Random Opinions Uncategorized

Phone Based Customer Service

At some point, all of us have sat on hold with Customer Service and hated it. In fact, I’ve been on hold for 68 minutes right now. This has given me plenty of time to think of ways companies could improve the phone holding experience.

  1. Offer a no music option when I’m waiting. I’d rather not listen to your annoying music and repeated announcements that my call is important
  2. As every English teacher I ever had was fond of saying: “Show, don’t tell”. Don’t tell me my call is important to you, show me by providing good service when you I finally get a human. Please don’t repeat the same canned announcements over and over.
  3. If you really want me to love your company and yell from the rooftops how amazing you are, offer a hang up and we’ll call you back option.

Those three things would make a world of difference in how I perceive a company. What other ways could phone based customer service be improved? Oh, and I finally got a human at the seventy-four minute mark.

One Hundred Meats Uncategorized

Bacon Pizza #100meat

One Hundred Meats Uncategorized

About to try a #Bacon Pecan Sandy that @amungoddess sent me #100meat

One Hundred Meats Uncategorized

Enjoyed the game, and also enjoyed some lasagna post game. #100meat

mostly pointless. Uncategorized

Tweets from the week before 2010-02-08

  • About to try a #Bacon Pecan Sandy that @amungoddess sent me #100meat #
  • Wow, this is Delicious. You can taste the bacon, and it improves but not overpowers the rest of the cookie. #
  • Really looking forward to not being sick. This cold just doesn't seem to want to go away. #
  • #haikufriday Software bugs exist / most not for seventeen years / Microsoft fail, eh? #
  • Enjoyed the game, and also enjoyed some lasagna post game. #100meat #
mostly pointless. Uncategorized

Tweets from the week before 2010-02-01

  • Working on mobile office 35 and then 33. Hoping to get some coffee and reply to some emails before i run a wordpress training. #
  • #CocktailCamp Portland is officially OPEN for registration and presentation submissions. #
  • I thought that when @barackobama encouraged us to say "Yes We Can", the question wasn't "Can we continue to ruin this country?" #
  • @np7776 You also can't run any code that they haven't approved. I'd say it's worse. Apple: Where Freedom goes to die. in reply to np7776 #
  • @Viper007Bond 110mph – 150mph top speed isn't high speed rail. it's the minimum we should expect from all intercity rail. in reply to Viper007Bond #
  • @Viper007Bond Sorry, I'm just having a "tired of progressive ideas being shat upon" kind of day. in reply to Viper007Bond #
  • .@google Docs looks broken. When Signed in to gmail, clicking Documents brings me to a sign in page that refreshes when I enter my pword #
  • Headed to a meeting. Hoping that Google Docs is back up when I'm done. Now time for Blogging on The Bus in mobile office number 72. #
  • I'm against killing jobs, so I'm going to make sure the state and schools don't have to do it. Yes and Yes. #
  • Only 3 current US Senators voted on the current rules that govern it. 97 haven't used Art I Sec 5. Tom Udall wants to: #
  • It's that time of year. Time for the State of the Union Drinking game! #
  • @spohara Do you have a problem with Hung Like A Horse Oden doing some sexting? in reply to spohara #
  • Anyone know who the designated survivor is tonight? (line of succession person not in the capital) I Worry it's Byrd. #sotu #
  • No republicans clapping for tax cuts? I thought that's what THEY ran on. @barackobama noticed as well. #
  • Student Loan Reform. Best. News. Ever. College cost cutting isn't the problem though. Institutions are underfunded. #sotu #
  • Have you gotten your Cocktail Camp Presentation Proposal in yet? #
  • Just saw @AMUNGoddess tweets and am now excited, intrigued and a bit worried. #
  • I need to figure out a way for <esc>:w to save my wordpress post #
  • @kmcdade It enables you to only have the features you need, and not needing to run extra code. in reply to kmcdade #
  • @NinaGoteva What's so wierd about it? It's an asynchronous largely public communication medium. in reply to NinaGoteva #
  • Helping @cobock set up a website. Always nice to see friends claim their own domain online. #
  • @tappenzeller Perhaps it's similar to allowing a wine to breath? in reply to tappenzeller #
  • And Rahm said, like Leo / in West Wing, Let Barack be / Barack. I Like it. #haikufriday #
  • Bacon Pizza #100meat #
Programming Uncategorized WordPress

You Better Know the Basics

When you first start working with WordPress, you need to know that there are five languages you could be interacting with. You don’t need to be an expert at any of them (and in fact can want make amazing sites knowing none of them), but when you want to make a change to your theme or add a feature that no plugin exists for, it’s important to understand what each language is and how it fits in.

