Iraq Pullout in ’08?

I want our troops home as much as the next guy. If the Democrats have their way, they might be returning home sooner than any of us could have imagined. (Democrats Rally Behind a Pullout From Iraq in ’08)

Honestly though, is this really a smart thing to do? Might we consider that this will embolden the Iraqi insurgents even further, by acknowledging our defeat? We really ought to think this through. This could potentially put more troops lives at risk in the interim, if this course of action is chosen.

Daylight Savings

Daylight Savings Time 2007 In case you missed it, this weekend your clock will be springing forward an hour. DST will occur earlier that usual this year, due to a law passed by Congress called the Energy Policy Act of 2005. From this point forward, DST will begin on the second Sunday of March at 2:00am, and will end on the first Sunday of November at 2:00am.

“Consider any calendar items in the extended DST period to be suspect. If you are not sure, verify the correct time with the organizer” – Microsoft

This year, the DST switch is going to cause some potential software problems you need to be aware about. If you use an application that is date-dependent, such as Outlook, check with the manufacturer to see if an update exists for the program. In most cases, DST information is hard-coded into the application. Translation: your software app and/or operating system might not update DST until the first Sunday in April and the last Sunday in October based on the previous DST schedule that was in placed 1987 through 2006.

Here are some tips I received from a colleague:

Here are a few steps which you as an Outlook user should take to assure that your information is accurate:

  1. First, check to make sure your calendar events are right. (look at the time in “calendar view” and compare it to the time once you’ve opened it. Just chose some at random and make sure you check a couple of reoccurring events.)
  2. Print your calendar to refer to after the change.
  3. IT will be installing a program and changing the DST pattern tomorrow.
  4. After DST begins, compare your printed calendar to your digital calendar.
  5. Do it again in 3 weeks to make sure your events have not changed when DST used to begin.

For more information, please check out, this article: “Prepare Outlook calendar items for daylight saving time changes in 2007” on the Microsoft Office website. Information in the article applies to Outlook 2007, Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2002.

Permalinks

Permalinks on the site have been updated, thanks to this great tutorial and this ISAPI Filter from Dean Lee. The old link structures: http://cdharrison.com/index.php/%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/%postname%/ and http://cdharrison.com/index.php/%page%/ will still continue to function. (Amen!) But now, the index.php is no longer required in the URL. This has been one of the things that I have absolutely hated about my install of Wordpress, and now, it’s a thing of the past.

Now I need to figure out why notifications aren’t being sent from my server…

W3C Relaunches HTML Activity

Wow… this was one of the geekier things I read today… but it’s important to those of that work on the web. There’s news from the W3C that work on HTML is going to be relaunched…

Recognizing the importance of an open forum for the development of the predominant Web content technology, W3C today invites browser vendors, application developers, and content designers to help design the next version of HTML by participating in the new W3C HTML Working Group. Based on significant input from the design and developer communities within and outside the W3C Membership, W3C has chartered the group to conduct its work in public and to solicit broad participation from W3C Members and non-Members alike.

“HTML started simply, with structured markup, no licensing requirements, and the ability to link to anything. More than anything, this simplicity and openness has led to its tremendous and continued success,” explained Tim Berners-Lee, W3C director and inventor of HTML. “It’s time to revisit the standard and see what we can do to meet the current community needs, and to do so effectively with commitments from browser manufacturers in a visible and open way.”

Read the Full Release

This is pretty big news… The impact of this work won’t be felt, potentially, for years… perhaps a decade or more from now… I’m not sure if this announcement means that the W3C will officially start working on a HTML 5.0 Spec or not. Only time will tell. XHTML is not going away, and it will continue to evolve as well. I’m sort of baffleded at the reasoning behind the move to develop HTML further:

But due to the significant legacy of Web content that is some variant of HTML, traditional browser vendors moved slowly to adopt XHTML. This, in turn, has meant little motivation for content developers to adopt XHTML for the traditional desktop environment. Leaders in the Web developer and design communities therefore urged W3C to renew its commitment to HTML by adding new features (starting with the HTML 4 standard) in a manner that is consistent with community practice and backward compatible.

Considering how data-oriented the web is becoming, does it make sense to improve a standard that was improved upon by XHTML? I understand that browser manufacturers are hesitant to adopt more progressive specifications, but I don’t understand how further developing the HTML Spec is going to change anything. If they’re hesitant to support XHTML, what good does revising and updating the HTML Spec going to accomplish? Additional tags and attributes in HTML are going to require people to tweak their code if they want to take advantage of them. So what’s the point?

Legacy HTML is going to exist on the web for ages to come. This fact should not stop Mozilla, Microsoft, Opera, Apple, etc. from continuing to push forward on supporting XHTML. We need to keep taking steps forward, and to me, this seems like a huge step back.

Thanks, JD, for pointing this out.

