The 6 Rituals of Working from Home

My current job as an “Enterprise Architect” has my place of work officially listed as my home, although I’m regularly out visiting clients. I share that home with my wife, 3 sons and a cat (the cat is the only one with me in the daytime). As a relative newcomer to the home-working scene, I thought it would be interesting to share my experience over the last year in how I’ve adjusted to this new way of working. I was inspired by one of Scott Hanselman’s tweets around going for a morning commute even if you work from home:

Now, I’m sure most home-workers will tell you one of the best perks of being based at home is avoiding the traffic-filled commute but something about Scott’s tweet definitely rings true. It made me think of what I’ve done to motivate me to get out of bed in the morning when I could just as easily roll out at 8:55. How do you get into good habits rather than develop bad habits? So here are my personal 6 rituals of working from home.

Continue reading The 6 Rituals of Working from Home

ā° It’s been a while…

This is the news you’ve all been waiting for, I’m getting back into blogging!

A lot has happened since my last post, to me, technology and the IT Pro community. I’ve been really impressed by some of the work my peers have been doing publishing articles, producing YouTube videos and recording some great podcasts, so I feel it’s about time I jumped back in the water.

My blog posts will continue to be varied but will mostly focus on my interests in cloud computing and especially the Microsoft stack. I’ll be avoiding “paid for” articles like a few of my previous ones to keep a better sense of integrity and provide better value to those of you who may stumble across my ramblings.

The point of this article is to give me a kick to actually put some content on here, so hopefully that’s done the trick and you’ll see more regular posts (if I don’t get too distracted with updating my “about” pages and tinkering with the theme/layout!).

For now, follow me on Instagram and Twitter and say hi.

2013 Blog Stats in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. Despite only having 8 new posts I feel like I’ve reconnected with my blog a bit and hopefully will be adding more useful articles on it soon. Thanks for reading šŸ™‚

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 130,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 6 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

My HeadSpace: 2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. They do this every year and it’s one of the reasons I loveĀ usingĀ WordPressĀ as a blogging platform!

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 110,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

It seems like a long time since my last proper technical blog post, I blame OneNote for replacing my need to publish all my notes online! I intended to do at least one article a month but I was shocked to discover I only did 6 new articles in 2012, although I did update many existing ones. Even so, I’ve been getting impressive page views and glad to see the technical articles becoming more popular than fluffy ones (like my old 2009Ā Windows 7 theme packsĀ posts from 2009)

As it is a new year, and I’m soon to be starting a new role, I thought itā€™s about time to share some of my problems to help others stuck in the sameĀ situation. Check back very soon for fresh, interesting and (hopefully) useful articles

The Return of Me: what I learned from my social fast

Last month I took on my wife’s challenge to abstain from any social networking over the six weeks of Lent. Some thought it couldn’t be done but I endured and think I may have come through it a little wiser.

At first, it was a real mental struggle. I can remember the very first day when I almost broke out in a sweat when not checking in to my train station on Foursquare. I could sense the long road ahead and could feel all my social clout slipping away from me. This was no joke and it helped me realise just how addicted to it I was.

Fortunately, the initial day was the only real struggle. I was occasionally tempted by a few notifications slipping through on my phone but once they were all properly turned off it was surprisingly easy to leave it all behind, refreshing in fact.

Continue reading The Return of Me: what I learned from my social fast

Addicted to Social Networking? I’m giving it up for Lent!

screenshot of how my profile now looksI’m sure a lot of us use social networking too much. By too much I mean using it,

  • for procrastination,
  • at inappropriate times and places,
  • first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

This is becoming the latest addiction for our generation, and although not as harmful as drugs or gambling etc, it can cause a disruption in your real life and actually make you less social with the people you see on a day to day basis.

Continue reading Addicted to Social Networking? I’m giving it up for Lent!

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 50,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 19 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Not quite a “post a week” but a vast improvement over last year’sĀ (21 posts and 4500 views). Part of this is directly linked to migrating from the now defunct Windows Live Spaces platform and onto WordPress.

Thanks to all my visitors, I really appreciate your comments and hope you have found something useful, intersting or funny on my blog.

