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Working out Volo

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User offline. Last seen 12 years 2 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2006-03-10
AM = Affiliate Marketing.

AM = Affiliate Marketing. One of its strongest proponents is Jeremy Shoemaker.

BTW, I landed another phase II after my current gig. So that makes 3 gigs in total before Jan 15 when I think I'll have those finished. I'm still looking for other gigs will I try to scale up the AM pyramid.

User offline. Last seen 12 years 2 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2006-03-10
It's been tough the last

It's been tough the last couple days. My wife has gone from being depressed by sitting idle in the house and saving money, to being supportive. I had to cave today for her today and let us eat Japanese (the budget kind) and watch the new Nicholas Cage treasure movie with some popcorn, and I bit my nails thinking about cash. I need to overdose again on the motivational vids on YouTube.

I've been nervous the last couple days about my current client, wondering if he's turned off by my questions, or my style, or the fact that his project is so hairy right now that I'm still whiteboarding stuff and making small proof of concept classes. Luckily with a little prodding he answered all my questions today, told me finally had the time to download Milestone and review the coding style, and said he's pleased with how I work and think, and that he's interested in me not only for this project, but Phase 2 of this project and on future PHP/MySQL projects. God bless this client's very soul! My client was just a little busy with relatives for the Christmas season and couldn't get back to me. It's in his best interest to do so, however, because we have to get this project done on Dec 31 if we can, hopefully not running over by more than a week.

Looking at the code I'm inheriting on the project, it's a bit of a hack. The previous programmer walked away and I don't even want to ask why. Besides, I need the money like real bad. Anyway, some areas are nicely done, while others are very confusing and look like an unseasoned programmer attacked it. So, I got agreement, and I'll admit it's a risk for us, but he's going to let me rewrite it based on previous code and previous functional spec docs (there are several of them along with test results and answered questions).

I'm nervous about the code, but then again, I've been pulling rabbits for a decade now. Hopefully in 10 days I can write an entire sales campaign tracking system almost from scratch. Luckily the owner wants me to return everything in DIVs and leave the CSS to his designers who will attack my Smarty templates -- that shaves a little time off.

As for AM, my wife and I did that a little but we're finding a lot of rules and things to read or one could get banned, which we don't want. Most people are telling us to purchase domains and park them at my hosting site, but I don't even have enough cash for that at this point. Somehow, we'll find a way to break into AM and move up the pyramid with it.

User offline. Last seen 7 years 27 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2007-02-26
That's a wikipedia entry for

That's a wikipedia entry for Holy_Crap_Curb_The_Pressure right there.

Don't get me started on the women and their spending compulsions. It was recession-ridden early eighties Ireland and a poor divil up the road was made redundant. His wife instantly broke mach 2 down to the bank, withdrew 90% of their deposits and spent it on curtains and carpets. Quizzed by Mrs Molloy hanging out the washing over the back wall in a winteresque fog of cigarette smoke, she explained "If I don't get them now God knows when I will, he'd sit back and live off the savings. This way he'll have to get another job." Hello! Earth to nurse ratchet, recession, 22% unemployment, cuckoo. I don't know how long it took him to get another job, but soon after he quit his job as her husband.

That's an extreme case and at the other end us men can be intolerable disiplinarians, sometimes that needs to be balanced with a bit of feminine humanity.

So it won't be splash the cash this Christmas and you can't give a lot of time for the family. When you do have time, forget completely about work and money. Count your blessings, focus on being caring and having fun, how are they doing, new recipies, great skateboard experiences, all that good stuff which I really love because it makes everyone feel great and important but it doesn't touch the accounts! Mwaha etc.

User offline. Last seen 12 years 2 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2006-03-10
Facebook apps, too?

After looking at my current client's project, I realized that it was a major hack, has major issues, but the functional specs are fairly clean (once some questions were answered) and the scope of those specs is not that major. So, I decided it was best to take apart the engine in the kitchen, so to say, and rebuild her again. Now I have parts everywhere and I'm a bit nervous the customer will be pleased, but I hope he likes it when done. I'm on an extremely tight deadline of Dec 31, and will be working day and night through the holidays with very brief breaks. This is going to be the hardest $1K I've ever had to do in my life. I'm helping him out because he's a nice guy, his programmer left him, he promised a customer something he realized he couldn't pull off in that short of time, and I'm like his only hope. Good thing I've been doing this awhile. He's also hoping to get me on follow-on work, but I've kind of gotten to the point where I'd like to shoot for $3K and 2 week phases, or $4K and 3 week phases. I just can't work for less right now -- I'm in a bind.

