04 PM | 30 Jun

Argh!

I know it’s the title, but I have to say it again:

Argh!

I’m not sure why, but this morning for some reason I wanted to take a look at the shopping cart attached to my Netpalouse web site.  And it was all hosed up.  Everything was there, but it was all jumbled up.  I didn’t try to run a transaction through it, but I don’t think I could have.  It was a complete mess!

First thing I did was to upgrade the software – it was down just a few minor levels.  But that made no difference at all.  And then I realized that in the middle of March this year, I upgraded the hosting account on that server.  When I did that, I disconnected the SSL certificate (that makes the https:// tag work).  So my shopping cart has been broken for over 3 and a half months!!!  Argh!!!

I know I don’t have many customers that use that shopping cart, but I can’t believe that no one told me it was broken!  I do work hard to give my customers different options for paying me.  Most people just mail me a check (I love checks!), but I also include a few different links for online credit card payments.  And my shopping cart…

logoMy excuse (ALWAYS need an excuse) for leaving the cart in that shape is that I’ve been a little bit busy all year.  I mean, busy is a good thing.  But it makes for a lousy excuse!

The quick fix was to replace the https:// link with a regular http:// link. (Needless to say, that fixed my problem…)  Long term, I need to put the SSL certificate back in place for this web site and set that link again.  Really long term solution is to convince my wonderful customers to let me know when my stuff doesn’t work!

Here I advertise my business using the phrase “no broken links, no poorly edited pages, no sloppy presentations” – and look at what I do!  One final argh……..

02 PM | 19 May

Help

I recently added a Help page to Netpalouse.  I don’t really know if it gets used, but it does me a lot of good.  It’s nice to be able to just send a hyperlink to a customer when they ask a question.  I’ve done that several times lately.

When I changed my hosting provider to BlueHost, I spent time collecting help documentation for their email service.  They don’t charge for email, so I thought it would get used a lot more.  It hasn’t, but I’ve still had several people ask me how to access their new email.  It’s very nice to be able to just email them a link to my Help page.  Much better than having to repeat myself to every customer that calls…

If you’re curious, just click on the image below.  (Like I said, FREE email for customers!)  The link on this page that I’ve been talking about is “BlueHost Email Access”.

help So what I’m struggling with today is whether or not I want to add Video help to my Help page.  I’m reading a lot lately that says the impact of video adds serious weight to a website.  I downloaded some software that is perfect for that purpose.  I like it because it’ll let me capture a screen video with ONLY my voice over.  Keep my ugly puss out of the picture completely!

As I said, I don’t know if people are using my Help page or not.  But if you have an opinion one way or the other regarding Video help, add a Comment to this post (below).  Especially if you have a particular Help subject you’d like to see me cover.  C’mon!  Help me out here!

05 PM | 12 Apr

Time

Seems like a lot of my friends recently have been focusing on the past.  Facebook stories and photos that go back to the ’60’s or thereabouts.  I’m not usually part of those stories, but that doesn’t keep me from enjoying them.  Even if I don’t really understand them…

I was around during the ’60’s, don’t get me wrong.  (Born in ’51 I was.)  I probably even have some stories I could dredge up from that time that some of you might find kind of interesting.  But why?puremodern-kitchen-clock-mI do understand that my past is what made me into what I am today.  But what I am today is what’s going to make me into what I become tomorrow.  Hopefully, that explains why I seem to focus more on today and tomorrow and the day beyond that.  I’ve been that way for as long as I can remember, and I don’t see it changing any time soon…

Maybe the future is what gets me out of bed so early every morning.  Maybe the future is why I love being busy, and why work is so much fun.  I’m lucky that my retirement is so very full of work and being busy and looking forward to the next project coming up.  And I consider myself lucky that my future holds so very much to look forward to.

Time is on my side, and I’m one lucky guy!

04 AM | 27 Feb

Potentiality

Today I posted this Tweet: “busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy!”  I like being busy, so this is a good thing.  The trouble is, the busier I get, the more things I find to complain about.  So here goes…

I get a lot of contacts from people who are interested in my business.  People who think they need a new website, but they have questions about the process.  What kind of sites do I build, what do I need to get started, how much do I charge, and on and on and on.  Even though I have spent hours documenting that on my Netpalouse website, they still send me those questions.

