Till The Dawn Rises Anew

Although the site is relatively new, over the next few weeks I won’t be posting as much as I have in it’s up-till-now lifetime. Sad I know, don’t cry … it’s okay.

Ahem. There are projects on the boil. Most of these are being worked on right now, and are taking my time. The biggest is of course my "paying me a salary" project. Which has precedence, and is rather large. The others are smaller, but have a more immediate relationship with Dev Dawn. One, in particular, will be rearing it’s head here in an Alpha, or Beta. I’m not exactly sure about where to break those things up in functionality terms. When does it move across from one to the other. That sort of thing.

That’s all for now.

Dev Shout :: TADSpot

In the first Dev Shout, I’m going to give a big greet to TADSpot.

First things … this is one of the funniest posts I’ve ever seen. Today’s Google Rumor.


Classic stuff.

Anyway … TADSpot has a great design. And when I say great, I mean it’s the kind of site that looks different, and then grows and grows on you. I’m now at the stage of considering a total Borg assimilation because I’m getting sick of the boring Dev Dawn theme.

But … it’s not just the visual appeal. The TAD Man posts are intelligent, insightful, and off-beat enough to start the thought processes flowing. Because that’s what we need. Not just towing the line … not just being a news aggregator, but pushing further.

TADSpot is this, and much more. Go visit now.

How Do You Solve Problems?

The Problem Solving ability. Some people are born with it. Others, like myself, learn it over time. For me, it’s a never-ending quest.

When faced with a problem, which might be big or small, it is the ability to break this problem down to the base elements, and then address them.

One of the disciplines needed when solving problems, is that of ‘Test Everything’. Don’t believe what people tell you. Listen, then work it out for yourself. Just because people say it, doesn’t mean that’s the case.

I’m prone to just believing. It’s easier, and you "get along" better when you just nod your head. I do it WAY too much. Sometimes it’s appropriate, when it’s better to actually forge a relationship than the other. BUT … when solving a problem, and I’m specifically thinking about this in terms of a group of people sitting around a table trying to nut out an issue, the Test Before Belief approach is far better for actually getting to the heart of the problem.

Imagine a company who’s IT department has gone through a number of management phases, each of which add their own little unique segments to whatever hardware/software runs the company. Most of the time, these aren’t actually documented. Nothing is ever done about planning the architecture, and if any planning occurs, it’s usually short-sighted.

Then everything goes down … because there is no disparate architecture, the diagnostics are up the creek. How do we tell what element is screwing up when everything is lumped together? It’s a common problem no doubt, and to a greater or smaller extent, everyone in IT will come across in their lifetime.

So how do you approach the problem? Jump in, lightsaber flashing, beating down any and every-thing in an attempt to fix the issue … this might have a certain attraction, especially considering that you will get a reaction. But it doesn’t actually solve the problem. If you restart the servers, the problem might go away for ten minutes, only to regroup and return with greater force than before (excuse the war analogy :)).

The best approach I’ve seen, working with some great minds, is that of the Listen,Test Before Belief, and Break Down To Basics.

  1. Listen to what the people who deal with the problem are saying. If it’s yourself, clean up your thoughts, write down something, get it ordered.

    While you’re listening, think about what is being said (or not said) behind their words. And think about the problem … are they actually addressing it? Maybe … maybe not.

    If they’re missing the point, guide them towards it. Ask another question, more pointed towards the actual reason. The questions you ask can be as important as finding the problem. With well-formed questions, you can diagnose the problem with much greater efficiency, and others learn in the process.

  2. Don’t believe something just because someone says it.

    It doesn’t matter if the person talking has the smartest brain in the history of humanity, test before belief. It’s not a personal affront to someone’s ego, although it will be taken that way. It’s the ability to see beyond. That if you make assumptions based on people’s words, then you miss the point. The most efficient way is straight.

    There are a lot of things happening when people talk. A lot of different emphases placed on their words. Different aspects directing their talk. If I’m worried about my job, then that will become part of the conversation. I’ll be defensive and make sure what I say covers my behind. I’ve fallen into this many times. You’re worried because you feel that you haven’t been accomplishing as much as you could, and so it’s the first thing that jumps into your mind when someone is talking to you.

    It could be any other reason. Bias is just a part of life … we have to deal with it.

    It took me a long time to deal with, and I still haven’t got it right. On the receiving and the dealing sides.

    So … the third.

  3. Breaking down to basics.

    This is where we end up. Instead of getting caught up in the small issues, instead of jumping in without thought, instead of starting a row by treading on someone’s feet while telling them it doesn’t hurt … you get to the heart of the issue. Which can be a few things.

    Break the problem down. How? By asking the right questions, by thinking as they talk, by listening to the answers, the said and unsaid. Don’t get offended if you are the person giving the answer and you get shot down a little … turn your mind to the problem, and break it down yourself.

    Why is it happening? How can I verify that it’s happening. Which part of the system is giving the problem? Hardware/Software/Both? Can I replicate on demand the issue.

    This last is important. If you get into a corner, where nothing seems to work, then create a clean testbed and make the problem happen.

    It all leads to being able to break the problem down into basics, and then deal with them each.

    Much easier.

And there are great side-effects from tackling problems this way. You actually gain direction. Working through a problem also works other things out in your mind. You might come out with the next 6 months planned, and with future ideas. You will want to put into place methods/systems to ensure this doesn’t happen again, and if it does, your diagnostics will be equal to the task.

It’s such an important part of Development (and every other facet of life).

Listen, Test Before Belief, and Break Down To Basics.

Thaks for the time.

Are You A Sheep? Cause Google Is The Shepherd

I’m a sheep. Baaa Baah. I’m easy to please, and not so smart that I don’t get excited about the "cool new things" that people like Google give to me.

