Category Archives: Uncategorized

Off The Beaten Path – A Personal Post

Today was just a crazy day. In many ways it didn’t start normal – I was up late, so my wife let me sleep in a bit. I got up, tried to motivate and couldn’t. Phone company came out and dropped a new temporary line to my house. Wife went to work. My mom called, I forgot her birthday yesterday – which just does not happen.

About 30 minutes after my wife left for work, I was chatting with her sister and she pointed out that schools were on lock-down due to armed suspect. Hmmm…time to check the news. Imagine my horror when I find out the main search area was in an area right behind (seriously, right behind) my wife’s place of employment. Crap. I try calling my wife’s cell. No answer. Call her work number. No answer. Call cell again. No answer. Call work number again. No answer. Frantic, panic setting in. My phone rings. Whew it was my wife. She was okay, and didn’t even know anything was going on – so I tell her to stay in the building and keep a lookout.

My school advisor calls me. He still insists, that even though they put me in the wrong program, I have to take the classes all the same at the expense of another 2-3 yrs of school and over $15,000 extra cost. I don’t think so. I explain finals are due Sunday, he has until then to get me back in the program I signed up for or I will be quitting and going to a different college.

Call my wife again to check in on her. She is still ok. Call my mom, let her know what is going on, otherwise when she see’s it on her news she will freak. Or call and yell at me for not telling her about it.

Good. Check news….they found suspect, shot and killed him 4 blocks away from a friend, a really good friend who is a mechanic and is currently working on my vehicle. I place a call to him. No answer. He calls back, and I verify that they are all okay, and they are. Whew….good.

Call my wife again, let her know they found the guy. Mechanic calls, our van is done -yay!

On the way to pick up the van, I am driving the car we just got for our kids last week…..just driving it with my step-son in the passenger seat. I wanted to drive just to make sure the car was working okay – I only drove it once before we bought it. 1/2 block away from mechanic’s shop, on the bridge 4 blocks north of where the police shot the suspect a “gawker” slams into me. I was in the inside lane as was she, and she was “gawking” at the police scene, crossed the yellow line and took the mirror clean off the car.

Worst part? She didn’t slow down, let alone stop. So I chased her down, and ripped her a new one and we went from there.

Whew – that’s a day in and of itself. I am emotionally spent now, physically spent and mentally spent. I have tons of work to do, but will probably not do much tonight – unwind, be grateful and sleep.

Is It All About Community?

In two different articles today on ChannelWeb, there are two completely different stories. Both are about Giants, both are about tech companies. One has made communities the other has alienated communities. Is it all about community? If you believe that the web and Internet are empowering social media, interaction and community at businesses, around businesses and within businesses, then yes, it is just that simple – it’s all about community.

In an article by Rick Whiting over on ChannelWeb it is noted that Microsoft is cutting 5000 jobs over the next 18 months, and that sales grew merely 2% in the year-over-year report, with earnings down 11%. It is not difficult to understand why – Vista was merely not adopted as was hoped, and the XP deadline was extended a time or two to meet demand through OEM and VAR channels. The other thing of note, is Microsoft is involved in media (Zune), Gaming and Enterprise. Enterprise and gaming, according to the article, had better individual increases, but it obviously was not enough to avoid cuts.

Meanwhile, Apple is reported to have had a stellar quarter, in an article by Kevin McLaughlin on ChannelWeb. Apple had iPhone sales up 88% over the past year, Mac sales up 9% and iPod sales up 3%. Earnings were higher than expected and even amidst rumors mentioned in the article of Steve Jobs’ health. There were no mentions of cut-back at Apple.

I think, and this is my opinion until I can maybe run some polls and do research, the biggest difference in the two is centered around community. One look at the two companies and the communities around them is easy to see – Microsoft is notorious for alienation, a fact that anyone in the tech industry know. Closed source, closed doors, closed minds in my view. Apple, on the other hand, embraces communities, embraces customers and feedback and strives to make a better product aimed at what their communities desire and need, rather than what Apple feels like providing to their communities. Imagine this – Microsoft has said Vista is the most secure and reliable Windows yet and still adaptation is slow due to poor track record. Microsoft has said Vista gives users more of what they want….but with the steep cost, poor performance and other features did they really give consumers what they want?

Who has the better community? I think it is easy to tell from recent earnings, recent trends and especially looking at social and new media which one is winning with a better community.

