Thursday, October 18, 2012



Tuesday, November 2, 2010


 Tix-Comix is a new webcomic to hit the scenes.  It was launched not with a bang, but with kind of a stifled whimper, at some unspecified time this past summer 2010.  

Tix-Comix is the brainchild of Colleen Dick, who used to draw her silly little doodles at,  but who couldn't continue without complete artistic control.  We were lucky enough to catch Colleen one day when she wasn't too busy grilling sacred cow burgers from her most recent exploit.   She graciously granted us a quick interview. We strongly suspect she really hasn't got much to say. 

TRU:  Colleen, what ever gave you the idea that you could be a cartoonist?

CD:  Well, basically I suck at pretty much everything.  So I figured hey, I can suck at drawing and at least make people laugh.  At least some of them.  At least some of the time.  Well, maybe.

TRU:  What are your toons about, Colleen?

CD:  I would call them semi-autobiographical.  Stuff that has happened to a bizarre eclectic group of characters, mixed with a healthy dose of fiction.  All the fiction, ummm.... you know, it could have happened. 

TRU:  Who are your toons especially aimed at?

CD:  (Laughs)  well, unfortunately I seem to have cornered the market for people who don't read webcomics.  Yeah, that's who it's aimed at.  Those are my people.  Not your typical 20 somethings. 

TRU:  So how do you make your comics?  Surely a web geek such as you must have some automatic process. 

CD:  No, drawing toons that pass muster with me just doesn't scale.  I just draw it on paper, scan it and clean it up in GIMP.  It's not a very interesting process, really.  

TRU:  What is your favorite toon you've done so far?

CD:  The one where Tix's best friend gets biceps from her boxing workout.  OK, now, if you'll excuse me, I sense a large fake sacred cow coming from the southeast.  I have to go vanquish it now. 

TRU:  OK,  Well, thanks a lot. 

Monday, June 2, 2008

Free Blogging Course

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.

Yeah I really will let y'all know what I think.

Monday, May 19, 2008

New Entrecard Features

Entrecard made a major improvement today. Now you can have multiple blogs in the same account.
Each one has its own credits, but you can transfer credits easily from one to the other. They have also made multiple smaller improvements to the site, such as letting you choose between view profile and go straight to site. They also have added a RSS feed for your top droppers.

This is good news for me, and the timing is also good, as I'm in the process of decommissioning this blogger blog and factoring it into more targetted focused blogs.

Entrecard also have just published an Ebook that explains their service including these new changes.

After being in Entrecard for about a month what do I think? I think it generates a tremendous high bounce rate while inflating your visitors statistics. Most people just drop and run, and I'm sure that there's an auto dropping script that people won't publically admit to using. However if you take time to smell the roses you find some interesting blogs in among all the crappy ones and you might get a few subscribers.

What more does entrecard need? A ban list and an expand the top droppers.
The ban list would just flag that blog and remove it from my automatic list of tops if it was there.. After visiting a particular blog I decide I really hate it and never want to drop on it or see it again, let alone advertise on it. If I try to it says you have banned "Charlie's Crap Blog" Do you wish to unban it now? and if you did it would not be banned any more. Your drop list could go through and automatically open 10 blogs at a time, and it would also keep track of where you are.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

My own wordpress blog(s)

This blog is going to fade into obscurity to be replaced by my new collection of
mini-blogs under the cool domain of ( Well, if you're a dork like me you think that's
cool.) I am just testing the trackback system with this post. The miniblogs I have so far are

I haven't styled them yet, they are all on the Wordpress default for the moment.
Best thing is, they are all running in a single database on a single copy of the wordpress software.
I've populated some of them selectively with posts from this blog.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Be nice to your System Admin

My plans to post a Geeky Goodness series have been seriously derailed by..... well, let's just call it a "situation." I have no desire to rant on about how horribly I've been treated, or how the whole situation is so incredibly stupid that if it hadn't f**cked[FOOTNOTE] me royally it would be hilarious. I know you don't care.

