New Office Manager

2010 June 23
by Nick Lamb

Kona Puppy the Office ManagerWell, things have been picking up over at Revel Software, so it was time we needed an office manager. Kona Puppy, our fearless chocolate lab, was eager to take on the position. Her new duties include, barking when someone rings the doorbell, running in her sleep while she naps in the afternoon, and annoyingly jumping on me while I try and code my latest masterpiece web application because she thinks it’s time to eat.  She will also be there to greet you by jumping up and sniffing your crotch if you ever stop by during work hours.

Making the switch to my new business

2010 June 16
by Nick Lamb

Revel SoftwareYep, you read right. No longer working for the man.  Well, probably still working with the man, but hopefully now I’ll be calling more of the shots and getting to pursue the things that really excite me.  I started a new web consulting business called Revel Software.  Our bread and butter is doing custom web applications.  Not just pretty web design, but sites that do something, like allowing you to interact and manipulate data and integrate with other sites. Sounds fun doesn’t it? If ever you or someone you know needs that sort of thing, you’ll know where to turn now.

Here are a couple of the steps to get my new business up and running:

1. The new computer

Of course any respectable software consultant is going to have a nice computer. I happen to prefer desktops over laptops because I like screen real estate.  Here’s the breakdown of the computer I built.

2. The new desk/cleaned up office

Since my wife also works from home we needed a clean office, which wasn’t working out so well.  So we spent a lot of time doing that.   I also decided to build a new desk to hold my new computer.  That consisted of a solid core door 28″ x 80″ and two metal shelves attached for ~$100, see how to build it here.

3. Coffee

Last but not least, I will probably be consuming lots of coffee during my new endeavor.

Fire dancing on the beach in the Philippines (with video)

2010 June 6
by Nick Lamb

While we were in the Philippines attending my sister’s wedding we were treated to some fire dancing on the beach at a party before their wedding. What better time to test out all the features of our newish camera. The video was shot with a Canon T1i in 720p with a 50mm f/1.8 lens.

Fire dancing at Atlantis Dumaguete

Fire dancing at Atlantis Dumaguete

Fire Dancing on the beach in the Philippines from Nick Lamb on Vimeo.

Fun facts before going to the Philippines

2010 May 11
by Nick Lamb

In preparation for our trip to the Philippines for my sister’s wedding I thought I should at least know some interesting facts about the place that’s going to take 30 hours of travel time to get to.  That way I can ponder this newly aquired information while flying over the pacific ocean and so can you (well you wont be over the ocean, but you get the idea)!  So here goes:

  • It is an archipelago comprising 7,107 islands.
  • The United States was once at war with the Philipines.
  • Average temperatures range from 75°F – 88°F with Humidity 70-85% (not good for someone like me from Colorado).
  • Their monetary unit is the Peso.  The current exchange rate is $1 USD = 44.935 PHP.
  • The main exports include electronics and garments.
  • The largest naval battle of World War II was fought in Leyte Gulf.

Here’s a nice map so you can follow along with our 8,103 mile journey:

Denver to Salt Lake City to Tokyo to Manila to Dumaguete

Denver to Salt Lake City to Tokyo to Manila to Dumaguete

And a little eye candy to make you jealous of where we’ll be in Dumaguete:

Adding an auxiliary audio input to a 2007 Jeep Compass

2010 April 23
by Nick Lamb

When I got my Jeep Compass a few years ago I had a couple of choices on the sound system. The basic package came with a basic cd player and 4 speakers, but it had an auxiliary audio input.  The upgraded package had a six disc mp3 cd changer and a 9 speaker Boston Acoustics system with a subwoofer.  Of course I went with the booming subwoofer.  But it was at the cost of an auxiliary audio input.  Now, a few years later, I’ve grown tired of always having to burn new mp3 cds when I want to listen to new music.  Here’s how I went about installing a new aux input so I can plug my iphone in and listen to those new jams.  Total cost: ~$100.

The console I needed to figure out how to get into without breaking anything

first, pop the top dash piece off with a screwdriver or other tool

Next, pull the shifter knob off and pry up the panel and trim around the shift box

Start at the top of the console trim and remove a couple screws and gently/firmly pull it out

Once you have access to the radio, take the mounting screws out and pull it out of it's housing

Unplug the inputs from the radio and put in the new auxiliary input converter

I decided to cut out a little piece of the dash panel with a dremel and fit a 3.5mm coupler in place

The final product with the auxiliary input in place. It's barely visible unless you're looking for it.

