Thursday, May 22, 2008

Could Be Worth a Lot

Remember: this information could be worth money!

So, I was trying out Fedora Core 9 on my new USB stick, which I can take anywhere and use at any computer to boot Linux without necessarily affecting the contents of the hard drive.

The mouse cursor was not showing up. This is a neat problem. Without two computers, it was a struggle to get into the forums and find the details of anyone with a related problem: the mouse is connected and when it's moved around the screen, it highlights selectables just like if it were a mouse pointer... but, you can't see it, and incidentally since its invisible, it also doesn't ever change shape.

/etc/X11/xorg.conf

Section "Device"
Option "HWCursor" off

In a college full of smart people, some of them using Fedora Core, and certainly many of them using nVidia and HP computers, and still nobody in my office had ever seen this problem before, or was prepared to offer a solution.

This information could be worth money!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Career Coders get Tracks

I heard that Rentacoder.com has real money up for coding tasks, but I don't know how hard it is to please those escrow judges... assumedly, if they want to keep the programmers coming back, they will pay them. This is not necessarily a given! There are so many competing todo lists, I just heard about GTD Tracks from my buddy Brandon, I hope these tasks find their way to the top of my doings and may I please don't get distracted by shiny features or anything else!

This program called Tracks is all about David Allen's GTD methodology and implementing it into your working patterns, I've seen those programs come and go, the last one I liked a lot was actually called Trac and I still have a deployment of that kicking around on my network somewhere. It's about project management, yes, but Tracks acknowledges that it's actually about context management too.

My buddy Dan wants to put together a website. It's for an entertainment company that he's interested in starting, he wants to sell tickets to shows and maybe music, maybe online distribution vectors, maybe t-shirts, well there are plenty of people doing that kind of thing and it would be good to have some examples for him when we go and talk on Monday. I'll put together a document, which I hope he'll read.

See this is what you've got to understand first and foremost: your one big project may have several components, and you might not be able to convince all of your clients that they should foot the bill for each and every one of them. And, you might not be able to slip it past them in an extra fee, sometimes there is unpaid work that no paying clients will own up to having generated, and sometimes there is work that just doesn't get done for lack of time, funding, or interest.

Back to tracks: you should track it all if it's not too much trouble, for some contexts might eventually have to be cut, and this could result in alterations to the quality or delivery date of your final product. Maybe Dan's entertainment website doesn't need Java or Groovy for scripting, maybe it doesn't even need PHP! If all of the model content providers and sellers have outsourced the scripty functionality of their own websites, then maybe you're really just working on a design and a layout, and implementing it into pages of HTML and templates of CSS.

Maybe Don has been here before, where Dan and I are about to go... "all I know is, I hate writing press kits!" Time to get creative, and it should look nice.

There are also totally online communities where information is exchanged as currency, like ProZ.com, and RentACoder.com, even Dice.com and Monster.com fall into this category.

Can't I bill someone for all of this work? Who says there's not any money in Free Software? I heard about Inkscape and Scribus who both address this problem of layout, like Microsoft Publisher and Adobe Somethingorother, except these pieces of software are in the public domain and licensed under GPL, so there's not any Anteing Up to get started playing the game.

The output is the same around, Portable Document Format (PDF) except that predictably, Microsoft has declined to support the standard that everyone else is using. And who's to say they're wrong for doing that? They almost sold me a copy of their software, I had clients sending me files in Publisher format, am I going to tell them "no! take your proprietary files and green money somewhere else."

Maybe some day...

For now, I'd better work on my presentation. I don't think we need to clear the cache, if they want to steal my work from their cache, I think the browser has made it hard enough to do that, I should reward their labor with my data. There's nothing really stopping me from shooting back with a lawsuit, or some slanderous sounding remarks, much much later, when I find out they're using my copyright and they haven't paid the fee.

This should all be worked out on paper and ironclad before anybody asks too many questions, they could even reveal just how much you don't know and well that would be pretty embarassing wouldn't it? To my adoring fans, til Saturday when we speak again.