All Redeeming Qualities

Posted in Media, People at 10 pm

Over the past year I had the opportunity to see and amazing process up close: the writing of a novel.

Jock Murphy wrote an amazing book called Redemption Song. I was lucky enough to even get the chance to comment on the work before it was finished. Jock’s book is now available on Amazon and I’m just so incredibly proud to have been there for the birth of a great work of great dedication.

Congratulation Jock!

And even further, he’s made the book available on a chapter by chapter basis on his site. Take a look at some of the work and if you get hooked, buy the book! Jock took his time and his inspiration and has something that other people only hope to have, think of having, dream of having. A book of one’s own.


Quick Outline of a Project Spec

Posted in General at 12 pm

A single document project spec should have:

  1. Cover page
  2. Table of Contents
  3. Overview
  4. Creative Brief
  5. Development Tools Spec
  6. Deployment Platform Spec
  7. Content Specs
  8. Function Specs
  9. Budget
  10. Calendar/Schedule
  11. Site Map (Visual Overview)
  12. Wireframes (Page/Screen details)

Stickies for Project Planning

Posted in General at 12 pm

As some of you may know, I’m leaving Hot Pepper to go work at Planar Systems. Today I’m packing up the stuff on my desk and I’m cleaning off the stickie notes that I’ve had up for quick reminders of various items.

For my own reference, and your ammusment I have listed another one of them below:

Project Process (Short Version)

  • Plan
  • Content
  • Design
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Deploy

Project Specs Documents

  • Platform
  • Actors (example users)
  • Functions for each role
  • Specifications for:
    1. Content
    2. Design
    3. Development Platform
    4. Deployment Platform
  • Schedule by phases
  • Budget with hours and rates
  • Site Map
  • Wireframes
  • Mockups
  • Comps

Planning Process

  1. Goals
  2. Audiences
  3. Tasks
  4. Tools
  5. Systems
  6. Business Processes
  7. Business Tools
  8. Admin Tools
  9. Build tools order:
    1. Admin tools
    2. Bix Tools
    3. user tools

Stickies for Sales Calls and New Projects

Posted in General at 12 pm

As some of you may know, I’m leaving Hot Pepper to go work at Planar Systems. Today I’m packing up the stuff on my desk and I’m cleaning off the stickie notes that I’ve had up for quick reminders of various items.

For my own reference, and your ammusment I have listed them below:

Sales Calls

  • Take notes
  • Get name and remember it
  • Get contact info
  • Get project timeframe
  • Get budget size
  • Get platform, media or channel
  • Identify their goals
  • Find out who referred them

The idea there was to list the things I needed to do when someone called in looking to feel out how much a project would cost, or looking around for people to send a project to. Most of the time I would hand these notes off to Brad or Dave, or someone to follow up on the sales part.

New Project Calls

  • Take notes
  • Get contact info
  • Get timeframe
  • Get deadlines
  • Get budget
  • Get deliverables list
  • Get list of incoming assets
  • Ask for similar projects and styles

When a project kicks off, particularly with a client that we have an ongoing relationship with, we just need to get these project notes together. These two stickies were great to rely on when a call would come in out of the blue.


Methods for Assignments

Posted in Career at 10 am

This is a list of the ways that we came up with at Hot Pepper to dole out assignments:

  • Shared spreadsheet
  • Web page
  • Printed page per task
  • Daily printed page
  • Single task e-mail
  • Multi-task/Daily e-mail
  • Via calendaring app (iCal, Outlook, etc.)
  • Whiteboard task list
  • Shared wordprocessing doc
  • Shared Outline Editor doc

The key here was to break up tasks into .5 hour minimum to 4 hr maximum elements, always include the Do date and the Due date, and the time budgeted to complete the task. Optionally each task was also given an ‘evil twin’ task of QA by another person.


Mail Form Injection Attacks

Posted in General at 3 pm

To: Our Clients
Re: Recent Mail Form Abuse

We are approaching this abuse from a multi-step process. As you might imagine, this bot has has been hitting web-2-mail forms all over the web. We’re dealing with this through a set of solutions for your forms as well as for other forms that we have created for clients going back over many years.