Organic Workspace

The ever-evolving, ever-changing PowerServe Creative department

One of the running jokes here at PowerServe, is that I can’t keep my desk the same way for more than a few weeks. But it’s true. For as long as I can remember I’ve made it a point to change up my workspace at least once a month. I try to think of my workspace as being an organic, evolving environment… The subtle changes that I make to my workspace are really exercises in discovering configurations that work best for me. Some configurations stick. Others don’t. Sometimes people notice the change, most of the time they don’t. What does matter is that I notice. Having a desk that is constantly changing, constantly evolving to fit my work-style and my work environment helps me to stay better focused on the tasks at hand…

My ever-evolving workspace.In the creative department, we’ve taken this idea a step further by decorating the walls with posters each of us enjoy. I’ve got several Clerks: The Animated Series posters up, a Spider-man poster and a Superman poster. I’ve also got tons of action figures and toys at my desk. From the ceiling, I’ve got a 12in Superman hanging, along with a Naboo Fighter and an American flag… Patrick‘s got movie posters and a Misfits flag hanging on his walls. A huge British flag is hanging from the ceiling in front of his desk. Don‘s got a few Mental Soup posters, a Star Trek Nemesis poster and a U2 poster on his walls. He’s got a few toys here and there… and a Led Zepplin flag hanging on a bookshelf… Josh is probably the minimalist of us all… he’s got two posters up… one he made, and another of a Triumph motorcycle…

Regardless of whether we have a lot around our desks, or just a little… we’re encouraged to make our workspaces environment’s we’re comfortable in.

Give it a try sometime… Don’t settle for how your workspace currently is, unless you’re really happy with it. Try configuring your desk differently… have it point in a different direction. If you’re facing a wall, move things around so you’re facing the center of the room… Hang some artwork on the walls… Do something different! You might be surprised at the results.

Trackback Spam

I love Akismet, Spam Karma 2 and Bad Behavior. In fact, I probably wouldn’t allow comments at all if I didn’t have those plugins installed. Spam’s become a thing of the past, and I’ve been able to keep the discussion fairly open as of late.

Trackback spam is getting on my nerves, though. I’ve had several links made to my site from what looks to be some sort of Wordpress feed aggregation tool… The sites copy all of the content from particular posts and/or a small excerpt from the post and then link back to my site. Seems harmless, right? It would be if the sites in question were legitimate. The problem is: they’re nothing but Splogs (Spam Blogs).

If a site trackbacks/pings a post on my site, I check it out. I monitor incoming links through MeasureMap, Google Analytics, and by watching Technorati. If you’re not reviewing who’s linking to your site, I recommend you make it a habit.

There are Wordpress plugins that deal with trackback spam, but from what I’ve seen they mainly just check to see whether or not a link to your site is present on the offending page… If it is, the link makes it through; if not, the link gets denied.

Spammers are attempting to use trackbacks as a means to 1) drive traffic to their sites; and 2) improve their PageRank by having links appear on established sites with decent PageRank scores. That’s why it’s imperative that you delete the inbound links as quickly as possible to make sure they don’t benefit from a link on your site.

Hosting Options

I’m currently hosting my site on a company server. It’s been great so far, and I have lots of flexibility with what I can do with my site because of where it is situated, but I’m getting to the point where I may have outgrown our servers. Traffic spikes are a major concern for many site owners these days… If content gets dugg, it could easily bring a site down. I won’t say that a lot of my content is compelling, but there have been a few things I’ve posted recently that I’ve had to explicitly ask for it not to be submitted to digg.com. The reason? I don’t want the server I have my site on to be overwhelmed or any of our client sites to be effected by a sudden surge in traffic.

So, I’m going to start shopping around for a new host. I’ve been looking into MediaTemple and DreamHost, but I wanted to see where I could get the most bang for my buck. Where are you currently hosting your site at? What features do you like about your current host? Why would you recommend them over someone else?

Critical Wordpress Update

I’ve been using Wordpress for a while now, and this is the first time I’ve heard of a critical Wordpress exploit… I just upgraded to 2.1.2 and I recommend you read the articles below and upgrade immediately!

Long story short: If you downloaded WordPress 2.1.1 within the past 3-4 days, your files may include a security exploit that was added by a cracker, and you should upgrade all of your files to 2.1.2 immediately.

FreshBooks adds Basecamp Integration

I was just thinking last night that it’s been a while since I last posted something about Basecamp… This June will mark our second full year of using the online management tool, and it’s incredible to think about indispensible it’s become in our day-to-day operations. (That’s a topic for another day, though.) But I digress…

FreshBooks just announced that they’ve added Basecamp Integration into their popular online invoicing and time tracking service.

Introducing Basecamp With Your FreshBooks

Today, FreshBooks is pleased to annouce our integration with 37signals’ Basecamp project management service. You can now invoice your Basecamp projects using FreshBooks. The truth is, you can do a fair bit more than that. [..] This integration does *not* cover every possible workflow scenario. We have had to make a lot of tough choices in designing our integration. To make decisions we said to ourselves, “What do most people need?”

I have been using Blinksale for what limited personal invoicing I do right now, and it’s had Basecamp integration since November ’06. But, it’s been a little while since I gave FreshBooks a spin – the addition of Basecamp support might be enough to get me to try it out again.