Meanwhile ..... I have no desire to turn my blog into one of those collections of other people's youtube videos that's otherwise content free. But once in a while among all the crap on youtube I find a well done vid that makes a clear point. I enjoyed this vid and thought you might too. I found it on AsktheAdmin. Of course he didn't create it either, but I like his sense of humor.

[FOOTNOTE]If you read my blog regularly you know that I rarely use vulgar language or obvious censored versions of it. When overused, vulgar language becomes a form of hyperbole that impedes communication. But sometimes there is no other word. When I use it I mean it.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Something about me a normal Google won't find

At Portland Barcamp this weekend, I caught the tail end of a session on patents. I didn't know that Google has put all patents online. Sheesh! I gotta get out of my tracks and explore more. If you want to search for patents you go to Google and then hit the even more>> menu option at the bottom of the more menu. At the left you can see a light bulb icon beside "Patent Search" OK... so you just type "Colleen Dick" in the simple search bar and voila,

How do I happen to hold a patent? A long time ago I implemented cascading bandpass filters for speech on an embedded Texas Instruments speech chip --the same chip that powered the Speak 'n' Spell toy. We had to listen to this mechanical voice over and over to test it and we noted that it really messed up certain foreign-derived words that were not in its Exceptions Dictionary, particularly names. Particularly, the name of the founder of our company..... NOT good for demos!

We were laughing at the way the thing pronounced our founder's name one day at lunch. See the patent and use your imagination and you can figure out for yourself what the joke was. I said to my team, "we need to allow the user to add stuff to the exceptions dictionary." So we kicked around a few ideas. I thought about how you would architect it, and that afternoon I spec'd out a rough requirements document for it. It was almost a joke, because we knew our boss would never approve of building anything useful, and certainly nothing proposed by an engineer. We weren't in marketing. All product ideas have to come from marketing. That's the way corporations work. And marketing could not wrap their heads around this one.

That specs document languished on the file server for nearly a year. Meanwhile I was off on maternity leave and had not been to work for two or three weeks. What I didn't expect was a Saturday morning phone call at home from one of the company patent attorneys. When a lawyer phones YOU before you've even sucked down your first Joe of the day your first thought is I deny everything! But he was all about the audio editor specification. He informed me that the company was seeking a patent on it, and as per my conditions of employment all monetary benefits from it would be assigned to my employer, but as the original inventor/designer I would get the honor of having my name on the patent, I remembered having written it, had no trouble digging up the theory of operation (because to me it was obvious) and thinking it might be a good idea. He asked permission to drive over to my house immediately and interview me. Sheesh maybe he thought somebody else was trying to patent the same thing to do it that quickly on a Saturday! It must have been about a 60 mile trip for him, but there he was about an hour later. There in my humble dining room with my little baby, he asked me a number of more detailed questions about how the program worked etc. Based on that he wrote up and submitted the patent in legalese as you see it now.

Well of course I asked someone from my team what was going on. My work mates informed me that this new manager had come onboard and started poking around and found my spec. Furthermore, this manager was championing my audio dictionary editor, had found someone in marketing to determine that there was a need for this functionality, and had already allocated several members of his team to work to productize it. I thought great, cool. Why does everyone seem to dislike this guy?

I soon found out. Apparently this ambitious new manager had initiated the patent process on my phonemic editor. He had proposed himself listed as the inventor but the attorney had smelled a rat. I'm guessing the manager was not answering the questions like the real inventor would. My buds told me the lawyer had been snooping around in the cubes and asking people questions about it. They just produced my original document for him. The name on the document and the time stamp clinched it.

It took months, but when the patent finally came through, the patent attorney took great pleasure in visiting Cubeville and hand delivering a copy to that manager's desk. Nobody told him that his name had been rubbed out and replaced by mine (hehehehe) I wish I'd seen the look on his face when he opened that! Not another word was ever said about it; I received no recognition for it in the company (monetary or other,) but it certainly dresses up my resume!