Be The Match Registry

Just got an email letting me know that I’m officially part of the Be The Match Registry (formally known as the National Marrow Donor Program).

I signed up a few weeks back when there was an offer to waive the normal registration costs (the offer may still be valid). After a week or so of waiting, a test kit arrived containing 3 swab sticks. I rubbed them in my mouth as instructed, attached the included bio-hazard label, and dropped it in the mail. A few days later I received an email letting me know that they received my swabs.

Then nothing for a few weeks.

Finally, today I received an email letting me know that I’m officially in the registry and am eligible to donate if called upon.

My wife was is a little concerned. However, the website has a myths about donating section that clears up some of the misconceptions that many people (including myself) have about donating bone marrow.

For example, the actual procedure is painless due to anesthetics. No bone is removed, just the marrow. Full recovery from donating is about 3 weeks, but the worst experienced by most donators is over after a day or two. The procedure is completely free for the person donating (except for the time commitment).

Anyways, I’m pretty comfortable with the situation and I’m not forced to donate even if I am found to be a match, so my wife and I can cross that bridge when and if we ever come to it.

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Review: Designing Web Usability

Just gave up on Designing Web Usability. I mooched the book on the recommendation of dozens of smart people that stated this is the definitive usability guide for the web.

Lies! This book was out-of-date when it was published. The guy rants for like 10 pages on the virtue of using blue colored links. Another 10 pages on using fluid-width designs (instead of today’s norm of fixed-width with additional style sheets — or an alternate theme — to help out devices with limited capabilities). Another 10 pages — with charts and graphs! — outlining how quickly people upgrade their browsers and condemning the use of new browser capabilities.

If you are a complete newbie to the web and have no common sense (like the fact that people want pages to load fast), then yes, get this book. If, on the other hand, you aren’t a complete idiot, skip the book and spend your time coding.

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Review: Gun, with Occasional Music

Just finished Gun, with Occasional Music.

This is one of those books that has some clever ideas, a somewhat interesting story line, but part way through goes in a radically different direction. Sometimes that is good. In this case, it was bad. It felt like the author backed himself into a corner and wasn’t sure where to go with the story line.

Regardless, the twist at the end was interesting, and the author’s non-traditional views of what might happen in the future were fun to think about.

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Stargate Universe

Just found Stargate Universe on Hulu.

How did I not know this show existed?! I love Stargate! I’ve seen every episode of Stargate SG-1. I watched Stargate Atlantis before vampires were cool. This is my show!

Anyways, the show seems okay so far. Lots of time is being spent in character and story line development, which is a huge improvement over Atlantis.

Check it out on Hulu.

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Traffic Goals

Building websites is fun, but what is the point if nobody goes to them? I’d love to increase my traffic but it is hard to get motivated or track progress without a goal.

So to give myself a goal and to help encourage myself to promote my sites better, I’ve set up a little feature on this blog that will automatically pull my Google Analytics stats (using some code by Chris Hope) for some of my sites and compare the traffic to the website for the company I currently work for (listed as “baseline”). My goal is to get more traffic for each of my little side projects than my employer gets to their fancy uber-expensive website.

This feature is located above the list of books I’m reading in the column to the right. As you can see, my Fake Name Generator is absolutely demolishing the competition by receiving an astounding 2,435% of the unique visitors that the baseline receives. Not too bad!

However, The Awkward Turtle isn’t doing so hot at 1%. This poor little guy is perhaps too awkward to get going, but I’d love to try so that is why he is on the list.

Why doesn’t it list actual traffic numbers, you ask? My goal isn’t to embarrass or hurt the company I work for, but rather to help motivate myself to do better. The actual numbers are completely irrelevant to that goal.

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