February 2010 « Digital Tool Factory blog

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Free Idea #1 – form and maintain a secret society online

absinthe rigI’ve always wanted to join a secret society.  Membership in an organization like minded people of diverse backgrounds (key features of any worthwhile group in my opinion) devoted to some specific purpose could be quite handy to belong to have.  The “secret” angle of everything is in place to keep it small, and exclusive, which is the key to getting (and keeping) good members.  A small group can also stay focused over time.  It’s a matter of quality control rather than criminality. Continue reading →


28
Feb 10


Written By Steve French

 

The start of the Free Ideas feature

I think of way too many ideas for my own good, far more ideas than I have time.  I have committed to the Stronico idea as my start up venture, but I’m going to post new ideas for companies and products here, under the “Free Ideas” category for others to use, or me to come back to in several years.  Expect the first one to follow.

As an addendum, please read the seminal Derek Sivers blog post -Ideas are just a multiplier of execution.  The first business idea will follow soon.

Addendum – one requirement of all of these ideas is that I would buy them if I had they did exist at a reasonable price.

 

This post originally appeared on the Stronico blog – with the absorption of Stronico into Digital Tool Factory this post has been moved to the Digital Tool Factory blog


28
Feb 10


Written By Steve French

 

Jason Fried and I have common ideas

I just watched an interview with Jason Fried of 37 Signals and he and I share the notion (first said by me in 2001) that people in prison are the most effectively creative people in the world (in their escape attempts), and that constraints are good for creativity.  He says that  bootstrapping forces companies to think about what their product, instead of just running around spending money.

 

This post originally appeared on the Stronico blog – with the absorption of Stronico into Digital Tool Factory this post has been moved to the Digital Tool Factory blog


27
Feb 10


Written By Steve French

 

How to automatically start a program in the tray

The Problem: There is no way to start a program minimized in the system tray

The Cause: The correct event is the Shown event, which is not intuitive (to me anyway).

The Solution: Just add in the following code:

private void MyForm_Resize(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
if (FormWindowState.Minimized == WindowState)
{
Hide();
}
}

private void MyForm_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
this.Hide();
}
private void MyForm_Shown(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
WindowState = FormWindowState.Minimized;
Hide();
}

and you’re done!  You can then the start the program and it will automatically minimnize itself to the tray.

 

This post originally appeared on the Stronico blog – with the absorption of Stronico into Digital Tool Factory this post has been moved to the Digital Tool Factory blog


25
Feb 10


Written By Steve French

 

Thoughts on predictable software scheduling

Schedule 2/6
While pondering installing Visual Studio 2010, as well as thinking how all software is moving to a subscription basis, I had the thought – why not do two predictable releases a year?  The first release, say in January, would be whatever new features were in place by that date.  The second release, say in July, would be a pure performance and usability release, as the development team would spend half the year optimizing and tweaking the code, as well as fixing all bugs.  Any new “Features” would have at least six months to cook in the minds of the developers and would be implemented on a much stronger code base. Continue reading →


25
Feb 10


Written By Steve French

 

It’s sad when hold music makes you happy

After being on hold for about 10 minutes now, I can honestly say that Godaddy.com has the best tech support hold music I’ve ever heard.  It seems to be remakes of 1930′s hot jazz numbers.  I have found the tech support to be clear and usually worth the wait.

 

This post originally appeared on the Stronico blog – with the absorption of Stronico into Digital Tool Factory this post has been moved to the Digital Tool Factory blog


23
Feb 10


Written By Steve French

 

General updates in February 2010

Nearly a week has gone by without any sort of posting.  Rest assured that work is still being done – it’s just tedious and not very remarkable.  Our second e-blast went out without incident.

On a somewhat related note, might I recommend Brain Rules by John Medina – it is a wonderful book about the working of the brain, with a remarkable number of surprises.

 

This post originally appeared on the Stronico blog – with the absorption of Stronico into Digital Tool Factory this post has been moved to the Digital Tool Factory blog


22
Feb 10


Written By Steve French

 

What to make of the StackOverflow.com VC funding push?

Much to-do has been raised over Joel Spolsky’s announcement that he was going to seek funding for StackOverflow.com.  The 37 Signals guys do a much better diessection of it than I can, so I will just add my conculusion, to wit:   StackOverflow.com has become the default go-to site for any technical problem for coders all over the world – the more I think about it I think the VC push is just an attempt at attention, and the real purpose is to sell it in small pieces to the programming community.  Who wouldn’t want to own a share or ten of the site you visit three times a week, even if the revenue model is shakey.   Atwood and Spolsky would remain in control, but they woudl have enough funds not to worry about day to day expenses.

My two cents anyway.

 

This post originally appeared on the Stronico blog – with the absorption of Stronico into Digital Tool Factory this post has been moved to the Digital Tool Factory blog


16
Feb 10


Written By Steve French

 

How to write an effective email

envelopeAfter listening to Jeff Atwood rant about email on the most recent Stack Overflow Podcast I thought I would write a quick guide to creating an effective business email.  I am defining “business email” as email designed to garner information needed to perform some larger, work related task.  Business emails tend to be a constant stream of communication between two parties over an extended period of time.  This quick guide should eliminate 90% of problems related to those emails.  We now resume our regular “How To Fix” formatting:

The Problem: People send email  to occupy time and simulate forward motion, and in some cases convey information, but they seldom use email to elicit information from co-workers.  Attempts to elicit information are likely to transmit anxiety from sender to receiver rather than triggering a useful response from receiver back to sender. Continue reading →


15
Feb 10


Written By Steve French

 

How to fix the No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it 127.0.0.1:25 error

The Problem: You have a brand new Windows 2008 server and you are testing your web application and trying to send an email.  Every time you try to send an email via the web application you get the following error

“System.Net.Sockets.SocketException: No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it 127.0.0.1:25″

The Cause: SMTP services are not installed on the server, they do not seem to be installed by default. Continue reading →


12
Feb 10


Written By Steve French

 



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