and Settings/All Users/Start Menu/Programs/Startup/ on your Windows machine).

So now, all I have to do is use the Gmail chat window’s “Pop-out” feature, size it down a bit, and hold down CTRL + ALT + T. Voila – it’s now safely chillin’ on my lower right – comforting me with its soft, Googly glow. Enjoy.

Pivotal

skier on the mountaintop

Have you ever had the feeling that you’re at a point in life where decisions you’re making will really shape your future, and not just your future, but who you are as a person? Like you’ve just gotten off the chair lift at the top of the ski mountain of life and the direction you head will determine which choices are available to you and which have now disappeared?

That’s where I’m at. It feels pivotal. Not just pivotal as in important, but pivotal as in directional.

Here are some of the words and phrases that are currently staring me straight in the face:

  • Habits.
  • Discipline.
  • Faithfulness.
  • Character.
  • Love.
  • Devotion.
  • Intimacy with God.
  • Sacrifice.
  • Marriage.
  • A wasted life.

And as I teeter here, I must thank my Lord for His great patience with me, a sinner.