To start let’s take one step back and understand that WordPress is software that runs on a server and that allows users to manage content, and the content to be sent to a visitors browser.

Just had to get that little definition out there.  Now that we know that, let’s actually look at the four languages.

HTML – Hypertext Markup Language

This is the main form that the WordPress outputs the content (if we want to get specific, WordPress uses XHTML 1.0 for all it’s internal functions, but explaining that is beyond the purview of this document). HTML is a structured language that browsers can read to display a web page. Content is enclosed in tags that each have a specific meaning. Tags can (sometimes optionally and sometimes mandatory) contain a variety of attributes. An example of a tag is
[html]<a href="http://aaron.jorbin">Aaron Jorbin is cool</a>[/html]
Learning at least basic HTML is important if you want to be able to display content in a web browser. To learn more, I recommend:

CSS – Cascading Style Sheets

As the name hints, CSS is for styling a page. CSS allows you to style html elements. In WordPress, a theme’s style.css file is also the theme’s way of telling WordPress about the theme. If you open any theme’s style.css you notice that the comments at the top are structured in a key: value manner. CSS utilizes the ID’s, Classes and tags from your HTML. An example of some css is:
[css]#header ul{
width: 400px;
color: #990099;
border: 1px solid #009900;

This block will style all unordered lists that are inside an element with the header ID and give it a width of 400 pixels, color all the text with hex color 990099 and apply a 1 pixel solid border of the color 009900.

JS – JavaScript

Once the page is sent to a browser, if you want to make changes to how the page looks, you’re going to need to have the browser execute it. That’s where JavaScript comes in. JavaScript is primarily a client side scripting langauge. This allows it to change the way the page looks, such as by having a set of tabs that change the content of a panel or having an accordion that grows and collapses to show or hide some options. Am example of JavaScript is:
[javascript] $(document).ready(function(){
$(‘#contentheader’).click(function () {
$(‘#contentheader > h2’).toggleClass("hidden");
$(‘#contentheader &gt; h3’).toggleClass("hidden");
} );

PHP –PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor

This is where the bulk of WordPress is written and the bulk of where the magic happens. WordPress includes a large amount of functions that plugins and themes can use from tasks as simple as echoing a posts title to creating a custom taxonomy for posts. If you’ve ever opened up your theme’s index.php file, you’ve seen text that looks like:

<img src="<?php header_image(); ?&gt;" width="<?php echo HEADER_IMAGE_WIDTH; ?&gt;" height="<?php echo HEADER_IMAGE_HEIGHT; ?&gt;" alt="">

The is from the header.php file from Twenty Ten and controls the display of the header images.

To learn more about PHP, I recommend the following resources:

SQL – Structured Query Language

This is the language used to speak with Relational Databases.   In WordPress, this is used to add, retrieve, update or delete a post or option.  As the name would suggest, it’s a very structured language.  You say what you want to do, to which table you want to do it and how you want it to go down.  An example of sql is:
[sql]SELECT `option_value` FROM&nbsp;`wp_options` WHERE `option_name` = ‘siteurl’ LIMIT 0,1;[/sql]
Running this query will tell you what WordPress thinks your site’s url is (if you didn’t change your table prefix).    Some more resources for understanding SQL are:

I hope these resources give you a better idea of the languages used inside WordPress.

mostly pointless. Uncategorized

Tweets from the week before 2010-01-25

One Hundred Meats Uncategorized

Bacon Pita Blues from the Mock Crest Tavern #100meat

mostly pointless. Uncategorized

Tweets from the week before 2010-01-18