Last minute opportunity for those that can easily get to NYC. imageMEDIA, my employer and your source for cheap printing, is giving away an all access pass to SMX East, the Search Marketing Expo going on October 4th to 6th (next week) - a $1400 value. You have to jump through some simple hoops, but there has not been a lot of traffic for it yet so the odds are pretty good. You have to get your entry by midnight this Friday, October 1st.

And, a quick FYI, SMX is all about getting and converting web site traffic. It'll be at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center (655 West 34th Street New York, NY 10001) with a Tuesday night party, SMX After Dark, at Mars2112 (51st Street and Broadway).

Free Electric Car If You Owe A Bit In Taxes

This was just shared with me this morning and might prove interesting to some of you out there. If you live in the US and have a tax liability of over $6000, you can effectively get a free electric car ... well, a street legal golf cart. I say effectively because you will likely still need to pay shipping and you have to front the money while you wait for Uncle Sam to get you your rebate.

The person who shared this with me has already vetted it with his accountant so it at least seems legitimate to some. However, if you are interested in it, I would think it to be tremendously wise to have your own accountant/tax lawyer evaluate it with respect to your specific situation. Anyway, should you be interested you can look into the details about the free electric car along with related IRS publications at

And as a quick aside, I have concerns about programs like this. Perhaps there is an argument that it is stimulating the economy by encouraging the purchase of electric cars. However, it helps to create an artificial demand for an item that is now going to be priced, not on value, but on the ability to qualify for the government rebate. The rebate is for $6496.53 so the cost of the vehicle floats at or just above this number. But what if the real value is less than that? Now the government is creating a a bubble that could have negative consequences down the line - will the government feel inclined to bail out the manufacturers who overextend themselves to keep up with the artificial demand and then suddenly find themselves in a slump when the program ends?

Why not just not tax us not so much in the first place and then give us the opportunity to decide the value of our money and the objects of our desire? Support the Fair Tax if you think that you are responsible enough to decide how to spend your own money.

Scraping 80's Television for Project Management Methodologies

So, basically, I watched way too much television as a kid. I've since remedied this and am now television set free (and would be tv show free if it weren't for Hulu ... damn you accessible, advertiser-driven premium content), however, my mind is indelibly stained with seemingly innumerable hours of 80's television programming (and 70's shows through reruns).

All of that is to relay why it ought not to be terribly surprising that it suddenly occurred to me, while detailing some project or another on a white board that Charlie's Angels may have been incredibly ahead of its time in presenting a model for project development. That spark sent my mind racing for other shows that might offer glimpses of insights into this crazy world of programming. The result was the discovery of three models that I think are representative of freelance software contracting. Definitely not exhaustive, just three that struct may as worth considering.

I latched onto investigation shows as they really fit the model of independent development: Presentation of a problem, exploration of a solution, execution of the solution and finally, payment, though sometimes not. I skipped police shows (Hawaii Five-0, Hill Street Blues, etc), family investigation firms (Hart to Hart, Simon & Simon, etc) and the inane (Scooby Doo, The Fall Guy).


Thank You Hal Helms

As many might remember, Hal Helms backed out of his speaking engagement at CFUnited 2009, but offered to make it up for free. Understandably, that caused comments by many, but, hey, Sarasota is just an hour-or-so away, so I was happy to hear it.

Having trekked over the Skyway bridge and back a couple of times now with Alex, I can say that I am really glad things worked out the way that they did. In total, eight of us converged upon the office of CityMind to meet with Hal and bask in his wisdom.

Ben Nadel is a better source to learn about Hal's commercial Real World OO classes, but this weekend was somewhat informal and focused a good deal on philosophy and business practices - with some CF Object Oriented Programming and jQuery examples and discussion thrown in for good measure. For me, this was very timely, as I have just finished reading The Passionate Programmer and have been contemplating some of the non-technical details of my career.


The Wisdom of a Hardcore Quaker Extremist

There are lots of good resources for developers, but they all aren't technical in nature. Today, I came across a tremendous resource for those that, in addition to improving the skills of their craft, are also trying to best position ourselves in a time of uncertainty (and imminent economic doom, depending on whose counsel you listen). Best of all this resource is free if you don't mind screen reading or relatively cheap if you want the printed version.


