DerekAllard.com

When in doubt, add more beer

Joanne and I are self-confessed “beer snobs connoisseurs”, and like to try different beers.  Last weekend I commented that we hadn’t tried too many new beers recently.  Apparently I struck a chord with her, because over the last 3 days here’s what has accrued in the beer fridge.

beer that Joanne brought home

Most of those are 1 bottle from a six pack, but some (like those 3 stubbies) came in a pack.

... now I know what it feels like to be a father.

Scaffolding in the real world

I’ve always told people that scaffolding should NOT be used “in the wild”.  Here’s proof (note the strategic cropping of beer from the frame).
Derek tries to figure out scaffolding

Back from Costa Rica

If you’ve been reading this blog, then you know I was off hiking around Costa Rica for 2 weeks.  Well, despite an overpowering urge to pack up and move there, I survived and made it back.  Actually, I got back late Wednesday, but I’ve been spending every free moment of my life catching up on “stuff”.  Its incredible that despite more or less getting all my business in order before I went away*, that I still have such a backlog of stuff to do .  I don’t think I realized exactly how much time I spent on BambooInvoice... until I came back to 2 weeks of backlog.  I’ve tried hard to get all caught up, but if you’ve written me in the last 2 weeks and you haven’t heard back from me yet, hang tight… I’m still working my way through some of those.

We were supposed to be back a day earlier, but literally as we started the boarding process for our plane a small 6 or 8 seat jet came in for a landing on the only runway at the airport, and blew out its front tire, crashing in front of us.  It was pretty hairy, but nobody was hurt.  It did however close down the airport for a day.  We were flying with Air Canada, and frankly, they did right by me.  While the situtation sucked, they did their best.  They shuttled us to a beautiful hotel, put us up, bought us dinner and breakfast, then shuttled us back to the airport for the first flight the next morning.  I’m going to write them a thank you letter… generally when people write its only to complain, so it might make their day to hear from a happy customer.  That said, they did subject me to Spiderman 3 on the way down (ugh), so maybe the karma balances out :)  I ignored most of the in-flight entertainment and read Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” and “Neverwhere”.  I loved them both.  I also bought “Good Omens”, but haven’t been able to get it out of Joanne’s hands…

I’ll be writing more about the trip in the upcoming week, but I’ll file the entires under “personal”, and clearly outline that if you’re here for CodeIgniter, ExpressionEngine, or other geekery, then you can skip those entries.  There are lots of pictures and great stories: I was telling Derek Jones, that if you’re really good in this lifetime, you get resurrected as a squirrel monkey.  Those guys have so much fun!

So I’m alive and kicking, recovering from a minor sunburn, trying to lose the 20 pounds I must have put on (despite all the hiking, the food and drink was amazing), and ready to tackle life again.

*save 1 very major project launching this week

Even Killer Robots need Vacations

I’m very proud to say that Joanne and I are off on vacation!  Its the first real vacation we’ve taken in about 6 years… man how time flies!  This message is/was scheduled to get published at the same time my flight leaves… 9:10am (although now that I’m thinking about it, I’m not too sure of my localization settings…).  We’re off to hike around the rainforests of Costa Rica, and try not to fall into a volcano or get attacked by sloths, armadillos or tapirs.

Want to be be jealous?  We’re spending 6 days in the Lapa Rios nature preserve.  Check out the bungalow we’re renting.  Since we have no electricity anyhow, I won’t be bringing my laptop along on this trip.  Mrs. Killer Robot thought that would probably be a good idea.  I wonder what type of productivity I would have in a place like that?  There is something to be said for being inspired by the environment around you.

I’ll be getting back around the middle of the first week of September, and I’ll be sure to post pictures and tell a story or two, and then its back to “the daily routine” - which let’s be honest, is still pretty sweet.  Then I’ll probably spend the next 48 hours going through email, reading forums and trying to get caught up in general.  There’s also so much that I want to do with CodeIgniter and BambooInvoice, but I doubt I’ll find time given everything.

If you’re reading this on Monday, I’ll probably be dodging Howler Monkey’s throwing their poop at me.  Wish me luck!

how I started my business and career

I got an email from a community member from CodeIgniter.  I won’t use his name here (feel free to comment below in case anyone thinks I’m lying ;) ), but with his permission I’m reposting this.  He asked about how I got started, and the realities of running a business.  This is the second time in a week I was asked, and thought I’d post a bit here.  What you see below is a mostly unedited response that I wanted to share.

I’ve blogged a little bit about this before.  Especially when I wrote hear me now and believe me later

And don’t believe the fortune cookie...

Damn you Dairy Queen

I’m supposed to be working right now (of course… damn deadlines), but I’ve got a turtle waffle-bowl sundae in me, and I can’t seem to concentrate.  4 cups of coffee a day… don’t think its the caffeine… must be the sugar.  Ugh… not sleeping tonight.

Hm, ok overly personal post with not too much web-related stuff.  Next post will focus on starting a web consulting business.

Its Friday, time for some UNproductivity tools

Nothing stops a good productive day faster then Friday afternoon.
unproductivity tools involve mixing me with beer

my business site, darkhorse.to got a facelift

Waaaaaay back in 1999 I started a small consulting business.  I mostly did teaching of web related courses, html, dreamweaver and some javascript.  Ah… good times.  Man… back in 1999 I remember teaching the <font> tag and using tables for layout!

This posting is about the rebuild of the humble site, into its new version.
new darkhorse.to

The paint isn’t dry yet, and there are still many more things to do, but its still much better then the bastardized site that was up there.  I’d love to hear your thoughts, criticisms or insights into the new look.

Writing personal content, and other assorted thoughts

This is one of those “a little bit of everything posts”.  I’m re-writing my business site, building an ExpressionEngine tutorial and impressed by beautiful javascript, and I’m too sexy for my shirt (so sexy it hurts).  Let’s tackle these in order shall we?

So I’m rebuilding my business website (no links right now, but its not exactly a secret URL).  Through a series of unfortunate events (that would seem much funnier if they had happened to someone else) I lost every non-textual asset from my site 3 months ago.  Every image, pdf, a few flash files… gone.  Backups you say?  Of course I had backups... and I can prove it.  I’ll just get them out… I know they’re around here somewhere… maybe in this directory… no, well I know they must be… hmmm… Found them!  And you doubted me?  Oh wait, it seems this backup (and all my backups) have images from my site from 2 generations ago!  Sigh… so now, only html pages, which means text and styles intact only. 

So I took it as an excuse to rebuild, but then I got sidetracked when I was hired by Ellislab, and other work picked up, and I started getting really active bug squashing in CodeIgniter and well, you know how these things go.  So I finally finished off the design, rebuilt the site using CI on my test server, and now all I have to do is drop in the content.  The problem is of course, that the only content I have right now is probably 4 years old, and I’m not happy with what I wrote.  So I’m off to re-write it now.

Let me just say that writing content for a website is hard work.  No wonder getting clients to hand it over is always such a struggle.  And writing for your own website is twice as hard.  On top of all the normal “extra things to think about” when writing for the web (be brief, summarize, use headings and bullets) when you’re writing your own content you have to walk that fine line between “promote yourself” and “I’m a self aggrandizing attention whore”.  Its a finer line then you’d think at first.

Going to SxSW 2007

Come March 9th I’ll be on my way to Austin to partake in a few days of nerd revelry at South By Southwest.  The main reason I’m going to to hang out with the guys from pMachine, (I’m a card-carrying member of Team Festering Carbuncle), but I’d love to meet as many people as I can.

If you’ll be heading down (I know Matt’s going to be there) then drop me a note so I can keep an eye out for you.