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Web Development & Design Portfolio

Billy J. Nab's Portfolio

Billy J. Nab's Portfolio

The new web design and development portfolio has been launched, and is now available. New samples and references will be added over the coming weeks, so keep checking back for updates to it! It currently highlights the past three years of experience, being the most relevant. It will begin to feature more graphic design samples and much more programming examples as I prepare them and add to them. Having nearly 8 years worth of code to sift through and find relevant and still viable samples for today’s web has been a challenge, but one I have been meeting head on.

You can find it here: Billy J. Nab’s Portfolio

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First Post of 2009

Today was a very good day, very laid back and relaxed. I slept in a bit compared to normal, and then my wife and I spent several hours just talking – something we have definitely gotten better at over the past year. We discussed many things, and among those were several that may have a huge impact on our lives in 2009.

About two years ago I got an idea for a new venture, but with long work hours, school, family and church I just didn’t have the time to truly pursue it as I would have liked. That was one of the main topics of conversation between us today, and let me just say I have been given the green light to work on the venture at this time. It is a large endeavor that could change the outlook not only of our lives, but of many other lives as well.

I cannot really give out too much, because as it is well known in the Internet age, publish an idea and someone will snatch it, pay a freelancer to code it and be done with it before you are even out of the planning stages. Now what that brings many times is poor code and applications, but if the idea catches on, then there are duplicates on every other web address it would seem. Eventually someone will get it right, then everything else similar is just copy-cat syndrome.

We also discussed several other ventures I have in the works – all basically because I am still looking for steady employment to meet immediate cash needs (hey, we all have bills to pay, right?) but looking at the long haul and larger picture my wife is very confident that things are in the right time and place for these ideas and ventures to be put to the test and see if they come to fruition.

So for 2009 a few goals are (and this is merely the tip of the iceberg so to speak):

  1. Blog More
  2. Create a custom theme for this blog
  3. Expand reach into blogosphere
  4. Start 2 ventures
  5. Enjoy what I do

I will revisit this more and give updates, add to the list and remove from the list as necessary.

Happy 2009!!!

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A Year In Reflection

Well, today marks the end of 2008 here in my part of the world, and looking back I re-read a post from January 1, 2008 – quoted below with inserts as to how I did.

As I sit here, having just stepped outside to see the revelry around my neighborhood of the ringing (or exploding) in of the New Year, I find myself seeking several things this year:

1. Write More Blog Posts, More Frequently – I did post more frequently, but still not enough
2. Expand My Knowledge in Ajax, PHP and Web2.0 Design – This is on-going, but I gained much in the PHP area, a bit in Ajax and sharpened some of my visual design skills as well
3. Enhance My Blog with a custom layout – This one did not happen, still using free themes
4. Generate more readership – This one did happen, though not as much as I would have liked, but that’s related to number 1
5. Become more active in the blogosphere – I started to do this late in the year and am experiencing some benefits to it now, but still growing.

While not lofty goals, they are all things I had wished to do in 2007, but unforseen complications mandated a different direction – thus is the blogger life (okay, the casual blogger life). It is funny, I keep up on several blogs, many of which are operated full time, and I think to myself how can I create more space in my alloted time each day/week/month to blog more.

The first item is to create a schedule for my time and try to stick to it, albeit allowing for variances as necessary. Reading these blogs also prompts me to think of a new section, one devoted to the “Casual Blogger” rather than the full-time blogger. There are several items I would like to examine in this area, of course time permitting as I have several half-finished tutorials to get posted straight away this year.

Well, anyways – Happy New Year if you celebrate it at this time of year, and good wishes on successful blogging, successful web design and stressful life in general this year.

Having a post like this was helpful, but I did not refer back to it near enough to truly succeed at the few goals I had listed, though in all but one there was growth. The growth was not as expected, but I know the factors that made it so, and I know how to control those factors now. You see in any given situation we either let the situation control us, or we control it. Yes, yes I know there are those situations that we cannot exert control over, and with life there will always be exceptions.

This year has seen many changes in my life, some good and some not so good. In April I was fortunate enough to buy my first Harley-Davidson motorcycle, in July we bought my wife her first horse and in August we closed on our first house. In that time I learned I can ride a motorcycle better than a horse, mainly because the motorcycle doesn’t have an attitude like the horse does. I also learned that once you let the horse know who is boss, they will still try to control the situation. I also learned that buying a house is a long and grueling process, especially when you are trying to find one that will fit 2 adults, 5 children, 3 cats, 2 dogs, 2 fish and a horse that is within your budget.