Global Warming & Why It Sometimes Sucks To Be In Florida

Dreaming of cooler weather, while wilting in Florida heat and humidity, I read today that Loveland Ski Area opens today, the earliest opening date for that ski resort in 40 years. Color me unimpressed with tales of impending doom due to Global Warming (Check out Check out Not Evil Just Wrong for a rebuttal documentary scheduled to be released this month).

Anyway, happy happy thoughts of snow while this is my weather report:


Barcamp Tamp '09 - Sep 26th & 27th - Development & New Media

Barcamp Tampa '09 is coming this weekend (Sept 26th & Sept 27th) and I convinced myself to go. From what I understand, Barcamp is an unconference covering development and new media. It's an unconference insomuch as attendees signup for topics about which they would like to speak and the agenda is created on the day of the event. Last year's event apparently had developer talks on Mobile Apps, iPhone apps, Adobe AIR, WinBatch, Python, RubyonRails, Voice Apps, Project Management, Ning, Erlang, Django and PHP and new media talks on Twitter, Blogging, Rich Internet Apps, social media, podcasting, Internet Video, SEO, Contextual Ads, mobile marketing, RSS, Jelly, and VoIP.

Ironically, as I write this post, I received another email that previews some of the notable attendees including: Greg Wilson, Sean Carey, Guy Hagen and more.

If you are going, I hope to see you there.

BTW: Thanks to the Tampa Flash, Flex and Air Developer Group for the heads up - even though they haven't had a meeting since early March, there still might be hope for the group.

Odd, a little disturbing, maybe useful

Ok, possibly too disturbing, but from recent quasily-unsolicited email ...

Free samples of Depend underwear from Costco.

Where to begin?

Well, normally free samples from Costco mean some tasty treat; a mini-eclair or power-boosting juice. Clothes in which I am actively encouraged to urinate seem more than a little out of place.

Next, there is an online community for Depend customers. Really? If you are obliged to wear them, well, that sucks, but so be it. But for how many people is there any appeal at all to talking with others who are wearing diapers? Sure, maybe there are those with some odd fetish, but I don't think that's what the intent is at the corporate site.

Finally, you have to allow 4 to 6 weeks for the sample to arrive. If you can wait 4 to 6 weeks, I don't think you are in the target audience.

Anyway, a somewhat bizarre way to wrap up the evening, but potentially useful to you hardcore hackers or gamers. Do what you gotta do, just don't go out like this Korean guy who died after 50 hours of Starcraft

Windows 7 Promo Code Giveaway

A quick note:, a great source for news on toys tech fun, is running a giveaway of 100 Microsoft Windows 7 pre-order discount codes. Of course, it would be better if they were free, but each code enables you buy up to 3 licenses at a discounted price. Windows 7 Home Premium for $49.99 and Windows 7 Professional for $99.99.

All you have to do is post a comment (though no linkback love opportunities for the SEO push - can't have everything).

They start picking on June 26, so make your comment for free Windows 7 promo codes.

You can now Buy Windows 7 here.

Handy Free Windows Calculator

Alex has been playing with the Windows 7 RC at work and I have to admit that really quickly I developed a case of calculator envy - I'm a lazy geek, it's true (and I have been working on projects that require me to frequently dip down into binary and bitwise operators).

So, some quick google based perusing yielded a free Windows 7 Calculator for Vista and all was good. But lately I have been inclined to go through blog site comments with added attention and I stumbled upon a link to SpeQ at the lifehacker site.

The Windows 7 Calculator is prettier than SqeQ, but SpeQ looks to be the best lightweight Windows Math Program I have seen. It's not going to replace Maple or Matlab, or any other large comprehesive math program, but it is small, fast and incredibly versatile.

You work in a Notepad like environment that enable you to work in an immediate mode [ type 3+3 and enter and you get Ans = 6 ] as well as the ability to assign expressions to variables for easy reuse in compound expressions. Since you are working in an editor, it is easy to bounce back into earlier expressions and make changes and saving the session for notes, reuse, sharing, or whatever is simple. It includes a handy view of all the variables (including values) that you have defined and another view that allows you to quickly browse the many built-in constants, functions, operators, units and more. It even does graphing.

It isn't the most attractive app ever, but so far it has been intuitive, easy to use, and seemingly unburdened with useless crap. The fact that it is small, portable, fast and free is just bonus.

Anyway, I expect to be using this guy quite a bit and thought that I'd share.

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