6th May 2008 by Jason C. Filed under: Business
I of course spend a lot of my time on a computer of one description or another, banging away at the keys, clicking and moving the mouse, and generally giving my wrists and fingers hell. This has proven to be an issue recently. I’ve started having pains across the back of my hands and in my wrists. Nothing major, but it’s a sign of potential problems to come.
I started thinking about why this was occurring. I have worked on computers for many years, and nothing of this type has happened before. I haven’t changed position even: I work at the same desk that I have for a long time. That could be part of the problem.
I did notice though that the left button on my mouse had started to resist more than before. I had to press harder to click. Even the slightest change in the force needed to click the left mouse button is enough to notice, because clicking the left button is something I do thousands of times a day.
I got in touch with Logitech, the makers of my mouse. They were absolutely amazing. It turns out that my mouse has a five year warranty on it, and so they would send out a replacement mouse for me. My old mouse was an MX500, and their suggested replacement was a G5 laser mouse. So, after a little exchange where I sent them a photo of my old mouse, they posted me out a new one.
Now THAT’s customer service for you. Next post: A new keyboard.
1st February 2008 by Jason C. Filed under: Business
Most of the time, the people I deal with are decent individuals who just want to work and get their jobs done. Some of them are more than that: inspiring, charismatic, that extra bit of pleasure to work with. Sure, sometimes the wants of the client and the web developer don’t exactly match up, but usually these hurdles are fairly low and easily stepped over.
Now though, I come to the exception. The kind of person who’s like oil to your water. Like banana to your cod and chips. I’ve very occasionally encountered this type, and have found that although decent, honest and all the rest of it, for some reason they grate, irritate, depress, and suck you into a sullen grey world.
The big question though, is when I come upon someone who has this effect on me, how do I deal with him? I can’t answer that right now. I’m torn, between being a professional, and just working around the personal difference, and being a human, and not wanting to fill my life with stress and confusion. Thankfully, having dealt with one such person in the past, I’m able to draw a conclusion. It’s just not worth the anguish. Regretfully, of course, because who knows, I could miss out on a wonderful experience, a good contact and future work. But the risk — the risk! — when every fibre is telling me misery lies round the corner, the risk is too great to take.
2nd December 2007 by Jason C. Filed under: Business
One of the attitudes I run into on my rounds of agencies and what not is the idea that the end client is somehow a pus-drinking parasite, or a worthless waste of skin. It’s not the top brass that has this attitude, but is more likely to be the technical people. Forgive me if you’re a ‘technical person’ – perhaps a programmer of some persuasion, or a system administrator or anything really – I don’t mean you all. I’ve just come across this attitude from time to time, and I think it’s objectionable.
I find it disagreeable on many levels. Firstly, to have that much contempt for another person who’s only crime is to (brace yourselves if you’re the sensitive type) ask you to do something shows a kind of mean-spiritedness that points to deep insecurity. Nextly, the whole point of having something you do as a profession is that you can do something that others cannot, whether it be attaching new brakes to a car, or writing SQL to pull some records out of a database. The reason you’re in the job is to get paid for knowledge you have that the client doesn’t. That the client is ignorant in your field of expertise is obvious. If he or she weren’t, you’d be unnecessary. So have a bit of respect. They pay your wages, and you don’t know everything there is to know.
8th June 2007 by Jason C. Filed under: Books, Business, Off-topic
I’m reading a great book at the moment. It’s called “Life’s a Pitch” and it’s – as you would expect – largely about pitching. What I love about this book though is that it’s not all about pitching. It’s about life too. About being passionate, taking risks, being charismatic, and building confidence.
It’s presented really nicely – I’ll stop now. I’ll wait until it’s finished and then I’ll review it. Do we have a deal?
Technorati: Books business off-topic
8th May 2007 by Jason C. Filed under: Business
“Lovely,” is what I thought when I saw Moo.com. Ok, so it’s just the website of a printing firm – and one that offers only two very restricted product lines. All that is fact, but it seems so much more than that. Have they cracked the secret of creating a great brand? It would seem so.
There offering consists of two products: mini cards (only 70mm x 28mm) and note cards (100mm x 100mm). I’m afraid all you history buffs will have to look up the corresponding inch count all by yourselves.
What’s the secret? Well, perhaps part of the secret is in the simplicity of the offering. They offer only the two lines at the moment. They plan to do more, I think, but I doubt they will stray too far from a small simple selection. Another part of the appeal is that unlike many printers, one simply buys the cards in packs of 100. No set-up costs, no extras other than the postage. That means that although the per-card price is not cheap, the price of a run is low at £9.99 ($19.99 US). Which makes it something people can play around with. The simplicity is carried on in the design of the card: one side is for text. You can choose from a very small selection of about ten colours, and put up to five lines of copy on there, with an icon if you choose.
The real magic though, and the bit I have been saving until last is the picture side of the card. On that side, you can put a photograph. But that’s not all: you can log into your Flickr account through the Moo site and select up to one hundred different photos to go on your cards! That’s right, you can have each of your one hundred cards display a different photo. Amazing.
I was dead keen, and coincidentally needed some business cards, so I got together some images I had taken during the previous year on holiday and out and about (Taipei, Mallorca, London zoo and Watford). Cropping them down to fit the cards is something you can do on the Moo site, but in this case I decided to do it myself, adding a white bar at the top where I put my logo. I uploaded them to Flickr and did the magic on Moo.
When they dropped through the letterbox, I was well pleased! They are small but perfectly formed, and have a nice matt laminated finish on them.
26th August 2006 by Jason C. Filed under: Business
It’s not rare that when trying to convert a client’s nice Photoshop picture of a website into a real website, the needs of the end user would be better served by altering the design. The trouble is, the design has already been completed, and clients generally seem uninterested with excuses as to why their pretty picture has not been duplicated verbatim. By this time, of course, it’s too late. The design has been done, and there is no chance that the client will revisit it for a reason he doesn’t really understand.
So I was encouraged to read in .net magazine an article about Saatchi and Saatchi’s re-design of the Royal Navy’s website. There’s a handy paragraph in there by Chris Walker that every client should read.
It’s important to design with accessibility in mind from the start: attempting to reverse-engineer accessibility requirements into an existing design can prove time-consuming and painful. After all, accessibility isn’t just a nice thing to have, it’s a legal requirement of the Disability Discrimination Act. It also makes your site much better overall, not just for people who may have physical difficulties in using the web. Natural search is improved by a standards-compliant site and, more often than not, accessible sites are much easier to navigate.
So clients, get those spectacles out.