Monthly Archives: January 2014

Complexity

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I posted this over on my Google Plus profile, but thought I’d copy it here since it’s a typical “tamra musing” type of thing, and this blog is turning into my musing spot.

There are always some clients who say “but it was only a small change, how could it cost that much?” Conceptually small and time to complete the whole task are actually two different things, especially when you’re talking about any task that involves a modern computer.

Doesn’t matter what OS you’re using, what webhost, what content management system, what software, or what database — in every project there are times you’re either looking at the interface wondering where the option you want is hidden, or staring at the screen watching a save. You need to bill and account for this time, the same way you need to bill and account for finding old projects that have been archived, tracking down the font that only this one client has ever wanted to use, figuring out if the license agreement on the piece of art/set of icons/website allows you to do what the client wants and has been paid for, and so on.

Nobody wants to face it, but there are almost no “just a 15 minute small change” projects in the modern world. Systems and software have both grown too complex for that. When it takes you 15 minutes to figure out where in the interface the item you want is hidden, and another 15 to watch the system process your changes, plus another 15 to double check that your changes actually happened in the document or on the live website, you’re stuck in a world where a simple change takes an hour of billable time.

waiting for the system

Waiting for Godot…er, I mean the Amazon hosted store system to process a change.

Computers, operating systems, and software are all faster than they were…supposedly. But we keep adding layers of complexity that slow things back down again. Nobody wants to create or read an on-grey text-only web page now that we have CSS and screens capable of showing millions of colors, but those pre-1995 sites loaded faster on super slow dial-up than today’s modern sites do on ultra-fast internet connections.

Just a little something to think about for a Thursday.

The Adventures of Maggie Mae

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The Adventures of Maggie Mae

Mags is currently in the area of the house we call Bruce’s Office — his desk might be there, but it’s really the cats’ room. Besides the footstool with the cat bed on it, there’s the little antique chair with the cat bed on it, the two baskets on the floor with soft towels in them, and the two chairs with blankets and well-kneeded crocheted throws on them. In other words, they have their choice of beds, and hopefully they can each find one without fighting someone else for it. And they can see out the window to the front yard, where birds sometimes sing.

She’s taking Lactulose to help move her digestion along, and this week she gets liquid steriods morning and night to hopefully shrink the tumor — I hope it does something besides make her hungry, because she hates it. Really really hates it. Which means that I end up wearing it twice a day. It’s pink, and sticky, and the drop that got in my mouth tasted bitter and angry. No wonder she hides in his office instead of sleeping by me. I’m the official kitty holder, Bruce is the syringe man, but she associates me with the taste since I’m the one holding her. Poor baby.

She’s lively enough to fight us, purrs, and is alert — which makes me hopeful. Cautiously, of course. I’ve had too many cats over the years to be anything but cautious.

My Own Grumpy Cat

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Pets can teach us many things — about responsibility, about love, about patience, and about joy. Unfortunately they can also teach us about pain, sorrow, and ill-health.

Maggie Mae was the nearly 20 lb bundle of grumpy love we got from Friends of Felines in 2005 or so. She growls at our manx tabby, glares at our outdoor cats, and runs when someone knocks at the door. She has always had digestion problems, and we’ve assumed her bad temper was a result of not feeling 100% a lot of the time. She was sweet to us, always, even when she’d just barfed. And she loved to eat, and gained even more weight from when we adopted her. Her moods and reaction to food made it obvious that there was some underlying emotional need, or maybe something physical, that she (in her own determined kitty way) tried to heal with food.

But we’ve spent the past two months having many, many trips to the vet hoping that the latest dramatic digestion problems were just temporary, and that we’d find the right balance of food and meds to keep her un-constipated and eating. She’s lost nearly 10 lbs since this started.

Unfortunately, that desired balance may never happen. X-rays didn’t show it, but our vet was determined and kept looking. It seems there’s a mass, hidden behind a bone so it didn’t show up on X-rays. They’re pretty sure it’s cancer.

Our job now is harder — deciding at what point the grumpy girl is no longer happy, and has reached the point of miserable and suffering.

It’s going to be a really crappy weekend.

My Etsy Store: Frivolities dot net

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I finally uploaded some images, set some prices, and made the store live. It’s at https://www.etsy.com/shop/frivolitiesdotnet

It joins my “never sold a thing” art print shop and Cafe Press store as yet another way to spend time in the hopes of making money. I know from building ecommerce stores for clients that you have to spend a lot of time marketing your stuff to get enough sales to break even, and that making a profit is rare. I don’t have high hopes for my Etsy store as a way to make a vast amount of income. What I do have, though, is the eternal hope that every creator of custom unique items has: the belief that there may just be someone, somewhere, who really appreciates the type of thing I create and who may just discover me. Yep, like everyone else I would love to have a fan.

January Creative Goal Setting

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I posted the following on my Facebook page and have gotten 4 takers so far.

“I hereby promise the following:

One thing I want to do this year is create more. So:

I promise to make a small work of art for the first ten people who comment on this post and say “YES, I want in”. A ‘like’ alone is not enough of a commitment, nor is a comment about thinking Pay It Forward is a great idea.

You must in turn post this as your status update and make something for the first ten who comment on your status.

* The rules are simple: it has to be your work, made by you, and the recipient must receive it before 2014 ends.

* It can be anything art-based: a drawing or a conceptual work of art and anything in between. See how that is? SIMPLE.

Yes, you can be on each other’s pay it forward lists.

First ten peeps, GO!”