Anyway, things have been going great at Kent Nutrition Group. Since I’ve been there, I’m constantly amazed at how much there is for a web developer to do. But I’ve rebuilt numerous websites in the past year and a half and learned a ton in the process.
But I’m writing tonight to talk about another exciting adventure in my life. Introducing WebDevKev!
Recently, CURE Solutions decided to get out of the web development business, so I agreed to help out their existing clients. This also has opened many opportunities for me as I’m now able to take on additional clients.
So, if you have an existing website that could use some updates, maintenances, or a facelift, give me a shout! I’d also be happy to build a brand new site for you, or help with social media networking for your business. I can handle pretty much anything web-related.]]>
It’s been nearly one year since I made one of the hardest decisions of my life. Closing Backslash Technologies was downright painful; it was a huge part of my life for over 12 years.
When the time came to pick up the pieces — and store them in the garage along with a ton of old computer parts — Sam Boyer was kind enough to help me out. He offered me a steady paycheck and the opportunity to continue doing what I love. I was, and still am, very appreciative.
CURE Solutions has a great team of smart individuals, and I’ve learned a lot from each one. I was also lucky enough to continue working with two of my former employees from Backslash (John Newkirk and Chris Davis) and met several new friends. I also had the opportunity to do some remote computer support, something that I wanted to do at Backslash but never was able to pull it all together.
The time has come to move on, though.
I’ve accepted the role as Web/Technology Developer for Kent Nutrition Group, part of Muscatine Foods. In my new position, I will surely face new and exciting challenges, but the first is leaving my new friends at CURE (at least on a daily basis).
Thankfully, Sam has extended his kindness to allow me to work part-time for CURE as a remote employee. I’ll continue performing my web development and some marketing duties for CURE’s clients while working full-time for Kent Nutrition Group. This seems to be a great arrangement as it will give me something to do while I’m staying several nights each week alone in Muscatine. I’m not naive; I realize that it may not work as planned. But I’m once again grateful for the opportunity.
I’ll write more about my new job later, but I just wanted to say “thanks” to everyone at CURE for being so accepting and helpful to me over the past year.]]>
About two and a half hours later, I was wide awake. =(
So, I laid in bed for an hour or so, trying to get back to sleep. No luck. My mind began to dwell on all of the things I need to accomplish, both at work and in my personal life. I hate it when the week ends with unfinished work. I have two machines sitting at work that I wanted to get out the door by yesterday’s close of business.
ADD Moment: Why is my MacBook Pro running at 169 degrees? Sorry, just noticed that…
Well, at least there was entertainment for a while on the police scanner. A high-speed chase going south on Highway 61 — I picked it up when they were south of Montrose and heading towards Keokuk — ended up in a 10-50 in Keokuk. It’s been quiet since.
Another few things on my plate for the weekend: I’m taking the Cub Scouts to the Lee County Jail this afternoon (in about 12 hours). I’ve never been there (thank God!) so it’ll be just as interesting to me, I think. Also, Heather has big plans for the annual After-Cookie-Sales-Spring-Cleaning. Yay. =(
I’m glad I’m posting this. I really miss writing and teaching; I’d like to do much more of both.
Hopefully we’ll talk soon. Take care!]]>
A lot has happened since my last post. After its nomination as Small Business of the Year by the Fort Madison Chamber of Commerce, I made the painful decision to close my business of 12 years. Backslash Technologies is now just a collection of memories — mostly good ones.
Sometime in early June, the writing was pretty much on the wall, but I refused to give up. Not because I’m any kind of hero or anything, mind you. It was more about being gripped by such fear that I didn’t know what else to do but to keep showing up at work. When it was clear I couldn’t afford payroll, I laid the last two employees off. A little over a week later, I closed the doors for good and moved out the remaining inventory.
A lot of people have asked why I closed Backslash. I think most can guess that money was the main issue; they would be right. I was tired. I was exhausted with worry about how to keep things moving forward. The local economy has never been great (at least in my lifetime), and the
country’s world’s economic problems just made everyone tighten their budgets that much more. Running a retail computer store in a sagging economy with competition from the Internet, Walmart, and even grocery stores, is just something that I didn’t see as a long-term possibility anymore.
There’s a lot more to tell, and maybe I’ll do that over time on this blog, but I’m kind of done feeling sorry for myself. God has blessed us so much and that’s what I’d like to concentrate on from now on.
Sam Boyer from CURE Solutions gave me a call a week or so after I closed and asked what my plans were. I was working from home, trying to maintain repair services for Backslash customers. A few weeks later, I put on a tie — I’m *still* trying to talk Sam out of that idea! — and started working for CURE, developing web sites and helping with marketing.
I thought that working for a former competitor would be harder than it is. It turns out that CURE is full of great people with a similar passion for helping people with technology as I have. Don’t get me wrong; some days it is a challenge. I still go through worry and regret regularly.
And we aren’t out of the woods yet. But I recognize that I’m very lucky to be where I’m at and have what I have at this point. My wife and family are happy and (relatively) healthy; and I’m able to continue working with technology in my hometown with some great coworkers.]]>
Small Business Person of the Year Nominees
Aaron Feagain, Air Evac Lifeteam
Bill Faeth, Faeth’s Cigar Store
Dr. Kristin Maus, Drs. Smith, Smith, & Maus Optometry
Bonnie Howard, The Bookmark
Diane Spiekermeier, The Flower Cottage
Chuck Vandenberg, KFC/Taco Bell
Tim and Lauri Wondra, Wondra Family Chiropractic
Small Business of the Year Nominees
Backslash Technologies (w00t!)
