The Blog of Craig W. Hansen

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How to Make the World’s Best Barbeque - Part One

This series of posts has been cooking on low heat for several years. Everyone who knows me knows that I love to make barbeque. In fact for me it’s a bit of a survival skill. You see, we live in Alabama – a theocracy where football is the state religion. The bad news is that I’m neither an Auburn nor an Alabama fan. The good news is that I’ve discovered an excellent way to overcome the cultural blight of football ambivalence: Make excellent BBQ.

In barbeque culture there is always an entertaining mixture of truth and hype. First, the truth: It’s very difficult to screw it up. Pork shoulder is the most forgiving of all meats, and as long as you get a couple of things right and cook it to a safe temperature of 165 degrees, whatever you try will likely turn out just fine. Mastering BBQ is fun, anyone can do it, and your friends and family will love your handiwork. Now, the hype…

The methods I am about to describe will empower you to craft the Greatest Pork Barbeque in the History of the Known Universe®. Period. If you’re not doing it this way, you’re doing it wrong. I have sacrificed countless hours (and hogs) perfecting these techniques. If you disagree with me, you can rest assured that you are in error. Follow these precepts, my children, and pariahs will become princes, singles will attract soulmates, and geeks will become gods. These are treasured secrets. To keep them safe you must print these instructions and promptly eat them.

Boston and the Insanity of Ideological Warfare

We’ve got people angry and outraged about the racial profiling of suspects in the Boston terror bombing case, and others angry that we aren’t racial profiling terrorists enough. Some folks hope the perpetrator was a conservative white guy so they can justify their hate and their ideology, others hope it’s a Muslim for the very same reasons. Some can’t wait for Fox to make a misstep, others lie in ambush for CNN.

We need to keep our eyes on the ball. We’ve got dozens of people with their arms and legs blown off, and their blood is plastered across our screens. No reason for this attack would be valid, in any case. Nothing justifies this. So why does it matter what the motive for the attack was? Why does everyone care? Because they are hoping for an outcome that validates their hate and scores points for their team in the culture war.

When we get to that point, we don’t really care if anyone loses a life or a limb. At that point, any pretense of compassion for the victims or a sincere desire for justice is a complete sham. At that point, tragedies become opportunities and we cease to be human.

Aereo and the Aerial: Innovation by Loophole

Aereo has figured out a loophole for legally rebroadcasting over-the-air TV onto the Internet, and it has already withstood two court challenges. They do it by installing thousands of micro HDTV antennas in a datacenter near you, and hosting the DVR in the cloud. In other words, you’re paying them to maintain a TV receiver, antenna and DVR on your behalf for $8 per month.

The recent victory in the US Court of Appeals in New York prompted the lone dissenting judge to write the following:

The New Emotional Socialism

The article is entitled “Stop Instagramming Your Perfect Life” by Shauna Niequist, and it has had over 82,000 Facebook shares in the past four days. It’s on Relevant Magazine, which is generally an interesting publication with thoughtful articles. Unfortunately this article seems more designed for sharing than reading. It’s familiar bait, and tens of thousands are rising to it every day.

I say this because I think you could get exactly the same response if you wrote a piece entitled, “Stop Posting Your Bathroom Mirror Pics,” or “Stop Posting Your Food,” or “Stop Whining About Your Problems On Facebook,” or “Stop Posting Political Views That I Don’t Agree With.”

Boots & Roots

40 years ago I was a young boy and I wore this record out - Boots Randolph’s “Yakety Sax”. It was my Dad’s, and listening to Boots made me want to play tenor sax more than anything. I remember soldering wires with my Dad to wire up his stereo, and we tested it with this record. I still remember that acrid smell of rosin paste and the thrill of harnessing molten lead.

Years later when I was a freshman in High School, I thought it would be cool to break that record in two and put the pieces on my wall as a decoration. As you could imagine, my Dad didn’t think it was very cool! It turns out it was very uncool. I sure wish we still had it today.

More years later, I moved to Nashville and worked at Digital Recorders, where a man named Fred Foster befriended me and taught me about the record business. It turns out Fred built Monument Records, and produced Yakety Sax on that label and a bunch of other records I had as a kid. Fred produced Roy Orbison and a host of other legends that were Monument artists.

So there I was in the studio, sitting there soldering wires, listening to amazing stories about Elvis, Roy, Janis Joplin, Kris Kristofferson and others from the guy who made the record I listened to when I first learned to solder with my Dad. Who do you suppose I called that night?

Herb Hansen turned a spry, joyful 82 years old this week. Love you Dad!

Thoughts on Easter

True story: I deserved death, but was given life in Jesus Christ instead. A book that was written thousands of years ago revealed to me the light of the world. And the more I learn, follow and grow in grace, the more I trust in the Bible as God’s word. In fact, I’m more thankful for Jesus than I am any other blessing.

Easter is the embodiment of all I believe in and hope for. It’s not some flannel-board story in Sunday School. It’s blood and torture, life and resurrection, agony and ecstasy. And despite what my college professors tried to tell me, the Easter story is neither myth nor legend. The events of Easter actually happened, as described in the Bible. And it was all for you and me.

When I believed on Jesus, this truth was confirmed in me, as the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead also gave me new birth. So if I desire the same for you, trust me – it’s neither condescending nor disrespectful. It’s because Jesus allows me to love you enough to share the light of the world with you. Please reach out in your spirit to the living Jesus and trust Him to rescue you, just as He has me. He will renew your heart, forgive all wrongs, and reboot your life in a way you could not possibly have believed before.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I now return to my regularly scheduled programming…

Execute

Execute is a great little book about getting things done. In fact, it was written using the very same ideas it presents - it went from concept to first printing in eight days. It’s all about harnessing inspiration to build and ship products – fast.

Josh Long was inspired by Drew Wilson and his ability to build a complete web product from concept-to-launch in only five days. So the two collaborated to write this book to outline the philosophy behind this mode of development. I can relate to nearly every concept in this book and have purchased several copies to give to friends and associates.

You’re welcome. Now go buy the book and read it.

Stuff I Love: DNSimple.com

Sometimes the Stuff I Love is very closely related to the Stuff I Hate, and what I hate is GoDaddy. After managing hundreds of domains with them over many years, I can say with some authority that GoDaddy.com has the worst user interface(s) of any site that I regularly use. Granted they are trying manage a metric crap-ton of complicated products and services, and I’m sure their developers have to live with a lot of legacy code. But every time I interact with that site, I hate it even more. It’s as though Bob Parsons buys up stock in healthcare companies that treat repetitive stress injuries before each redesign. And because with each passing year they seem to invent brand new ways to suck, I have no confidence that they will ever build a modern, intuitive, productive interface. Whatever I may think of their sleazy ads or their bizarre pricing models or their time-wasting upsells or their past positions on Internet policy, I simply can’t ignore it when a product sucks – especially when I’m paying them thousands of dollars every year.

[ For whatever it’s worth, this is me holding back… ]

Obviously, all of this makes it easy to love DNSimple because most of my criticisms of GoDaddy have been answered directly by the DNSimple product offering. They are focused, they know their opportunity, and they built their site the way it’s done in this century.

So at Platfor.ms we recently transferred over 20 domains to DNSimple, with more to come soon. Here are some reasons why: