IE 6 Needs to Die

internet_explorerI have spent at least part of every day for the last week and a half at work wrestling with the sites I’m building in order for Internet Explorer 6.0 to play nice. I’ve had it. Fed up. If IE6 was a horse, we could have shot it a long time ago. But, it keeps hanging on.  Tormenting me. Creating hours of extra work and dozens of extra headaches. I cannot describe how mind-blowingly frustrating it is to design a site which looks perfect in every modern browser only to have IE6 trundle along and blow the whole thing up.

It… just… won’t… die.

Looking at the browser statistics, it appears that still 17% of users out there are still clinging to this horribly outdated browser. In fact, looking at my blog’s own stats, I’ve had 66 visits in the past month from users sporting that devil-spawn of a browser.

I’m not going to get into all of the reasons IE 6 is bad. Unless you’re a web developer the reasons wouldn’t make much sense to you. Suffice it to say, I’m not the only one that feels this way. A quick google search points to almost 1,000,000 hits on the search terms of “IE 6 die”.

IE 6 is an ancient technology. Seriously. It was released all the way back in August of 2001. Read that again… TWO THOUSAND AND ONE. In case you weren’t aware, it is now 2009, you know… just fyi.

For reference what 2001 means in web-years, take a peek at what the web looked like all the way back in 2001.

Do YOU want to be using a browser designed to display sites like those?

I ask each and every one of you to do this. If you are using IE, please click up on the “help” button at the top of the browser, go to “About Internet Explorer” and that will pop open a window. A version number will be listed there. If it starts with “Version:6.0…” for the love of all that is holy, please please please please please please please please please update your browser. Even one fewer IE6 user will make the world a better place. Browsers are free. Yeah, they don’t cost you one red cent.  Newer browsers have all kinds of user friendly features that IE6 can only dream about. Trust me. You’ll never regret it.

Get IE7 (you don’t even have to go to IE8 yet, ignore that IE8 ad at the top). Get Firefox (which will keep itself updated, by the way). Get Google Chrome. I implore you.

Consider it your good deed for the week. Plus, you’ll be on your way to assisting me to retain what sanity I have left.

Much appreciated.

Happy Halloween Everybody

Happy Halloween!  Here is your illustrious host, rocking the hockey jersey and mullet for the office costume deal today.  FYI, since I’m a hockey player, it is pronounced “moo-lay”…  Although, I did have someone ask me if I was dressed up as Todd Palin… LOL.  I actually think I look quite a lot like Jaromir Jagr.  I was going to black out a few teeth and or give myself a black eye, but I just didn’t get there.

You also get to see the beard progress here.  I worked that into the costume you see, since there is a tradition in hockey called the “playoff beard“.  So, all in all, it was a fairly easy costume.  Just a little something today.  I will say, however, that this hair is getting stuck in my beard and is becoming quite annoying.  But, it is the price you pay, right?

If you would like to see the rest of the costumes from our local Boise office, you can see them here: Wirestone Boise Costumes

Also, if you would like to partake in the costumes of our Chicago office, you can do that here: Wirestone Chicago Costumes

If any more links from any more of our offices pop up, I’ll be sure to post them.

Some Fort Collins office pics.

Halloween can sure be fun.

Operation Itchy Face Has Initiated

And away we go!

The beard has thrown off the shackles of regular shavings and is progressing nicely.  Read the good cause behind it here.  As of yesterday (Monday the 13th) the captain has turned off the “please shave” light and I am now free to roam around the cabin of manliness.

If you would like to follow all 33 of my fellow Wirestoners who have embarked on the same endeavour, you can find us here, complete with photos:

I don’t have a “start” picture yet but there is one on the itchy face site.  Generally, I don’t shave but every 2 or three days so most of you won’t notice any change for the next few days.  Come next week, however, I could really be miserable.  Let’s see how this rolls.

Grizzly Adams, here I come!

Facial Hair for a Good Cause

No sooner did I get done complaining about 5-blade razors and their advertising when I receive the following notice in my inbox at work.

Be a Man 08

Yes.  That’s right.  Finally, a reason to eschew shaving for a whole 2 months.  It’s kismet, right?  I have never actually attempted to grow a beard at any time in my life… mainly because I’m facial-folliclely challenged.  I’ve always wanted to be able to have the whole Magnum PI ‘stache or maybe even the Sonny Crockett 5 o’clock shadow, but since each hair on my face has a mortal fear of all the other hairs, they only grow singularly.  Thus, instead of looking tough and cool or even manly, I look patchy.

I did mention this was for a good cause.  Well, a co-worker and buddy here in the office was in a car vs. motorcycle accident last week.  Worse than that, while he was on his motorcycle, he was hit by a drunk driving ex-con who was running from the police (and also hit a pregnant woman’s car as well).  News story here and here.  The good news is he is going to be ok.  The bad news is he is in bad shape and has a tough road ahead of him to get back.  Here is a short list of what he’s fighting right now:

Broken Scapula (shoulder)
Broken Collar Bone
Broken Mandible (jaw)
Several teeth were damaged
10 Broken Ribs and punctured lung
3 broken vertebrae  – but thank God – no spinal cord damage
Extensive abrasions and bruising

He has been in the ICU for the past 4 days and probably has a couple more.  Then the long road to recovery begins.

So, we’re growing our facial hair company wide and the entry fee goes to help Jeff get back.  How can I decline that?  In case you’re interested, here are the contest rules.  Also on the Jeff benefit front, there has been scuttlebutt around here about a benefit party with all proceeds going to his recovery.  If there is one thing the Wirestone really knows how to do, it is good parties for even better causes.  I will post the information on whatever we come up with here, so if any of you dear readers want to come out and have a drink for a good cause, you’ll know where to go.

Anyway, you’ll see some updates from this thing as we go along.  And yes, I did get Jess’s OK to embark on this adventure before I agreed to do it.

From Monday on, just refer to me as Patchy McGee.  Who knew facial hair could be so exciting?  Well, except for the well coifed gentleman in the above picture, that is.

Wirestone – Year 1

Wirestone LogoIncredible.  In the middle of everything else, today marks my one year anniversary with “The Greatest Company In The Worldâ„¢”, Wirestone.

I have to say, this past 365 days have been far and away the most rewarding of my professional career.  It is remarkable to work for a place that you would bend over backwards for because you feel that they would bend over backwards for you.  I have worked 15 hour days and 70 hour weeks.  And I would do it again, if that’s what was asked.  I am not alone in this assessment either.  Just recently, some friends worked an entire night to get a project done.  That’s dedication, brother.

The thing is, they make you feel appreciated.  That your work is important, and in turn, that makes you want to bust your ass.  Especially coming from Hewlett Packard, where the idea of “employee worth” was thrown out the window YEARS ago.  It doesn’t take only pay or perks, although important.  It takes gratitude.  A feeling of self worth.  Wirestone has got that down in spades.  This comes from having amazing people who are engaged and excited from the top all the way down.

There is an interesting phenomenon here.  There have been a multiple people who have left Wirestone, seeking greener pastures, only to come sprinting back once they see how other places are run.  Sometimes, within the same week.  The only explanation I can give is that people who have been here awhile can forget just how good we have it, and going somewhere else brings that fact into stark reality.  I, having spent 8 grueling years at the declining HP, have no such delusions.  I know there is no other place I’d rather be than here.  (which makes me work all the harder).

Here is the email that my direct manager Mike sent to the whole Boise office this morning:

Jason Haberman is 1 stoner-year-old today.

Its hard to believe he’s been at Wirestone a whole year already, and equally hard to imagine how we got along without him.  Anyone who has had the chance to work with Jason knows about his great work ethic, dependability, attitude, and incredible hot metal skilz. These positive traits, plus many others are what keep Jason in high demand – to the point where I get requests from other offices for him by name.

Thanks for being part of our team Jason, and good luck with your wedding!


It has absolutely been my pleasure.

And after a week in Maui, I’ll come back charged up enough to take on the world.

New Wedding Site

Howdy everyone. I know I’ve been super lax about blogging lately but I do have at least a little something to show for it. Couple little somethings, actually.

If you would like to see the website I have been crunching away on for all those hours the past couple weeks, you can go here:

I didn’t design it, I just took the design mock up and actually created all of the html and javascript to make it actually work. Turned out well, I guess. Supposedly, the client is getting a lot of positive reviews, so that’s a good thing.

But, more importantly, I was able to spare a few hours to crank out our wedding site which eventually will be chock full of tasty info about the impending nuptials. Really, what I needed to do was get this up in order to coincide with our sending out of the Save the Date dealies. More on those later.