So then another project is brewing. I'm sort of frightened of it, but I'll give it a go. It's a Facebook gadget app and most of those use a good bit of Flash. (I don't really know Flash, so I'll have to ask them to outsource at least that part.) I'm not entitled yet to say what kind of Facebook gadget it is because of client secrecy, but it's going to have ads on it and it's going to be marketed to the USA, perhaps internationally eventually. This thing could stand to make a lot of cash for the contract owner, and the biggest problem the owner will have is in trying to get the thing to scale. I've got a good bit of experience with designing web apps for web farms, and failover clustering, so at least that's a good thing. Off the cuff, I'm thinking I'm going to need 1.5 months before a decent prototype could even get out, and someone else will have to do the Flash. Then, we're probably going need about 2-3 more months to work out the kinks so that we have 99% uptime and can scale.

It may look great that I have all this work now, but:

* One project is low budget right now, and that's the only sure-fire thing I have at this point. Everything else is speculation. It's a good speculation, but speculation.

* Once I get rolling, it's going to be too much work.

* There's risk that if I can't meet obligations on both projects by their due dates, I get $0. On the Facebook one, I'm going to ask for $1K upfront and then the remainder I hope to get paid out in quarters (25% payment for 25% work).

* I'm nervous about making an app that can scale to the hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of users that could be hitting the Facebook gadget.

The good news, is, however, that if I pull these two gigs off and continue work in follow-on phases, I might be financially sound, or even better than that, for at least 4 months.

User offline. Last seen 10 years 34 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2005-05-29
Facebook and Flash

Flash is not a requirement for a Facebook application. You can probably do it without Flash (which would simplify things for you and get rid of the reliance on nonfree software).



User offline. Last seen 12 years 2 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2006-03-10
Ah, but many of the Facebook

Ah, but many of the Facebook apps that are successful use it. Not that I'm thrilled about that, though -- it being proprietary and all. Now, if I could simply use a rich interface like AJAX and HTML 5 (when that ever gets off the ground), I'd use that instead.

User offline. Last seen 10 years 34 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2005-05-29
not really

Actually, not really. Flash on Facebook is mostly used for the video player (which you can get around by easily grabbing the FLV from the source) and graphs (which could by done much more simply with <div>s of specific heights or widths).

Unless you're talking about those things that are just Flash games hosted by Facebook.



User offline. Last seen 12 years 2 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2006-03-10
People Can Be Rude

I have one great client I'm working with now, but another one who responded to me today was rather rude and I'd like to talk about him.

First, the guy sees that I'm out of work in a forum and wants to offer some work building a Facebook app. Fantastic. Then I see his site and see he has references listed on it. I can't tell how big of an operation he has, but my thoughts are that if you build a Facebook app, you're sucking from a firehose. I mean, it could literally have thousands of simultaneous connections and be swamped. He had asked for me to come up with a cost/timeline, and complained about outrageous rates from others, but I still needed to know where he wanted to go with this and give him a realistic cost/timeline. Again, I didn't know how large or small he was, whether he was fed on venture capital or not, whether he was envisioning a team of programmers or just someone to knock out a prototype.

Sound fair? I thought it was. However, his reply back had phrasing like:

"I don't mean to be rude"

"Excuse me for being blunt"

"So, I don't know how or if we even proceed here. Our "team" for this is whatever developer we hire. There are no other team members besides the guy coding the app and ____ and I to answer questions. We just thought maybe you would be a good person to outsource this to, as you were in need of work and appear qualified. But now, I am wondering if you are "over-qualified" and thinking "too big"."

Now, honestly, how the heck would I know I would get this kind of response back on a fair question?

Unfortunately for me, I need the work soooooo badly. My current client's gig ends on Jan 1 and I need something after that. I am a very nice guy and don't like to retaliate, be mean, or live in a gruff world like this person appears to live in. So, crossing my fingers, I am blindly going forth here to give him an cost/time estimate on a prototype and hope that our relationship repairs itself over time.

You know, I walked out of my day job after being overworked, and knew that I could get PHP/MySQL/PostgreSQL/SQLite work from home at $2000+ a gig, but it really hurts in the gut when one gets an email from someone when you ask a decent fair question. I mean, how the heck was I to know he only wanted a prototype? How the heck was I to know that he was only a two-man operation?