Now I can finally listen to the iPhone in the car. I made a car cradle for the iphone from some parts I had laying around the garage.

The many stages of iPhone syncing dispair

2010 April 13
tags: ,
by Nick Lamb

I love my iPhone, but I rarely sync it to my computer.  It seems like every time I do, I’m in a hurry to get some new music on it to listen to while I’m biking into work or something.  Here’s what I end up having to endure:

Step 1: iTunes update

Time to update iTunes

no, i don't want to

No, actually I don't want to use iTunes because it causes my computer to come to a screeching halt

software update

Wait...why is it trying to install MobileMe? I don't even use that crap.

read more…

SEO is voodoo black magic

2010 April 7
by Nick Lamb

I’ve been doing some research on SEO lately on how to build up some of the sites I’m working on and I’ve come to one conclusion; Search engine optimization is hearsay. Well, either that, or the people who do it are witch doctors practicing voodoo black magic. I can understand some of the basic things like “make sure your keywords are relevant” or “use canonical urls“.  But when you use terms like “link equity” and “trust rank”, you’ve officially drunk the kool-aid.

“Now, all you need to do is have your <h2> tags filled with keywords and wait…are you still using meta-keywords? Ha! Those don’t mean anything these days! When Google did the florida update…bla bla blaa” – SEO “Expert”

I’m not saying some of these people don’t know what they’re talking about, but when everyone’s just speculating about how an algorithm deep inside the google machine works, I think I’ll take what they say with a grain of salt.  Excuse me while I finish up some link baiting…

Kodak’s charitable giving on The Celebrity Apprentice Is laughable

2010 March 23
by Nick Lamb

To preface, I like the show. There’s something fun about seeing the C-list celebs squirm in that boardroom when they see the donald’s combover.

Ok, on to the real issue. There’s portion of the show that I’ll call “the infomercial”, which features a big corporation giving the teams a task to somehow market/promote their product and in return for the winning team’s hard work, said big corporation will donate money to that team’s charity. Sounds like a win-win for the corporation and the charity. Wrong. The disparity between what the corporation gets and what the charity gets is laughable.

Let’s break it down for this week’s show. During “the infomercial” part of the show the Kodak’s name/product are spoken about in good light for almost half the show. Let’s be really conservative and say they had 20 minutes of product placement during the show. If this time had been a commercial during the show it would cost $100,000-200,000 per 30 second spot(Source). Using the low end of that range, the 20 minutes of product placement is worth $4,000,000! That’s a lot of money. So you’d think that Kodak would be generous in giving to the charity that wins the competition. Wrong again. Kodak donated a measly $20,000 or %0.5 of what they’re getting in return. You read that right, a half a percent. Laughable.

Did Lady Gaga make a deal with the devil?

2010 March 16
by Nick Lamb

I know, I know, this sounds totally crazy, but… I watched her ridiculous/insane video with Beyonce last week and felt sick to my stomach after watching it. The first thing that popped in my mind after this was, “did she sell her soul to the devil to get this fame?” Now, this isn’t something I normally think about, and that makes it interesting. Here’s some more interesting; My wife and I were enjoying some breakfast the other day and I told her about the video I’d watched, but didn’t tell her any of the details. The first thing out of her mouth was, “Something about her seems evil. I just get this evil feeling.” I wonder why we both came to the same conclusion seperately? I remembered a quote I’d seen by her that stuck out to me in light of all this, I’ll leave it up to you to interpret if she’s someone who’d do anything for fame:

“I had a boyfriend who told me I’d never succeed, never be nominated for a Grammy, never have a hit song, and that he hoped I’d fail,” she says.
“I said to him, ‘Someday, when we’re not together, you won’t be able to order a cup of coffee at the f—ing deli without hearing or seeing me.’”

I decided to see if anyone else had, had any similar thoughts to mine and sure enough there’s quite a bit out there. Here’s a few telling pictures that stuck out:

lady gaga mimicing baphomet

The director of some of Lady Gaga's videos. See his shirt? This might explain some of the symbolism in her videos

Now, I’m not one for a lot of crazy conspiracies, but I will say that I think Lady Gaga is not doing everything just for shock value, there’s more meaning behind it.

I never knew North Korea was this kind of crazy

2010 March 12
by Nick Lamb

North Korea - The Craziest Country in the World
Via: Online Schools