Change of Focus

It is hard keeping up the monentum and enthusiasum you have when you start a blog. My biggest obsticle to posting is actually getting it down on the computer. I go through the post title and content in my mind many times before I start typing and I keep reminding myself that I don’t need to write a novel everytime, sometimes a couple of quick paragraphs is better.

A change of career to a fulltime freelancer in software and web development in 2009 has been a welcome change, challenging and changed my focus. After 6 years as a Tafe IT lecturer I am now completely reliant on my skills to find work and earn a living, it cerainly keeps you on your toes. I also found that I felt a little lost, so many opportunities, so much to learn, read, experience. It was up to me to find what I was interested in, try new things and explore.

It has taken me about 10 months to focus and find a new interest and as such a reason to start posting again, I have become an iPhone devotee. In October 2009 I went from a imate with Windows Mobile5 to a iPhone 3GS and haven’t looked back since.
I plan to share my experiences, post tips, review Apps for the iPhone and hopefully enter the field of app development. The App reviews will be restricted to Apps available in the Australian App store.
So there it is, I will start posting again as a iPhone devotee who has just used the WordPress2 app to create this post. Enjoy!

7 Things You Don’t Need To Know About Me

7scraps Two tasks in one

I have been tagged by Sue Hickton for the meme 7 things you don’t need to know about me and thought I would kill two birds with one stone and make this also my 1st task for the 7 Days to Rediscovering Your Blogging Groove Challenge – Write a list. So here goes

  1. I love books and reading but didn’t discover this real joy until after I finished high school.
  2. I have days when I make a concerted effort to not turn my computer on, computer free days.
  3. I went to several different schools including Rottnest Island (off the coast of Western Australia), Derby (North-Western Australia), South Hedland(North Western Australia) and an all girls school in Perth.
  4. I passed the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award while at high school.
  5. I was a qualified swimming instructor before I was seventeen and also an aerobics and exercise instructor in my 20’s.
  6. I still have a soft spot for David Cassidy( my teenage crush) and a recent (past 3 yrs) love of Robbie Williams music.
  7. I have am not afraid of cockroaches or spiders, but don’t particularly like mice.

That was not as hard as I thought it would be and could have easily done 25 things but will spare us all. I am supposed to tag more people to do the same thing but most people I know have already completed this. So if you are reading this and haven’t done your 7 things then consider yourself tagged.

The Hazards of Cleaning

cleaning2 Lost links and confusion

I mentioned in my last post that I had been playing around with the theme for my blog and adding tags to posts, this has now lead to another job of updating links. As I was trying different themes I found that I had two many pages and some of the names were too long and disrupted the flow of the theme. So to solve this I copied all the text from the Glossary page and added it to the Info page and changed the page named 31 Day Chocolate Challenge to Challenges. Then as I was adding tags and changing categories I found links to these pages and had to update the changes. So I was lucky that I changed the names and flow of the blog at the same time as I was opening each post to add tags etc.

A while back I decided I wanted to be consistent in the username I used online and so changed my twitter name to developit, of course through my blog I mentioned twitter and provided a link to “me” , this was another link to update. I also added MyBlogLog in the sidebar. I had not visited MyBlogLog in a while so before I could add it to the sidebar I needed to update all my Services so that had correct usernames. So hopefully that is it and links will all work within my site, this is not true if others have links to these pages but I suppose that is just the nature of the web.

Sometimes it is hard to remember what links I have within posts to other posts but after this exercise I will be more aware of checking links, I suppose link checking should be something to do occasionally just as I do on other websites that I manage but not something I had thought of in relation to my blog.

So my conclusion from these exercises is the same as when I clean and tidy my house, often it is harder to find things when they have been put away properly, when you start cleaning one things then everything else needs doing, but in the long run it is nice to walk into the house (blog dashboard) and see everything in its place. πŸ™‚

Tags and Categories

tags Clean out and Organise Blog

Last night I started playing around with the available themes for my blog, this is fun but also a big time waster. While in the dashboard I thought I would add a tag cloud to the site but as I soon discovered none of my posts had tags. All my posts had multiple categories but no tags, so today the long task started to add tags and change the categories that I had added to each of the posts.