To view the Wedding Site, just go here:

Like I said, there will be more content (and probably some edits and refining of current content) once I get a little more time. I have another website or two that are in the queue at the moment, so I gotta move on to those for a little bit. Mark and Dad, I haven’t forgotten you.

The funny thing about being a web developer, is you wouldn’t believe how many people out there “need a website”.  Like I said, I have a few sites in the hopper, but I am approached all the time.  We are refinancing the house, and when Jess filled in the occupation box for me, the mortgage lady told her, “Web developer huh?  Well, I need to talk to him…”.  Yeah, get in line lady.

Good thing I still enjoy it.

27 Hours

coal_mining.jpgIn two days. That’s what I’ve worked.

27 hours.

This project has been absolutely brutal. Long long hours.

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Come tomorrow at 5pm MDT I officially wash my hands of it. That is the hard deadline to deliver the code to the client and I can relax for the first time in 2 weeks.

All told, I’ve probably put between 150 and 170 total hours on this project since I began in full on March 24th. That’d be 12 business days. Wow. That’s a lot of work. The project manager and creative folks have been terrific as I have pestered them at great length about stuff I needed from them. No offense Lee, but it will be nice not to have to bother you 14 times a day here for a little bit…

On the plus side, I’ve learned a bunch. Nothing like living under the gun to make you perform. The best thing I can say is that I will absolutely meet the deadline, despite all of the little technical problems along the way. Even today, I was battling with more uncooperative code that just wouldn’t play nice. Pounding headache. Nothing to do but muscle through. So, I did.

You better believe, the first beer I throw down tomorrow at 5pm is going to taste mighty sweet.

I don’t think I did 170 hours of work in my final 6 months at HP. My how times have changed.

Where U been?

Some of you might be wondering where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to… ok… maybe not. Perhaps I have an inflated sense of self-worth… No matter. I’m telling you anyway, whether you want to know or not.

Working. That’s it, that’s the list.

I got handed a rather large website project last week. I spent last weekend dipping my toes into the pool but began with vigor on Monday. This site is quite involved, and consists of many many gradient background pieces and other items which just add to the complexity. I spent so much time staring at gradients that when I got out of bed to go to the bathroom Thursday night, the light through the window cast a gradient on the wall… All I could think was how I needed to slice that up and make it into html. Yeah, I need more sleep.

I’ve got <div>’s, classes, and pixel widths coming out of my ass. Don’t get be started about Internet Explorer’s, shall we say, “limited” standards implementation…

Plus, there were a number of technical challenges I ran into. Strange corner cases with CSS and javascript that took me forever to try to solve. The worst day this week was Wednesday. I was at work for over 12 hours and when I left I was in the EXACT same place as I was when I started the day. I actually accomplished nothing. Spent the day banging my head against the wall. I would fix one little thing, or think I had, only to find it didn’t really work, or worse yet, broke something that was previously working perfectly. Let me tell you, that was frustrating.

Counting the 9+ hours I worked today (Saturday), I am at over 62 hours for the week. It was nice and quiet at the office today though. I was the only one there. I do think I need to invest in an additional monitor for my home PC, so I don’t have to always work in the office. Any of you out there with dual monitors will agree with me on how much more efficient you can be with them. I think Costco might be a destination tomorrow…

As of this evening, I have conquered all of the real sticky technical pieces… and even better, I can reuse all of the code I’ve developed on future projects, which will save me a ton of time. Sometimes, there is nothing better than really getting in that groove where everything is working and you are making killer progress.

Speaking of which, as an aside, have you seen those bumper stickers that say something like “A Bad Day Golfing Still Beats A Good Day At Work”? Bullshit. I would MUCH rather have a good day at work kicking ass, than have one of those rounds where you put 12 balls into the water. It’s not even close to a tough decision. Maybe that’s just me.

On the plus side, Jess is actually out of town in Portland, OR visiting an old college friend this weekend. So, I’ve been able to completely focus on work. Not that I can’t when she is around or anything, but it is tough when you have a metric shit-ton of work but would rather spend time with a certain someone, ya know?

So, the ‘beta’ site is due to show the customer by end of business on Wednesday. With the stuff I got knocked out today, I don’t think I should have a problem hitting that deadline. That being said, I will be working long hours up until then to be sure. Not to mention, that the client will then review it, then provide feedback. Judging by how this client has been up until now, there will be a TON of changes and alterations. I think the final product is due the 8th or 9th.