I guess from now on, I'll just assume that all exotic projects on new platforms, like a Facebook app, are prototype projects and I shouldn't even ask.

User offline. Last seen 12 years 2 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2006-03-10

Loose thoughts:

Out of the blue from a resume I sent off in the middle of last year, Canonical (makers of Ubuntu) called me up for an interview. I have that today. We'll see how that goes.

Finished a $1K PHP/MySQL project in two weeks that I got simply by having my F/OSS out there. Sure, it was for separate work than my F/OSS, but it impressed the client enough to want to contact me. My client actually went through the source of Volo Milestone and loved the simplicity and consistency of it's design.

I've been making strides into Affiliate Marketing (AM) now, making good friends, getting fantastic sneaky (although legal) advice. If you're looking for cash, google on that, join several forums, and start asking questions. There's plenty of free help and videos to go around. I just have to mingle in AM. I mean, unless I want to continue to "hunt for food" (search for PHP/MySQL projects) forever, I need something to ride me through the tough spots. As well, AM is a natural thing for a PHP/MySQL developer. One AMer I made friends with was in a divorce in 2006 and also refused to go back to work. So, with $72K necessary to finish off the divorce, he did AM from home. He managed to pay that debt down. In 2007, he made enough cash to pay off his house. Here it is 2008 and he's ramping up to the point where he can start giving AM workshops and several people seek him out to endorse their AM products.

I've learned that AMers love to hire PHP/MySQL programmers for mashups with RSS feeds, and they want a Web 2.0 look. However, AMers are a tense, fast-paced group who do not understand programming and just want to pay for $500 prototypes that are whipped together in draft in 15 days and final form in 30 days. But final as in prototype final, not as in this thing can scale and won't get hacked kind of final. So, when working with AMers, keep that in mind. They can be brash, rude, and abrasive, but it's all about them being on the constant go with hundreds of projects in the pipeline and plenty of risk. The key thing on these projects are to keep them simple, make them look fantastic, whip them together super fast, keep your code so that you can do another one really fast for another client with some code variation, and try to do seven to ten of these a month in order to pay your mortgage and other bills. Otherwise, look for more lucrative clients from non-AM-type people. To me, I think mixing the two client types is key to one's survival.

I love working in my sweatpants from home, being my own boss, carving out my own destiny. My health has improved somewhat. My wife has had trouble supporting me, but now that the cash is coming in, and now that I have at least 3 months of "safety cash", she's standing behind me now. She's also helping out with the AM work and she calls it "fun".

I'm thinking of building a delicious reddit-knockoff that is simpler, scrolls off old data, only has a vote-up button instead of a vote up/down, and which automatically looks at the percentages of keywords or tags in the content on pages to determine whether they should go under Vids, Pics, NSFW, or Articles. People will submit and classify the info initially, but a check on the type of info will occur to see if it belongs in another folder. Users can then comment in a threaded way but any topic won't store more than 200 512 char comments or 100 1024 comments and, as well, no topic will last more than 5 days in the system. Meanwhile, every page will have text-based ads on them in a non-obnoxious way. I'm even going to use frames (ala when people click the links so that I can continue to show them an ad. It will also have certain pieces of code to control the mayhem, such as temporary IP blocking, etc.

User offline. Last seen 12 years 2 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2006-03-10
That interview went well, at

That interview went well, at least in my mind. The interview was a mix of questions like...

...followed by a question about the types of RAID, drive types, which is best, some interesting command-line questions, and a long acronym quiz. We both got a laugh out of the acronym quiz because I was like the only one he's interviewed so far who knew every one of them. When he ran out, I joked, "No, please go on. This is fun."

It lasted for an hour. I expect the next interview will be a lot tougher because it will involve the nuts and bolts command-line stuff that is expected of the job. In this case, it's Linux sysop work like using rsync, subversion, rrdtool, Cricket, MRTG, and so on.

As for general Linux command-line stuff, I think a Linux certification exam book would be a big help, as well as query in Google on the kinds of things that one can get tripped on with ordinary commands we use in Linux every day.

I was honest in that there were some things I had not focused on in a few years because my previous employer assigned them to someone else.

If I could change anything, it would have been to have made my resume and cover letter far shorter -- people just don't have time to read all that verbiage and I overdid it somewhat. Perhaps it was the English major in me.

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