I was also reminded, several times, of just how it is in the world I live in. People will lie through their teeth and make you look like a complete moron. They will lie through their teeth just to protect their own self, no matter the cost to you. People will lie through their teeth just to make sure they are the ones, at the end of the day, that are smiling, not you. These people are people that sometimes you consider friends, yet what kind of friends are they in the end? They are not. I also was reminded that even though you try to do the right thing, sometimes you will fail and it never fails that those failures will be thrown at you in your face every chance someone else gets, just to make the feel better when they look at themselves in the mirror every morning.

I also found out what it is like to lose two jobs within months of each other, neither of them my fault. Two weeks after closing on our house, I found myself walking out of one my ex-employer’s building having been cursed at and told rather nasty things. Some people thrive off treating others like dirt, another lesson I was reminded of. The countless hours I lost with my family, getting kicked out of school because I did not have the time to attend class due to long working hours made me realize that sometimes some people just aren’t happy, no matter what sacrifices you make for them, and in the end they treat you like dirt, spit in your face and expect you to suck-it up, work harder and still smile while you are there. The funny thing with that is, even when they break the law, they expect that from you and expect you to follow the rules and threaten you with your job if you falter one step.

The next job was ended due to the funny thing that every top government official wanted to say was not happening for the longest time, the “recession”. It’s funny that they can keep denying things so long, until the markets of the world are trashed, and then finally say it has happened, and will only get worse before it gets better. To that I have to ask, just like I have to ask the CEO’s of the “bailout” companies that take home more in a month than the majority of Americans will in a lifetime: What makes you so special to vote yourself a raise when congress starts up again each year? To the CEO’s I have this to ask: In what world can your company lose millions, sometimes billions, you layoff 25% of your workforce and yet you still expect well over $10,000,000 a year salary, benefits and perks of private jets, limousines and personal assistants?

I say 2009 should be earmarked the year the worker takes back what is his/hers. Why should we be put into dangerous situations, be put down, be cursed and yelled at, and be paid nothing what the market rate is for our time, our services and value we bring to your company? That is what I learned this year, is the value of an employee is nothing, as all employees are expendable, replaceable or weren’t needed in the first place.

Late in the year I started networking more, with some larger names in the industry. Once again I was reminded how doing things sometimes just doesn’t work out. Case in point, I wrote a decent review for a well known blog, operated by an even more well known blogger. Suffice it to say, other persons that provided such reviews, or articles were at least credited for their work, and many times linked to. My work was not credited in any way shape or form, and I didn’t think to ask for it to be credited until after I read the post and I guess that was too late. I expected this upstanding, well-favored person to, I dunno, automatically attribute properly work that was not his, and in the end it just didn’t work out. So no extra exposure for yet another little guy in the blogosphere, and yet again someone using what was not theirs to enhance their life. Sometimes you just don’t know about people, but all you can do is hope for the best, which is what I did, and still do.

I also found out what it is like to experience the grace and goodness of people. After losing the second job, we had the support of many family and friends, some friends that we don’t even know about. They helped my family have an enjoyable Christmas, as well as helped us keep our house. To these blessed souls, they make me realize that none of the rest of it matters, because as long as there is one person out there that cares enough to do the right thing, the light will always be on, and someone will always be home to welcome you in. Without people like this in the world, it would truly be a nightmare to try and survive, it would be the epitome of the worst horror fiction novel ever wrote, but would be our daily life. There are some that I have no clue who they are, how they know myself or my family, but they helped in anyway they could – and it has made a world of difference in our lives.

This year has seen a lot of changes here on this blog as well, with intermittent errors starting just after the new year started back in January. After 11 1/2 months of fighting with the server, which was old and needing replaced, I finally got my new server up and online. It has been runny steady for several weeks, and in that time I have been able to post quite a bit and enjoy having physical access to the server when I need it, since it is no longer a 4 hour drive to the co-lo facility. I have a new theme this past month, some more items on the back-end and have been striving to post more frequently, since obviously I have time to while I still look for employment.

I hope your year has been good to you, and if not I hope you can find the good in it, and in the people around you. Don’t hold a grudge, as that does nothing but drag you down – trust me from experience on that one. While I vent about what happened to me with the jobs, article and all of that, remember these are experiences that make us stronger, they make us wiser and in the end may make us just the person we need to be to succeed at our next task.

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