Fort Madison Ready Mix
Fort Madison Football, Inc.
Kempker’s True Value
SunnyBrook Assisted Living
Under the Sun
And the winners are…
Small Business Person of the Year: Bonnie Howard, The Bookmark
Small Business of the Year: Pendemonium
Once again, congratulations to each and every nominee. We are humbled to be included in such a great group of businesses and people. Thank you to our customers, fellow Fort Madison small businesses, and the Fort Madison Chamber of Commerce.]]>
I’ve been a fan of Lockergnome for a long time, and even knew Chris Pirillo when we both went to the University of Northern Iowa. We weren’t best friends or anything, but he did hang out at the computer lab a lot (go figure) and I was a lab supervisor (also, go figure). We talked here and there, mainly about computers, and I enjoyed the conversations even though I found him a bit hyper. =) A few years later, I was surprised to see him online. I even attended a few Gnomedexes in Iowa and Lake Tahoe. Chris has done a ton of stuff since UNI and is now known internationally as a geek’s geek.
So, it’s a pretty neat thing that my story is now on his blog network. Check it out and let me know what you think (either on Lockergnome or right here). Also, please help me out by spreading the word… Put this as your Facebook status or send out a tweet that says:
Check out the Lockergnome post ‘Dropbox for the Divorced’ by my buddy Kevin Harter at http://bit.ly/csOYBF. He’s on Twitter: @TechDaddyK.
Thanks, everyone! Hopefully I’ll be able to do more with the Lockergnome blog network in the future as well. I’ll keep you posted.]]>
Well, I have a bunch of domains that I had every intention of using but never got around to building the sites. Rather than let them wither on the vine, I thought I would put them out there for sale so that someone with a bit more time (or ambition?) can put them to good use.
I’m not necessarily looking to get rich on any of these. It would be nice to get my money out of them, but I’m willing to entertain any reasonable offer.
Take a look and let me know if you see anything interesting. Maybe one will spark an idea for you, too, and jump start a business idea.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with questions or offers.]]>
For anyone that hasn’t been to a code camp, there are no tents or firewood involved. Basically, it’s a conference with a keynote and tons of breakout sessions. I chose the following topics:
All of the presenters did a great job and I couldn’t believe how much I learned. My favorite, of course, was the WordPress session as I was able to understand it best. It filled in a lot of gaps for me and sparked my interest in developing new themes, which is pretty much what the code camp is designed to do, I’m guessing.
In many of the conferences I’ve attended, the discussions between sessions are often as helpful as the presentations themselves. The same was true with Iowa Code Camp. For example, I was able to talk with Kenny and Andy for a while before and after their session and found each more than ready to answer any question I could come up with. I’m very grateful for their time and willingness to share their expertise. Thanks, guys!
I also met a couple of people that shared some of the same challenges as I’ve faced. Through those types of discussions, problems are not always solved, but new perspectives often lead to solutions or workarounds.
I had a great time and learned a ton, and the crew that put the event on did a nice job. I’m already looking forward to the next code camp and am excited about WordCamp Iowa that Kenny is organizing for early August.]]>
Team Backslash tore up the track, until I got *stuck* on the final lap of the first heat. That’s right, another driver (sorry, didn’t catch her name) and I got stuck against a guard rail. Still, I was scored in third place which earned us a solid eight points. The uneventful sixth heat, my second, ended with Team Backslash in a solid third place.
Unfortunately sixteen points weren’t enough to make it into the final race. But wait! I’ve already given you the ending… Yep, I was the third-place money raiser!
The final race didn’t start well for Team Backslash. I drew Cart #7, the same tortoise that only managed a third place finish in my second heat. And it gets worse — good ol’ Number 7 (like the Grizzly Adams reference?) was parked in the outside of row three. That’s sixth place out of six carts for those racing-challenged.
Still, I gave it my all and ended up fighting off a certain Fort Madison hardware store owner, who shall remain nameless. Let’s just call him “Crash Kempker” for the sake of the story. So anyway, Crash and I stayed at the back of the back for pretty much the entire race. And I can thank Crash for my next chiropractor bill. I think the NO BUMPING sign fell off of the back of my cart on one of the first slams to the bumper. Ouch! We had a great race going for the back of the pack.
Seriously, thanks to EVERYONE that donated (there are too many to mention by name here… our bandwidth is billed by the word). Team Backslash raised over $300 for the Fort Madison United Way and overall, over $3000 was raised tonight. Great job to all the racers, even Crash, and congratulations to Kevin Adams from Lee County Bank on his 2010 Season Championship!
By the way, I think the only real doctor bill I’ll have is to wipe the smile off my face. Thanks, it was a blast!]]>
Bring a lawn chair and enjoy the light snacks and refreshments as you cheer on your favorite driver (hopefully Kevin from Backslash!). I’ll be trying to race my way into the finals, and eventually the Championship, but I do have another chance in case gravity and physics win. The top four fundraising drivers automatically will advance into the finals. You can still donate here or on-site at the event, too, in case you wish to take pity on me after watching my undoubtedly dismal performance. So make sure to bring a few bucks with you!
Tell your friends, bring a neighbor, and cheer for Team Backslash!]]>
It’s about as exciting as it sounds….]]>