1) Our first step was to eliminate the ultimate goal of the ‘bot, which was to send a customized message to a hijacked AOL account. Our estimation of the purpose of this bot is to find web-2-mail forms that can be used to reflect spam to other victims. The initial e-mails that we are seeing coming through the forms are probes being used to test for the vulnerabilities. The first steps we took eliminated the option of sending these mails out to addresses that we did not designated in the form itself.

By plugging this hole, the form will no longer be a viable reflector for spammers. This should take the form off of the testing list at some point in the future. These first steps were critical to making the form less attractive to spammers in the first place.

However this step, as you’ve seen did not keep the probes themselves from being passed on to ‘approved’ mail addresses.

2) Our second step was to detect the probes in a very specific manner and to cull them out from the legitimate messages that are coming through the forms. We want to be *very* careful here in order to remove *only* the mails that are illegitimate probes/reflection spams. We identified a number of potential ‘fingerprints’ that could be used and decided upon one that should only be used by nefarious ‘bots, and not by actual customers.

While we have this in place, the messages that trigger the detector will be re-routed to us for analysis. If we happen to find a legitimate mail caught with this fingerprint, we will forward it back to you and adjust the detector as appropriate.


Catching up with August 2005

Posted in Apple, Career, General, Life, Media, Tech, Transport, Web at 9 am

For the first post of September, we’ll be covering August and the last few weeks with QuickNotes™…

1) I’ve got a new laptop: 15″ PowerBook. Woo Hoo! It’s teh hot! Seriously, switching from the plastic-cased iBook to the aluminium wraped 15″ PB has given me a new appreciation for thermodynamics. (But still the PB is FAST! So much faster than the iBook.)

2) Tiger is okay, but little to write home about. The UI inconsistencies in OS X from the system and iApps perspective is becoming more obvious. But I could be just railing against the fact that part of iChat crashes on a regular basis, just after I switched back to using it instead of Adium because iChat can now do multiple accounts including Jabber accounts.

3) General instability is the call of the day. Some things are craping out way too easily. I’m letting Steve use my iBook while he’s out in Astoria for school, and I’ll be putting Panther on it.

4) Went and saw part of the Woodburn NEDRA electric drag races. Took some video and put together some movies for John Wwayland over at plasmaboy racing.

5) The new iTunes interface is an unecessary change unless it’s carried out to the rest of the iApps. The name for it seems to be “Polished Metal” as opposed to the older (and reviled) “Brushed Metal”. The iPod Nano looks cool but it took me days to find out it was solid-state flash and not hard drive-based. The ROKR iPhone is for SUKRs. Totally crippled and nothing new hardware-wise. Apple can’t build the whole widget, so the widget is a total compromise.

6) Our living rooom television died. Would like to replace it with a flat LCD, but they’re still more money than I want to invest in Home Entertainment. If anyone’s got a recommendation for a $200 to $300 television with *LOTS* of input and output jacks, let me know.

7) I’ve got a freelance project launching in the next could of days. I’ll point to it once it’s got a bit of burn-in time.

8) I’ve been seeing a new testing probe-bot that’s crawling around Contact forms. It’s already hit LazerQuick where we’ve patched it and just last nite it hit my feedback form on OrderSomewhereChaos. Nasty little bugger made me dive back into Perl code that I’ve not touched in 6 or 7 years. The mail is being sent to the (probably compromised) AOL account of “jrubin3456@aol.com”. They’re looking to find tons of spamming reflectors. I’m sure they’ll find *LOTS* of them.

9) Amy and I are off to see the final regular-season game for the Timbers! Mighty Mighty Timbers!


Techie Cheat Sheets

Posted in General at 11 am

Cool one page write ups on some techie web stuff. Laguage references, etc. Cheat Sheets from ILoveJackDaniels.com


Reblogged via Geneva

Posted in General at 11 pm

So I was reading Boing Boing and they had yet another reference to Technorati (again) and decided to see if anyone had linked to this poorly updated journal. Lo and behold, the illustrious Joe Clark had an entry titled B-links, July 18 where in there was a little link to my OLD OLD entry on Geneva, the font by which all screen fonts are judged by.

When I say little—I really mean little. One word in an entry of 1700 words doesn’t exactly stick out like a sore thumb, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless. Also the rest of the links are great to walk thru as well…

Ball and Hammer

Posted in General at 12 am

I was at this year’s Mondo Croquet and I had a great hour I was there. I got knowcked out by a zombie, but boy did I enjoy the fresh air…