I Am Back

After a few days of not posting here, I am back. Every time the new year approaches, I begin to re-assess what I want to do for the year like most people. Last year I wanted to establish myself and my consulting business, get involved in some big projects, and learn more about WordPress. Looking back now, I ended up working on a few big projects, the most visible (as soon as it launches) is Ookles. I had the opportunity to work with some outstanding talent and I learned quite a bit about CSS, Google Maps, project management, contracts, and the art of communication. I also had a great year with my consulting company. I have helped a number of people build their personal and company web sites, and I learned quite a bit by working behind graphic designers for the first time. Thanks to Alex King, I also built quite a few custom WordPress CMS web sites, blogs, and etc which pushed me to learn more about WordPress, AJAX, and PHP. In the next coming year, I hope to improve my time management (so I can spend as much time with my son as possible), release a few plugins for WordPress, and move my more technical posts to my company’s blog so I can begin offering a place of centralized WordPress and XOOPS CMS HOWTOs and tips to my current and future clients. I should have everything up and running in the next few days so I can begin posting blog items: http://www.sdacinc.com/blog/.

great read/podcast.

I took a week off after my trip back east to get caught up on some of my business needs (make new business cards, set up payroll, clean up my files, catch up with all my business expenses/bookeeping. While going through my usual RSS feeds today, I finally had time to listen to one of Scott Johnson’s latest podcast: 20 tips for working at home which was an excellent podcast and I highly recommend it for anyone who is considering working at home or currently works at home. I agree with all of his points and like the “lemon drop” idea. Thanks Scott! I have had a home office now for over a year and until a month ago, it was always located in a spare bedroom. While this was ok, I noticed myself stopping in to check email in between trips from the living room and the bedroom and I got caught up in work too much. After getting tired of always working (ok Amy was getting sick of it more than I was, but she had a point) I decided to move my office in the spare room off the kitchen – not in the the general flow of the house so I can easily work without distractions as well as leave work easier because I am not as tempted to go out of my way to check email, etc.

On a similar note…I also read Alex King’s blog post today: The “Engineering Estimate” which was also worth taking a few minutes to check out. Just about a year ago today I gave a client a quote for a huge project which ended up being extremely low and cheap. Lesson learned. Now I getting better at giving more accurate quotes as well as making sure I have a statement in my contracts that basically says any work beyond my original quote will be billable so I am not stuck eating the time I failed to properly estimate.

Good job guys and thanks for sharing.

[tags]Scott Johnson, podcasts, Alex King[/tags]

cool tasks pro feature.

I have been using some version of Tasks since 2003 and absolutely love it. Not only does it help me organize my thoughts and projects, it also provides me with a searchable database of all the solutions I have come up with for my projects.

For the last several months I have been using Tasks for all of my consulting projects so that I would have a record of what I did/what I needed to do and to have for my clients if there would be any billing disputes for hourly jobs. My clients can log in and see each task request, the task solution (with attachments and links if needed), and the time it took to complete the task at any time. Pretty slick.

Recently I realized that it would be very helpful to have a total time spent on a group of tasks so I would not have to manually count the minutes/hours…so I contacted Alex King and requsted this feature. To my surprise (especially after using tasks for three years now) the feature to calculate the time spent on sub tasks already exists. To see this calculation, all you need to do is click on the right most icon (Show Details) in the parent task. Rock on.

Tasks

Thanks Alex for the awesome software and your prompt response!
[tags]Tasks, Tasks Pro, Alex King[/tags]

jappler.com: database driven (finally)!

wordpress For years I have been searching for a web site solution that would fit my needs:

  • easy to change and edit content (via any web browser)
  • integrated blog
  • integrated search
  • easy to maintain
  • database driven
  • templates
  • able to adapt to mobile technologies

I have played with many CMSes over the years, and I finally realized the power of Plone, but your average hosting company does not offer plone hosting. None of the other CMSes really appealed to me because I had to do so many customizations, and I really don’t have any membership needs, so I decided to look elsewhere for a solution. In my mind I had two options: home made CMS or to do something with my beloved WordPress install. I decided to follow Alex King and to use WordPress to drive my entire web site. I have used a number of plugins, mod_rewrite rules, and some customizations to make it all possible, but so far I am very happy with how everything turned out. I have made several changes so far to multiple pages via my web browser, I looked at my blog via my phone on the train this morning, and am still able to write my blog like I have been for the last year (almost). I had to make a few changes to some plugins to make everything work together, but I learned a lot. I also am very thankful for the documentation available which allowed me to add a lot more flexibility and features in my templates. Perhaps if there is interest, I will break down everything I did so others can do the same.
[tags]jappler.com, WordPress, CMS, Alex King[/tags]