We just returned from a great vacation last night, and I’m finally going through about 300 emails, the ones I deleted from the Blackberry while away (I answered the most pressing ones at night).

I’m still in vacation mode. That’s not easy considering it was 95 degrees when we left Florida and we arrived home in a 29 degree semi-blizzard; it took us almost two hours to drive home from Denver. I don’t understand why it’s always snowing when we get back from vacation – the last 3 years. It’s ridiculous.  And today the high here was 30. Brrr.

Anyway I’m reviewing lots of emails. A number of requests for new work or updating older sites from existing customers. At least three quote requests for Monday, and a few more later in the week. I have one gigantic project, a number of medium-sized ones nearing completion, and a few new ones starting up in the next three weeks.

There’s an awful lot of work to be done, and a lot of it is, well, somewhat monotonous. It’s easy stuff, especially the development side. But I was just thinking about that as I unpacked souvenirs from Disney World. I don’t deny I got some interesting design ideas by being there for a week…

So I was just thinking as I wade through these new work requests – why does that development work have to be boring? Just because I can crank it out without thinking, do I have to do that?

The answer is no, I really don’t. I think that I can enliven some of the ‘easy’ stuff by looking for new ways to do familiar things. For instance – the ubiquitous gallery slideshow script. There are a few that I use a lot, for WordPress or HTML sites  (Slideshow2, Plogger, Highslide, SimpleViewer, SmoothGallery, and many small CSS-only or CSS-and-jQuery offerings). But I’m always on the lookout for a new gallery appropriate to a specific project and I’ve collected several dozen, any of which might be useful at one time or another. That list is always growing – I have a new one I’ll be trying out this coming week.

I think I’ll be trying to use that kind of expansive thinking the next time I have a task come up that I normally wouldn’t think twice about. It will help me by being fun (always fun) and giving me a broader collection of tools and techniques to draw on. I don’t know why I haven’t been doing this more – maybe it took a break from work to see the opportunity.

Great talk on user experience design by Ron Zasadzinski and Scott Ackerman tonight at Fort Collins Internet Pros‘ Entrepreneurial Track meetup. There were about 30-35 people, a typical showing for most of this year.

Ron, Laurie Macomber and I founded FCIP in February 2008 because at that time, there wasn’t a local group for Fort Collins-area web designers, developers, writers, programmers and marketers. We had five members at the first meeting and now have over 220 members throughout Northern Colorado from every web-related discipline you can imagine.

If you’re a web pro (or an aspiring one) in Fort Collins-Loveland-Windsor-Greeley, come check us out. The next meeting is on October 8th in downtown Fort Collins.

I started off the day planning to get some work done on three projects.

The first one – I got nothing done. I’m still waiting on an answer about the menu from the designer. I could have worked on the rest of the page, but I want to make sure I’m clear about that menu first.

The second one – I had a couple of emails from the client about little tweaks. I didn’t hear back from the last reply, and I really don’t want to move forward the remaining templates until those little things are worked out because I’ll be repeating work.

The third one – a big Joomla project – I was cruising along on that one until about 12:15 when I tried to save a change in a component and Firefox said ‘no.’ Actually what it said was ‘cannot connect to server.’

Puzzling. Looking around a bit I discovered that I suddenly had no access at all to any of my sites or my clients’ sites at HostGator.

I got into chat with HostGator tech support and discovered that he could see all those sites. I checked my laptop – again, ‘cannot connect to server.’

I went down into the Basement of Large Spiders and rebooted the modem. Back upstairs in the office, I rebooted my computers. Still not able to connect. So I called Comcast and was told they’d check it out but it could be 72 hours before I got a response.

You’re kidding me, right? That’s not very Comcastic.

I got on Twitter and mentioned my problem. Five minutes later a Comcast rep contacted me and had me email my problem details to her.

In the meantime I submitted a ticket at HostGator and heard back about 15 minutes later. The problem turned out to be on their end, not Comcast’s (very unusual) and involved an IP address in their firewall.

So anyway, by about 2:10 this problem was resolved and I could get back to work – only I had a doctor’s appointment. I wound up not getting home until around 3:45 and then got sidetracked again and wound up writing up a quote rather working on one of those projects.

Sigh. I hope tomorrow is less eventful, but I kind of doubt it will be. I have a 2-hour meeting in the morning at 7:30, then I have to train a client in New York on the use of Contribute. Busy busy.

I finally broke down and got a Twitter account for NOCO Hosting (@nocohosting.com). And I just built a little Twitter background for it too.

I’m not sure how I’m going to use this – I can see using it for alerts and service updates, maybe special promotions, but I wonder how other hosting companies use Twitter… Other than spamming for business. I don’t intend to do that.