Entries from November 2008 ↓

WordPress Headaches with Closing HTML Tag – Any Ideas?

Update: I finally fixed this issue based on a shot in the dark, hail mary attempt. I will blog about it more next week. For now, suffice to say this kind of thing makes me want to buy and colo my own server.

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You may have noticed this site was down all day yesterday.

After about 5 hours of troubleshooting I’ve narrowed it down to either a WordPress issue, or a DreamHost issue.

Closing HTML Tag Killer
I know how to fix the problem: If I go into footer.php and remove the closing HTML tag the home page and single post display work…if I add it back they crash (500 error – when I look in the error log the message is “Premature end of script headers: php5.cgi”).

But the weirdest part is that I haven’t touched the blog, aside from publishing a couple new posts, in weeks. So for this to start suddenly means something else must have changed.

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Landing Clients Nearly 100% of the Time, Car Insurance by the Mile, and 91 Ways to Become a Better Developer

The Secret to Landing Clients Nearly 100% of the Time – I almost didn’t post this link here I think it’s so good and wanted to keep it to myself. It’s written by an internet marketing consultant, but the message applies to web design, web development, and software development just the same. The point of the entire article is a quote about halfway down – if you do nothing else, read the section titled “How to Land Your Client, Every Time.”

MileMeter – Auto insurance by the mile. If you drive less than 12,000 miles per year it will probably lower your insurance expenses. It also encourages you to drive less.

The Stupidest Exercise Machine You’ll Ever See – Title says it all.

91 Surefire Ways to Become an Event Greater Developer – Careful, you could kill days trying to do everything suggested in this list.

ResearchedFacts.com – “Tired of losing arguments just because your facts happen to be incorrect? We can help! Simply make your dubious assertions anywhere on the web and link back to us. We’ll back up your claim as a ‘Researched Fact’.”

Has A Customer Ever Tattooed Your Company Name on Their Arm?

Startup Success Podcast, Open Source For-Profit Startups, One Laptop Per Child 2008, and $19 Usability Testing

The Startup Success Podcast – After the demise of The Micro-ISV Show, Bob Walsh is back discussing issues affecting software startups. A good weekly listen.

Open Source, For-Profit Startups – “FairSoftware is the place to start and grow your online business. We help you team with others, track revenue and share it openly and fairly. Hire people in return for a share of your income stream instead of upfront cash. You save money and they have more incentive to collaborate.”

One Laptop Per Child Give One Get One 2008 – For $399 you get one XO laptop for yourself, and one is sent to a child in a developing nation. The keyboards are small, but they run Linux and have wireless NICs.

$19 Usability Testing –  This is awesome. For around $19 (you can add bonus money to get your tests completed faster), you get a 15-minute video of a real user going through your site or web app, and a written summary of their findings. I’ve used it on two projects and it has raised a slew of issues we had no idea people would have problems with. Definitely worth a look.

And finally, from Paul Graham’s essay Why to Start a Startup in a Bad Economy (emphasis added):

If we’ve learned one thing from funding so many startups, it’s that they succeed or fail based on the qualities of the founders. The economy has some effect, certainly, but as a predictor of success it’s a rounding error compared to the founders.

The Software Product Myth

Most developers start as salaried employees, slogging through code and loving it because they never imagined a job could be challenging, educational, and downright fun. Where else can you learn new things every day, play around with computers, and get paid for it? Aside from working at Best Buy.

A certain percentage of developers become unhappy with salaried development over time (typically it’s shortly after they’re asked to manage people, or maintain legacy code), and they dream of breaking out of the cube walls and running their own show. Some choose consulting, but many more inevitably decide to build a software product.

“After all,” they think “you code it up and sell it a thousand times – it’s like printing your own money! I build apps all the time, how hard could it be to launch a product?”

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I’m in a Book! Blog Blazers: 40 Top Bloggers Share Their Secrets

Blog Blazers is a book where “40 Top Bloggers Share Their Secrets to Creating a High-Profile, High-Traffic, and High-Profit Blog.” And amid the likes if Seth Godin, Eric Sink, Aaron Wall, and Jeff Atwood is yours truly (chapter 34).

It’s an easy book to pick up for a few minutes at a time since each chapter (comprising one interview) is only 5 or 6 pages. Many of the ideas presented are unique to this book, and I’ve been keeping a running list of changes I plan to implement on this blog.

The book hit the shelves last week. You can buy it from Amazon, or from the Blog Blazers website.