Hopefully 2012 will bring even more interesting posts thanks to my new job (starting next week!). One of my tech resolutions will definitely be to increase the amount of posts I do and taking the drafts that float around in limbo to completed usefull articles.

Here to seeing what 2012 brings šŸ™‚

Testing blogging capabilities – Word 2010 versus Windows Live Writer 2011

I was wondering if Word 2010 would be a better blog editor than Windows Live Writer 2011 (WLW).

I constantly find myself using Word/Office keyboard shortcuts in WLW only to get annoyed that they don’t work.

This is really just a quick test to see the pros & cons and what features actually work. It may look a complete mess once I upload it!

Setting up Word 2010 to blog is really easy

  1. File>New>Blog post
  2. Select WordPress (or another host)
  3. Enter Blog URL and user credentials

Pros (if they work!)

Picture Editing

Photo of me with background removal tool and artisticĀ pencil effect

Smart Art

Word Art

This is written using a special font on my PC.
If Word is clever it will change it into a picture

Cons

  • Only supports categories, not tags (can always do that after from WordPress dashboard)
  • No support for WLW plug-ins
  • No preview option/theme support

Time to publish and see what happens!

Update

OK, so after hitting the publish button I can see a few niggles but nothing major.

  • The photo of me came out properly but before I published it was overlapping the right of the toolbar image.
  • Smart Art and Word Art came out identically (converted to images).
  • The custom font underneath the word art came out in the bigger size and displayed properly on my PC but returns to the default when viewed from a PC where it isn’t installed
  • Basic formatting (like highlight, bold, italics, h1, h2) all worked

Overall, I think Word gives you a lot more power, not to mention better performance, than Windows Live Writer. It could be improved in the way it handles the whole blogging side of things (e.g. hyperlinkng to live articles, updating existing posts, source code editing). Ideally I would want it to have all the features of WLW (or vice versa!) but I can use the WordPress dashboard to easily fine tune things.

I think I will probably use it for all my posts for a while and see how it goes. If you’ve got it, flaunt it!

Why You Should Never Search For Free WordPress Themes in Google or Anywhere Else

Just a quick repress here, I never new a free theme could be so malicious. Doesn’t just apply to WordPress though, could be easily as dodgy in Joomla, Drupal or any “Theme” .

Check out the link below and find out how to check if you theme is hiding anything nasty

Why You Should Never Search For Free WordPress Themes in Google or Anywhere Else – WordPress, Multisite and BuddyPress plugins, themes, news and help ā€“ WPMU.org.

Thom’s HeadSpace 2010 in review

I was going to find out all this info for myself but then WordPress went and packaged it all up for me in an email. You didn’t get that on Windows Live Spaces!

I migrated from Spaces at the end of September so these stats are probably a bit squiffy. I had a great year blog-wise and have made loads of connections with other IT Pros through the various events I’ve been going to and on twitter too. Another highlight was being nominated for the IT Pro Blogger of the Year at the Computer Weekly Blog Awards. That came as a really bigĀ surpriseĀ and thanks to everyone who supported me (even though a did fall a few votes short of being the winner). Hopefully this blog will continue to grow in 2011, become a bit less sporadic and rambling, and continue being of use to whoever stumbles across it. I’m participating in the WordPress Post A Week challenge so there should be at least 52 posts this year.

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meterā„¢ reads This blog is doing awesome!. (Ed. I have no idea what this actually means!)

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 4,500 times in 2010. That’s about 11 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 21 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 61 posts. There were 77 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 7mb. That’s about 1 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was September 29th with 96 views. The most popular post that day was Standardising Outlook Fonts using Group Policy Preferences.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were social.answers.microsoft.com, zdnet.com, computerweekly.com, google.com, and petri.co.il.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for windows 7 fall theme, windows 7 beach theme, outlook fonts via registry, house icon, and windows 7 fall themes.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Standardising Outlook Fonts using Group Policy Preferences May 2009

2

Installing Windows XP over the network using Windows Deployment Services January 2010
1 comment

3

Windows 7 Beach Theme June 2009

4

Autumn Fall Theme for Windows 7 September 2009

5

Getting Outlook 2010 to read your emails out loud September 2010

Ed. Slightly embarrassing that two of the top 5 a for Windows 7 themes but hey, all traffic is good traffic right?!?