The Blog Manager

I know some of you don’t read “The Blog Studio”:http://www.theblogstudio.com/blog blog, so from time to time I’ll let you know if I post something that I think may interest you.

“The Blog Manager”:http://www.theblogstudio.com/blogarticle/the-blog-manager is one those you might enjoy. I describe a new position emerging from the blog’o-wirl: The Blog Manager. Have a read, and share your thoughts. The first comment sure is interesting…

Web Application I'd like to See: Rate Your Client!

Like a credit check, only community driven. Site users could leave a rating of their client upon completion of a job. The ratings system includes factors such as ability to express direction, organization, timeliness of response, ability to provide content, ability to accept recommendations, and more. The ratings would be searchable by location and client name.

This could be a fairly powerful tool; users could rate clients highly, as well as poorly. This rewards a good client by encouraging quality suppliers to work with them. Bad clients may have to change their ways in order to secure services in the future.

The flipside to the site is an open directory for clients to rate their satisfaction with their contractors.

In order for it to be effective, it would need to appeal to a very wide base of users. It could apply to corporations as well as individual freelancers. It would also need to provide a bullet proof liability waiver. I see it mentioning something like

bq. “Our policy is that you make every reasonable attempt to resolve outstanding issues before posting to this site. Acceptance of this policy indicates that you accept the responsibility of posting, and absolve www.rateyourclient.com of any direct or indirect legal action that may result”

Or possibly something a little less dire. Regardless, I’d want to speak to a lawyer to get an opinion before moving forward.

While the name could be rateyourclient.com (it’s available as of 5:30pm est), I think it should have a more universal appeal. Something like Phew!

Thoughts? Anyone up for it? I’d use it.

What do you do when the client won't pay?

My friend Mike at “screenflicker”:http://www.screenflicker.com/blog/2005/08/dealing-with-overdue-accounts/ has a post up that rings (unfortunately) near and dear to my heart.

He describes his experiences trying to get a client to live up to their end of an agreement, weeks and weeks after their site went live. I find myself in a somewhat related position. And I hate it.

The money at stake is not huge – about a grand. But its enough that not getting it will sting. It’s not really enough to pursue through the courts. Besides, that would probably take years. In his article, Mike suggests going to a collection agency. That’s a plan I hadn’t considered.

Usually, I’d suggest pulling the site (not sure of the legalities involved). In my case, the site isn’t up, so that’s not an option. Still, all the objectives outlined in the agreement have been met. I’ve done my job, and I’d like to be paid for it.

Have any of you ever gone the collection agency route? Any suggestions or war stories to share?

A simple global find/replace for mySQL

This isn’t my area of expertise by any means, but I stumbled across a very simple technique today that may very well save you hours and hours of tedious nastyness one day.

The situation was this: I had a table that contained a record with a bunch of text stored in it. I needed to turn _some_ of the text into a link. The problem was that each record contained more than one link to be added. There were 10 links in all, with some records containing one link, and some containing six.

I know enough about mySQL to use phpMyadmin to do a sql dump and run that dump. That’s it. I asked a couple of my buddies online if they could help, and “the master”:http://www.snook.ca/jonathan stepped up. Long story short, we weren’t able to get a sql query working to add the relevant links – I had to head to a meeting, and Jon did have to make a living at some point.

I had backed the db up by running a sql dump (in phpmyadmin, go to export, then making sure both *structure* and *data* are selected, select *save as file* and hit go. Save the file). When I went to restore the data after having mucked it up, I realized that rather than trying to craft a sql query to make the changes, I could just use any old text editor with a FIND/REPLACE function to edit the sql dump.

Five minutes later, I had made all the changes I needed. Next it was simply a matter of highlighting the records and sql commands for the table I had edited, pasting them into the sql query text box (under the SQL tab) and hitting go.

Done, done, and done.

I can think of about a hundred other uses for this. For example, I have a client who’s name uses an umlaut (the two little dots) over the letter o. Their site is riddled with misspellings. Since it’s built using a CMS, I was dreading having to go through each and every article to find the offending character and replace it with the proper unicode. I was dreading it so much I wasn’t going to even mention it! Now, 10 minutes and its done.

Are there any downsides to this? Clearly anything that gets written to the db between the time that one exports the sql dump and runs the query will be lost. In my case, it’s a non-issue. Anything else that I (and my army of fellow db-ignoramuses) should be looking out for?

Expose meme

I think it’s time to start a meme.

h2. Expose your exposé

How many windows do you have open? Are you making the most of your 2gigs of ram?

On your mac, fire up exposé, hit cmd-shift-4, draw a selection box over your screen. You now have an image saved to your desktop called picture1. Open it in photoshop, resize it, and post it to your site. Leave a note in the comments linking to your site.

More on Omni Outliner and iCal

Some of you may know that I’m filling in for Keith Robinson at “to-done”:http://www.to-done.com while he’s honeymooning in Mexico. I recently posted a piece there titled “How I learned to stop worrying and love my schedule”:http://www.to-done.com/2005/08/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-my-schedule/

That piece has generated a fair bit of interest, so I’ve just posted a follow up outlining exactly how I use the system to try to keep some control of my day. If you’re interested, you can follow along and see “How I schedule actions and tasks”:http://www.to-done.com/2005/08/how-i-schedule-actions-and-tasks-2/

A Guide to Business Blogging

Seeing as I’m almost cool, I figured it was time I got off my ever growing rear end and write myself a book. It’s the cool thing to do, after all.

But you’ll note that I’m *almost* cool, so I haven’t written a complete book per se. Rather I’ve written a booklet. Or more specifically, a guide. A guide to business blogging, in fact.

I describe the guide as

bq. One man’s approach to business blogging, in which I say ‘It depends’ a whole lot, and share some of the exeperiences I gained in the journey from non-blogger to full time blog designer and consultant.

The guide is now available for “download”:http://www.theblogstudio.com/guide (1.5mb pdf). It’s aimed at the small to medium sized business owner who is contemplating jumping into the blogging fray. It’s not a how-to manual, rather its a ‘what should I think about before jumping in’ manual.

Frankly, it’s not aimed at you, dear reader, but if you know anyone who might be thinking about blogging for business, would you mind letting them know about the guide?

Thanks!