I’ve just started the first chapter of David Allen’s Getting Things Done. Immediately it strikes me as very Zen – it’s all about hyper-organization for the purpose of clearing one’s head so that one can more easily achieve flow at work, whatever that work may be. I get that, and I’m interested.

One thing struck me as amusing. David Allen says that ‘work is whatever we want or need to be different than it actually is.’ And Buddhism suggests that ‘suffering comes from wanting things to be different than they actually are.’

Is work therefore equal to suffering? Sometimes I think it is, but other times, work is effortless, when you crank on something for hours and then suddenly look up and notice that it’s 5:00. This is the best way to work – without distractions, totally focused and in the zone. That’s Zen, and it’s definitely not suffering – it’s more like joy.

I have three business accounts at Wells Fargo. A few weeks ago I was reviewing one of them online and saw that I could get a savings account connected with said account right there, with a simple form.

That was a good idea and so I filled out their form, which was in truth not that long. I submitted it.

Then I had to download and print a few other forms. I had to make copies of my identification. I had to fax all of this to not one, but several different fax numbers. I don’t have a fax line in my office, so this necessitated a trip to the nearest Kinko’s.

I sent in my faxes (paid a few dollars) and waited.

I got three emails from Wells Fargo reminding me to send my faxes.

A few days after I sent them I got a message from a Wells Fargo rep telling me that I needed to correct a few things in one of the forms I filled out.

Fine. I did so, then made another trip to Kinko’s to fax it again.

Tonight when I got home there was another message from the same rep – telling me he’d missed something on the first form and would I mind correcting that and faxing it in too?

I minded. I deleted the message.

Why claim that you offer ‘a convenient, secure way to apply online for Wells Fargo accounts and services’ when you really don’t? There was nothing convenient about this process, and the security of a fax line is notably less than an SSL-using website.

And why is it that they need all of my identification and information when they have it for my other three accounts, right on file, that I’ve had for years?

I’m considering whether to go in to my local branch and getting this account. I know it should take about 10 minutes – strangely enough, this is exactly how long the website claims it will take to do it online…

Today I finished up my five-day stint for TCG, and my supervisor asked me to continue working for them on a 15 hours-per-week basis indefinitely. That’s great for me, it works well with my other client work, and they said they were very happy with what I’d produced for them so far. Good all around.

I got news of this today, and signed up for it.

On March 19-23, Microsoft is sponsoring a live/online event featuring a large number of speakers and sessions. You can attend any of them online; there are several tracks, like any live conference – security, business financing and money matters, marketing and IT.

I know that this will be heavily tainted with the essence of Microsoft, but it’s free, some of it sounds like it might be useful, and it won’t hurt to spend an hour or two checking it out.

The registration screen was pretty nifty – although I did not appreciate the long signup process after choosing my sessions. Typical.

I just learned about the site www.giveawayoftheday.com – every day they give away free copies of licensed software. Today it’s Icon Constructor 3 for Windows, which I’ve just downloaded. It looks pretty useful, creates .ico files and other small graphics from images you provide.

I see from the comments that a lot of people are complaining about IC3’s install process, but it took about a minute. As one of the commenters said, it’s not rocket science.

I’ve been using OptionCart as my shopping cart frontend for awhile – I’ve used it for two clients plus my own retail site.  It’s a frontend for Mal’s E-commerce, which I’ve used since 1998 and about which I have nothing but good comments.

These two work together much like ZenCart or X-Cart by itself, but OptionCart has an advantage for me as being totally based on PHP includes. I can drop a cart interface into any existing HTML or PHP-based site, there are no templates to create.

However, there are a lot of include files to edit. The first time I used it, for a site with about 500 photos for sale, it took me weeks and weeks to get the formatting done.  It’s all in tables (a disadvantage) and I’m a CSS user so that took some getting used to again.

The results looked really good, but I ate a good number of hours getting it the way I wanted it to look.

The second project I used it on was my retail site. Since I’d written down every procedure I used for editing and reformatting each included file, this one was easier – it probably took half the time of the first one, and looked as good.

Over the weekend I tackled the formatting of a site that’s just about ready to launch. I’d already installed OptionCart a few weeks earlier but had done no formatting. I sat down on Saturday morning to start on it, took a break to see a movie that afternoon, and finished it all up on Sunday night.

It looks really nice, and it took me, again, far less time. I think I’ve done it enough that I know where to look for what needs changing (there’s a lot of PHP code to wade through). 

I’m building my first X-Cart site now, so it will be interesting to see how the two compare. I know that X-Cart has many more features, but for most of clients, OptionCart is an inexpensive and very attractive package. Even more so that it’s becoming so easy for me to customize nicely.