So I’m wondering, directly after typing out my last post, about the effects of Google being the Shepherd. What risks are there, if any? And what about the future? What is it exactly that Google is trying to do? Just become a big Entrepreneur, a Capitalist Giant (man I love Answers.com), or is it something more?

I think it’s more. Bigger than Ben Hur.

Now I’m partial to a bit of conspiracy. Or rather, the fantastical. I reckon that Nessie is alive and big. I love to imagine that Dinosaurs still walk this planet.


What I’m not gonna say is that Google is out to get control over the entire world. It’s plan lies in a different direction. A vision I think, of Information.

That’s not to say that this won’t be used for nefarious activities. I’m sure it will. But Google, in my mind, is trying to achieve a Tower of Babel in the Online world.

Whoah. That came out of nowhere. Maybe that does change things.

Anyway … if you strike the Babel idea … hmmm, I can’t get that image out of my head.

Blah. Now I can’t remember my point. Stupid imagination.

If Google is trying to bring together a massive fount of Information (which it already has), and mould that into a hundred and one different services to the Interweb, then how does that impact us?

Depends on which part of us you are. If you’re Bill and his mates, then you’re a little worried, and have begun the re-envisioning of a the once monolithic company, towards the new exciting technologies.

If you are like me, a blogger with visions of glory, then I think we can get the benefits of what they provide without worrying too much about the global scale. After all, I don’t mind a bit of a battle in the upper heavens over who is pushing out more new cool stuff.

So I guess, we’ll wait and see. The blogosphere will remain vigilant for news, and will be most excellent at thinking through the issues. That’s one of the great strengths of the blogging world. Maybe each of us hasn’t got a super-brain able to calculate the billions of computations necessary to pull all the different threads together, but there are a million and more blog-brains out here who can think through at least a few threads, and if you put all these together.

Thanks for reading, and reading … and reading.

Base, Analytics and Joomla

Okay, so by now everyone has heard that … Google Base is live. It’s gonna rock the world … most probably.


It’s rather sparse at the moment, well … comparitively against a normal Google search, ha, but that’ll change quickly. Google is a trusted name/brand. I’d say they’ll have plans in motion to implement all kinds of goodies over the next few months within the Base functionality.

Google Analytics, after a bit of a shaky start, seems to have righted itself. I’m getting some stats, although as Tad (spot) reported, it ain’t all there yet. They are seriously making their way into many different segments of the ‘Net. And it doesn’t matter if initially their product doesn’t do all that the others do … they’re Google, and the masses will use them. Me being one of the ‘Masses’.

Anyway, have been spending a little of my time with Joomla lately. My brain is having trouble wrapping itself around the actual management of content. Don’t laugh … it’s true. But just doing the simple things is making things clearer. It (and Mambo, it’s forefather) seems to be a very powerful content management system. I like the large support base, lots of helpful hints lying around the net.

Lastly, I’ve just purchased Snag It, screen capture (amongst other things) software. It’s simple, and powerful. Just the kind of functionality I like. Kudos to you Snag It peeps. It’s gonna be very handy for getting images into blog entries, and other things.

Images. Blog. Yeah.

Pimp Your Site #1

On the weekend, we had the pleasure of watching Pimp My Ride. Man alive, it was a blast. Haven’t had such a good laugh in a long time. Some of the stuff they do to those cars … Wish I could have a satellite on the top of my vehicle.

Anyway, onto the actual body of this post.

It’s been a long road (well, 2.5 weeks now), since I got properly into blogging. Since I signed up for Google Adsense. Since I started pimping Dev Dawn in any way I could find out about (see Paul’s Article that got me really started).

What’s the deal with AdSense? After a few days, I’d made about 3 dollhairs (i mean, dollars … heh heh, funny David Spade quote).

Now, I know this is a new blog, and that it takes time, probably a year or more, to get anywhere. I’m cool with that. But it got me thinking.

Making money from ads is more than just attracting people to your site. Web Traffic is a different beast, although related. Just because you get a thousand/million hits a day, doesn’t mean you’ve got the best site for making money from ads.

If you were getting a million hits a day, then I guess the percentage of people who were hitting the ads would mean you’d make a fair amount of money anyway. That’s not a problem … although still, most of us don’t get that many hits in a day. Or a month. Or a year.

To maximise your ad revenue potential, I’d say you need to not only attract traffic, but have the site content that puts people in the frame of mind that will make them click on ads.

Dev Dawn isn’t one of those sites. It’s a site about Ideas, Development, the sharing of Information.

Have a look at the top three Technology BogTopSites sites right now. Elliot Back, Digital Camera Reviews, and no1 at the moment, Forever Geek.

It’d be interesting to see their advertising stats. Each of these sites showcases products, interesting things. If I’m browsing the Digital Camera Reviews site, I’m gonna be looking for a camera, or I’m going to be seeing what’s the best. If I see an ad that gives me a great deal on a piece of equipment I need, then because I’m already looking at a site that’s about reviewing products, then I’m going to be in a "buy this" frame of mind.

This stands for every possible niche I guess.

In fact, you could take this and develop the idea further. If you can, in some way, get the reader into the correct frame of mind, you maximise the potential for ad clicking.

This post has gotten frayed at the end. My ideas aren’t as concrete as they were when I started. Will require more thinking, but the beginning is there.

Pimping sites is still a new frontier. I’m sure we’ll be discovering exciting methods for quite some time.

Thanks for reading.

Blog Software Smackdown

Site Point has an article up titled Blog Software Smackdown. It’s a pretty cool look at "the big 3". One of which is WordPress, the wonderful engine that runs this blog. So props up to WordPress. It’s an awesome tool, easy to use, and here’s to many years of pushing the blog envelope.

Simple news post.