Thursday, January 25, 2007

Trillian rides into the sunset!

Well, on my computer at least. Today I work up, turned on the computer, and realized that although the AIM module connects properly, my buddylist doesn't show up, etc, etc, etc.

So today I'm officially "done" with Trillian unless their mythical new version pops out of nowhere in the next day and a half.

I'll give credit where credit is due: like 2, 3 years ago Trillian was tops. It really was the best thing in IM aggregation: file transfers, buddy icons, video / audio chat -- basically it blew everyone else out of the water, because of the features it had.

But networks evolve. So too should the client software, but not Trillian.

"Hey, let's share photos over Yahoo!"

"Sorry, can't do that."

Then I realized that it's a load of shit and I shouldn't be cramping my style just because Cerulean Studios isn't keeping up.

So I disabled the Yahoo! module in Trillian and logged into Yahoo Messenger.

"Hey, did you get my last MSN message?"


Trillian's been sproadically dropping MSN messages for as long as I can remember. The original client never does that. Why should I deal with a client that does? I installed Windows Live Messenger.

That left just ICQ and AIM. But now I've got AIM 6.0 running on my system because Trillian3 flaked out on me, and that just leaves the client running ICQ... a medium I never use but only keep because I might need to find someone from my deep dark past.

Here's the part where a voice in my head goes "CHECK OUT GAIM IT'LL BE AWESOME LOL" even though I should know better by now. Gaim is a minimalist client that supports only shared features across the networks. It's not really an option because I'm a social chatter; I use all those "stupid" features like audio chat, video chat, file transfers, etc. Obviously Gaim aims for a particular set of users that I'm not among. The same with Miranda-IM and the rest of the All-In-One instant messaging suites.

So I've gone full circle: I'm back to running almost all the original clients again. Different UIs, different styles... but for all that, they still work.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Another seemingly useless oDesk post

Been working on oDesk for awhile, mostly part-time stuff -- its proving to be working out better than the equivilent RentACoder experience (not to harsh on the RAC guys, but things get weird [for me] once you start doing $500+ projects).

oDesk turns out to be a lot more soothing a work-environment than the fixed-bid system of Rent A Coder, since it emulates "real life" in that specification changes don't make my face explode.

One downside is that there are not many one-off jobs on oDesk that might take ~1 week to complete. That's not really a problem for me since I'm not picky if a job is long-term or short-term; just as long as I get paid, you know? Small hit-and-run jobs would have been pretty useful when I was just starting out on oDesk, though. I'm not particularly interested in them now that I've established a "quality" (for online, anyway) pay-rate, but, you know.

Let's see, back in September I landed an ASP.NET 2.0 job that serves up $25/hr. Quoth the buyer, "Since you were already light years ahead ... in simply understanding the project..."

Great buyer, by the way -- knows exactly what he wants and where he wants it and how he wants it.

I applied to another job at the same time as the one I have currently, and the guy riddled me with a bunch of .NET API questions like he was trying to strafe a battleship with his Japanese Zero fighter-craft. He totally sunk my battleship because my brain just isn't In The Code unless I'm in front of an IDE or something. Also, he kept asking questions which implied he though I was mainly a WinForms guy (dunno where he got that from).

Curiously, he popped up a couple of times on Skype afterwards asking for a resume' I didn't have (in retrospect, should have linked him to my oDesk profile) and wanting to know if I did WinForms / etc work. I didn't really expect much from him at this point and didn't really persue the issue after answering a few questions.

The job he opened never closed (but he still appears to be interviewing coders after 4 months?!). I never got rejected from the job, either, although 34 other people haven't been so lucky. He seems to be trying to get Professional Quality Work at McDonald's Quality Prices, which in my opinion doesn't really work.

I like exciting and innovative stuff as much as the next guy, but I'm only going to work as much as you pay me too, you know? Still, these guys -- what are they, Styler Design? -- had a pretty awesome setup for their ASP.NET website. I'm still scratching my head and wondering why their tiered an XML layer on top of the ORM (Gentle.NET, NHibernate) layer, but other than that it sounded really sweet.

Outside of oDesk, been working sporadically as I deal with some personal stuff. Trying to get my groove back, but the funk-u-lator is totally busted.

For some reason I'm in popular demand, so I've been thinking of wrangling up my coding homies (still in college / high-school) and pimping them out. We could have an awesome name for an affiliate group; they'd work uber-cheap to get their names out there and attached to some quality work and I'd Get Rich Quick.

Oh, this is a cute story I'll share: worked with a small, recently started firm that was looking for some QuickBooks .NET API integration work. At first all they wanted out of me was research, prep-work as it were, so I pulled a few hours for them, reported back to The Mothership. Then... ... ... nothing happened. Four months passed, incommunicado, and then he pops out of nowhere and startles me with, "You still available for the QuickBooks integration stuff?"

I had to let him down easy with an, "Uh, that was four months ago, I've got priority jobs right now." He seemed genuinely surprised, as if he couldn't understand why I didn't reserve time to work with them on this project, even though four months had passed since we talked about it last. What, my professional life on hold for him?

Anyway, I suppose I miffed him because he Ninja Vanish'd on me and I haven't heard from him since, but I'm not really expecting to.

The firm still has an outstanding balance of $150, but I don't think I'll chase it.

Anyway, that's my blog post.

Deal with it.