Developer, technologist, innovator. I love the internet.

June 10, 2012 8:35 pm April 3, 2012 12:35 pm

The Trouble with Magic

One of my favourite quotes, that I’ve posted here before, is:

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
~ Arthur C. Clarke

I love it, because it’s so true, and I don’t think we marvel enough at the technological advancements humans have made over time.

The problem is, if you believe in magic, there are no limitations.

This is a problem we as technology experts come across quite often. As far as our non-technical clients are concerned, what we do is magic. So, if we’re doing magic, one magical endeavour is no more or less difficult than another. You don’t need to read very many “Clients From Hell” posts to realise that is the perception.

Sometimes analogies are used to explain things to clients, such as “building a website is like building a house …”. But no one believes building a house is done by magic. I can imagine that what the client might actually hear is more like “building a website is like building a house, if houses were built with magic, …”

Some people in the IT industry actually like this mystical aura that surrounds it because it affords them a certain amount of awe even for performing the most basic tasks. But it also makes life difficult when it comes time to explain that something can’t be done.

This is where we have a problem. Clients then think, “wait … first you tell me you can do magic, now you’re telling me you can’t?”

It’s important to give clients a little more education, this is part of managing clients’ expectations. They don’t need to know everything (not everyone who hires a plumber can do plumbing), just enough to explain that you have epic ninja skills, not a robe and wizard hat. If you have a “Client From Hell”, perhaps you’re leaving too much mystery in your magic.


I’m speaking from the position of an offender. I’m definitely sometimes guilty of leaving too much mysterious in my magic.

February 28, 2012 3:28 am

Where’d my @treehouse account go?

Yesterday I went to the Treehouse website ( http://teamtreehouse.com/ ) to check for new content. I noticed the homepage had changed, so I was pretty excited to log in and check out any new lessons that might also have been added since my last visit.

I pressed my keyboard shortcut for 1Password to login me in, but I just got an incorrect password message. That’s pretty weird as I haven’t changed my password, and if I had, I’m religious about keeping 1Password up-to-date,

I figure that’s no big deal, obviously something odd has happened, so I opt to reset my password. I enter the email address I’ve been using for Treehouse since I first signed up on November 7th last year. No dice, apparently no account exists with that email address.

I’m starting to get a little worried now, so I double-check my email history to make sure I entered the correct email address. Yep, definitely correct. I see my Treehouse welcome email. Several support tickets, and even where I had my account verified.

I tried visiting my account profile ( http://teamtreehouse.com/japh )… all I get is a 404 page, and Mike the Frog staring back at me. What’s going on?! I had almost as many badges as Jim ( http://teamtreehouse.com/jim ), are they all lost?

Now I decide to tweet and let @treehouse, @ryancarson, and @nickrp know something’s up. I also sent an email to support. I’m secretly hoping the tweet can speed along the support ticket. @nickrp replies letting me know a ticket is a good idea. I appreciate the reply, at least I know someone else knows.

I’ve been following along with @carsonified for a few years now (and @nickrp and @jimrhoskins too actually), and my dealings with them in sales and support have always been fantastic. Other people’s faith might have been shaken by this issue, but I just feel like while it’s inconvenient right now, they’re going to sort everything out as quick as they can and I’ll be blown away by the speed and friendliness.

In fact, I’ve just now gotten a reassuring tweet from @treehouse, “We’re on it :)”

I decided to write this blog post partly to document what’s happened, but also partly because I can’t sleep because I’m worried about what’s happened to my account.


Even before I finished writing this post, my account has been restored. It seems to be a fresh account, with most of my badges added to it today (so I guess I lose a record of when I actually earned them, which is a shame because that’s one of the things that makes them useful), and it isn’t verified. I reset the password immediately and added my billing details. Re-filled out my account, and now my profile is back.

Hopefully that’s all sorted now, though I really would love to know what actually happened there, and if anyone else also had the same issue.

December 19, 2011 9:20 pm

What is Japh getting me for Christmas?

Come on now, you know you shouldn’t ask these questions. You’ll ruin the surprise! ;)

December 9, 2011 5:26 pm



You make a good point there, John. That was remiss of me, please accept my apologies. I am no expert on cats, so I have commissioned this post and hopefully this will make up for it.

A post about cats, by Emi:

Cats. Love them or hate them, I believe they’re destined to become the dominant species on Earth. They have the coping mechanisms needed to survive the inevitable nuclear holocaust / zombie attack / alien invasion. It’s Science: 

Cats were revered in Egypt. This shows they are master manipulators, who could quickly negotiate a position of strength with alien invaders: 

Cats on average sleep 12 - 14 hours a day. A well rested mind can prepare for nuclear or zombie disaster and make plans accordingly: 

Sleeping cat

Cat urine glows under black light. They can set elaborate traps for those pesky aliens, and lead them into certain death: 

Alien invaders!

Cats have a 220o field of view compared with 180o for humans. Their sense of smell is 14 times stronger than a human’s. They can jump up to 5 times their height in one leap. They could outmanoeuvre zombies without even lifting a paw. 

Zombie attack?!

Cats have even taken over the internet: 

Dis bizness be serious

In conclusion, cats are amazing. They will always land on their feet. 

*facts gathered through random google search, may not be reliable.