This is a good thing too.  I love that people hear about me from a friend, or find me on the web, or read about me in a local newspaper.  I encourage that whenever I can.  I always respond gratefully to these folks, and I send them whatever information I can.  Most of my jobs come to me in this fashion.

But not always.  Many times (more often lately, it seems) they will email me 2 or 3 times and then just disappear.  And therein lies my complaint.  If they could just email me one more time, and let me know they weren’t interested after all, I could file them away under “potential” websites and be done with them.

And if they could let me know why they disappear, that would be even better.  Maybe my prices are too high, or my skill set is too limited, or maybe I’m so obnoxious on the phone that they don’t want anything to do with me.  At least that would give me something to adjust, something to improve on so that the next person didn’t disappear so quickly…

I do have some folks who disappear and then come back.  I’m working on a CMS website right now, if fact, that falls into that category.  They contacted me a full year ago, then I heard nothing.  But a year later they were back and ready to go.  And I couldn’t be happier.

Unfortunately, anyone who’s reading this has probably already let me build them a new website.  (Thank you!)  I have the feeling this will just continue to be part of my regular business, and I need to learn to live with it.  And to be nicer to people on the phone…

05 PM | 15 Feb

Eldergeek

Ok, I’m getting older.  No question about it.  Hence the name Eldergeek.

I have been known to refer to myself as “old and feeble-brained”…  but I think I’ve decided that’s not quite true.  I’m not stupid.  Not even close.  I’m getting older, true, but I’m still learning.  And I’m happiest when I’m learning – which seems to be most of the time…

Ignorant, yeah, that’s the ticket.  I’m ignorant, but I can learn.  I think maybe ignorance is a positive state to find myself in.  It means there is still plenty of room for  learning, and like I said, I’m happiest when I’m learning.

eldergeek

I ran into a discussion online this morning that talked about Bing and Yahoo and search engines.  Bing is now running a Webmaster tools subsystem, not unlike what Google has done for years.  What threw me most about the discussion was the statement that Bing has been known to actually penalize websites that define Keyword metadata.  Damn!

I’ve known for some time that Google had changed their algorithms to lower the importance of keywords, but penalizing me?  Sounds like my limited approach to SEO has been pushed back to square one…

I’ve focused for years on Google’s indexing process, but I think I need to expand my approach.  I decided to add a couple test sites to the Bing indexing process – my own website (Netpalouse.com) and one in Arizona that has been having search issues for some time now.  It’s how I learn – test, compare, test, compare…

I’ve admitted to my SEO ignorance for years, but it looks like I still have a ton to learn.  But I’m not stupid, I’ll figure it out.  Eventually.

“Old and ignorant”.  Yeah, that’ll work…

02 PM | 26 Jan

Conversation

I am a geek, no question about it.  An old geek.  Set in my old, geeky ways.  I know I’ve talked before about how much I rely on email for communication.  And how my kids have moved to phone text instead of email.   (They still use email, but they much prefer text.)

Don’t get me wrong – I can text too.  I may be an old fart on the phone, but my kids know what I mean when I text them “:)BD2U!”.

What’s bugging me today, however, is the way that the art of conversation is getting lost in email communications.  I don’t text my customers, so email becomes the main way to get through to them.  It just seems like I spend a lot of my time waiting to hear back…

emailI’m not a big fan of emails that say nothing but “Thank you” or “Got your message”.  But if I ended my last email with “Let me know what you think”, it seems like an answer is expected – in the form of a return email…

And then there are those times when you promise me you’ll email me some information.  I really shouldn’t have to remind you two weeks later.  You promised!…

I am NOT saying that all of my friends and customers are guilty of such transgressions.  I’m lucky enough to have a bunch of people that understand the art of conversation, even in an email.  People who answer me when I ask questions, people who write when they promise and get me the information I need – people who know how to finish the conversation before they say goodbye.

OK, OK.  I might complain a little from time to time.  But really, I’m pretty lucky…