I will be neck deep until then. It’s unfortunate that I’ve been so slammed, because there has been a lot I wanted to blog about lately… bitching about daylight savings time, Boise State winning the WAC and making the Big Dance, my brackets performance (or lack thereof), so on and so forth… maybe I’ll get to them sometime.

Bad Sweater/Crock Off/Open House

Today was Wirestone’s holiday function.  It consisted of a Bad Sweater party, coupled with a Crock Pot cook off, all in our recently remodeled office which we opened for all to see.

Frankly, it was a hell of a time.  I brought my now-famous Stroganoff Dip which was a gigantic hit with everyone who tried it.

I bought a horrible acrylic sweater at JC Penny’s yesterday.  I figured $15 was enough to spend on a joke.  The office was absolutely filled with the most horrible collection of sweaters ever collected in a single location.  If it wasn’t so amusing, it would have been horrifying.

But, we had a lot of beer, wine, hot buttered rum, mulled wine and an open bar.   It was a nice turnout.  Jess came by as well as my folks.  I was able to show everyone where I work and give them the nickel tour.

I, personally, started drinking at about 1:30pm and the party didn’t start until 3.  I spent the morning help set up and get everything setup.  So, I figured I earned a beer…

Anyway, it was a great party and I can’t be happier to work in such a terrific place.   Keep you fingers crossed that I won the crock-off… watch this space for updates.

Happy Holidays!

It’s been crazy

I haven’t written in awhile. You may have noticed this.

It’s not that I haven’t had anything to write about. Quite the contrary. My head is busting with ideas and topics. The real enemy here is time. It is simply that time of year when events get ramping up and there just isn’t anything I can do about it. For example, here is my schedule since the day before I left for Vegas with Jess on the 28th of October.

  • Saturday – Party at Friends
  • Sunday – Vegas
  • Monday – Vegas
  • Tuesday – Vegas
  • Wednesday – Return from Vegas (Halloween)
  • Thursday – blessed rest
  • Friday – BSU Basketball
  • Saturday – BSU Football
  • Sun – Leave again for Vegas
  • Mon – Vegas
  • Tue – Return from Vegas, exhausted
  • Wed – Steelheads Hockey
  • Thurs – a little more rest
  • Fri – BSU Basketball
  • Sat – Drive to Logan, UT (and back) for BSU Football Game
  • Sun – Dinner at Jess’ folks
  • Mon – Finally, nothing
  • Tue – BSU Basketball
  • Wed (yesterday) – Friend’s B-Day dinner and Steelheads Hockey.

For those of you scoring at home, that would be 3 separate trips, 7 sporting events (3 basketball, 2 football, 2 hockey), 3 dinners out (not counting travel days) and a grand total of 3 evenings of rest where I had nothing going on.

Of course, those ‘rest’ days weren’t even all that restful since they landed on weekdays and because in the midst of all this, work has been absolutely crazy. Not bad-crazy by any stretch, just super busy. Everyone is trying to get sites I’m working on done before the Thanksgiving holiday, and its putting a pretty good crunch on me.

To be perfectly honest, I’m kinda surprised I’m still fully functional. This does sort of resemble my previous life except for a few crucial differences. a.) Before, this sort of schedule would go on for weeks or months at a time. b.) Also, back then, most of the events we’re not ‘my’ things… All of this stuff I’ve been doing has been stuff I wanted to do. Not events to which I was committed and had no say at all, but was still expected to attend and have my game face on. That makes a big difference. c.) Top that all off with the fact that I really like my job now, and the whole world has changed.

So, yes, some things have suffered. The blog for one. Dad, your website for two. I ain’t seen Georgie or Hillman in weeks. There’s been a bunch of movies I’ve wanted to see, and my TV sports watching has fallen off dramatically.

At least, with ye olde birthday coming up, I should be able to catch up with just about everyone then. For anyone that hasn’t heard, I’m heading to Busters on Broadway on my birthday (6:30pm, Saturday the 24th) for finger steaks and beers. Anyone and everyone are welcome to stop by, even if only to have a drink and laugh at me for getting old.

And if you think I’m not looking forward to a most relaxing Thanksgiving, hanging out at the parents, watching football, drink in hand, before gorging myself on mom’s excellent dinner, you’re crazy.

Stay tuned.  Maybe I’ll get a few spare seconds to write some more. No guarantees.