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May 17th, 2010

Ain't Gonna Let Monday Morning Get Me Down!

DANCING TIME!



-The Gneech

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The Three Micahs, by M.C.A. HogarthSomething that pleases me no end is when somebody buys an ad on gneech.com that catches my eye and turns out to be very cool indeed. Such is the case with The Three Micahs, a blog by M.C.A. Hogarth (a.k.a. “Haikujaguar”) about the business end of creative pursuits. In an engaging and perky writing style she gives artistic types — often less-than-stellar businesspeople — useful tips for getting their heads out of the clouds long enough to actually succeed and hopefully even prosper at their vocation. My first introduction to the blog was a banner ad at the top of my own site (proof that advertising works :D ).

I am particularly impressed at the holistic (and pragmatic) approach she takes to the artistic life, including the necessity for most of having a day job. Far from seeing this as a curse, she spends a lot of time showing how to integrate the day job into the whole package and use it to fuel your art.

Above all, your #1 strategy: if the job isn’t working for you, start looking for a new one. This Day Job is not your career. Your goal is to make enough money to free yourself from some (or all) of your financial anxieties and to get out of the studio… not to chain yourself to a miserable existence. Remember the mindsets: I am not my Day Job, and I am allowed to choose the work I do. Arm yourself with these realizations and keep looking until you find the right fit.

She also illustrates the blog with cartoon jaguars, so what’s not to love? All my fellow woolly-headed artistic types, I heartily recommend you check it out.

-The Gneech

Originally published at gneech.com. You can comment here or there.

Great, But You Solved the Wrong Problem

If you've ever had to go to Google to debug a mysterious problem (something that happens to ColdFusion developers fairly often), then undoubtedly you've come upon a website called "Experts Exchange," which makes a page that echoes your search and says "Sign up for 30 days for the answer!" And if you're in a hurry and don't notice the URL before you click in your search results, over the course of your programming career you'll probably waste a lot of time realizing you've just loaded that same damn BS site again and closing the window in a grumpy funk.

Well, since Friday I've been wrangling with a problem in ColdFusion where I have to consume an ASP.NET web service on a CF page, but the only result I get is an error saying that the CF server "could not generate stub objects," whatever the heck that means. So I've been doing a lot of Googling — and although I have trained myself generally to check whether a site is "Experts Exchange" before I click on it [1], I slipped and went there again tonight, and it got me so annoyed that I went to the Google forums looking for "How do I block a domain from ever appearing in my search results?"

Turns out, it's a popular request. A very popular request. According to one user, it comes up on something like a monthly basis and is never implemented — I'll leave it to others to speculate why that might be (although I have some educated guesses). And lo and behold, Experts Exchange is right up there in the top of lists people are requesting the feature for!

Alas, no useful answer from Google. (Google FAIL!) However, the users did provide a workaround which I thought was clever, by way of bookmarks.

Basically, in your browser of choice, set yourself up a bookmark to the following URL:

http://www.google.com/search?q=-site:experts-exchange.com

This will give you a Google search window prepopulated with the search operator you need to block results from the domain in question. You then just type in your search normally at the end. It's not as handy as just typing in a search in your browser window and go, but until Google lets you set up a personal blacklist in your preferences (which is really all that this mess should require), it's a usable workaround. You just have to remember to click on your "Search for debug help!" bookmark, instead of going straight to Google.

So, one problem solved.

...Unfortunately, I still haven't figured out how to generate stub objects.

-The Gneech

[1] Yes, HEAR ME SEARCH ENGINES: "EXPERTS EXCHANGE" IS USELESS AND AND YOU SHOULD NEVER RETURN IT FOR ANY SEARCH EXCEPT POSSIBLY "WHAT SITE WILL BE A COLOSSAL WASTE OF TIME IF I GO THERE"?

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