Well this was a very slow process. If anyone knows how I can assign one tag to a group of posts after they have been published please let me know. I had to open each one, add the tags and then save. Then of course after I had done this I realised that I should probably have taken some of the selected categories off the posts, it would have been easier if I had thought of this as I was adding tags as I could have done it all at the same time.

There seems to be much confusing about Tags and Categories. My limited understanding on Tags vs Categories is that Categories should be thought of as the chapters in a book and tags are keywords like a book index. Tags can be displayed on a blog as a Tag cloud, the more posts that have the same tag the bigger the word appears in the cloud. A post will often only be under one category but have multiple tags. There are a lot more specifics about being able to search tags etc that I wont go into but it gets quiet complicated and everyone seems to have an opinion about how to use them properly, just Google tags vs categories and you will see.

At the end of all this I still do not have all my tags and categories sorted out yet, I need to spend some more time defining my category list as this is large and was originally used like a tag system. So once I have this sorted I can start my next challenge I have set myself to complete the 7 Days to Rediscovering Your Blogging Groove and I still have to do my 7 Things You Don’t Need to Know About Me as I was tagged by Sue Hickton that also means I need to find 7 other people to tag so be warned.

Writer’s Block or Blocked Writer?

I have been busy working, working over the past 6 months and have not even spent much time online. I have visited twitter a few times in the past month but not much before that.

I mentioned in twitter last night that I was finding it hard to be inspired about updating my blog and couldn’t think of anything to write about. I had a couple of replies. one from diane cordell suggesting I write about having writers block. The other suggestion was from Mo Kargas with a link to the Lazy Bloggers Post Generator

This was fun and here is my result:

OMG! I just remembered I have not updated this since they let me out!… You would not believe how insane my life has become. Please don’t abandon me!.

I am flat out with discovering time doesn’t stand still, personal projects, just generally being a slave to every man and his dog, my day is full to overflowing from sun-up to sun down and beyond. I am totally exhausted. I need some perspective.

I won’t promise anything to you but I will make more of an effort to blog more often. Truly! Until my paycheck dawneth..

So in answer to having writers block I think it is more to do with needing a holiday and working too much. So after a hectic 6 months and as we start second semester I have made a few changes and had some changes thrust upon me.

Mt Buller Snowman

I have had a fabulous holiday with my family in Melbourne and 7 days in Mt Buller skiing. This was a big change from the beaches we live down the road from in Western Australia. On return from our holiday I came to the conclusion that “Reality Sucks”.

Holiday over and back to work, big changes here also. I don’t have any lecturing work this semester so now need to start getting more work in through my business. This is a bit scary but also exciting.

The thing I like about working for myself is that I get to do the things I love. Programming and I have been also doing some contract work customising documents for businesses. This has involved working on their premises and also from home. I have been making spreadsheets more efficient and in some case instead of having 5 or more different versions of the one document I have managed to work them all into one document with a bit of code. These have all been Microsoft based documents but I am looking at setting myself up to learn some Apple based software also.

So after reading back through this post I don’t think it is so much writers block as the fact that my work has changed and not so education based now and if I do continue with my blog my posts will start to reflect this. So I will probably be back.

She’s Back

I seem to have started a few posts saying I can’t believe it is ……. since I posted to my blog and here I go again. Wow haven’t done anything since December ’07 . I came to have a look at the many many spam comments that have come into my blog and delete them, because of this I have set comments to approval before they are seen. Then I thought I would have a look at what new themes were available and selected one.

After doing this I thought I had better not be so slack and actually create a post so ……. here it is.

I have been so busy over the past term, I have taken on some extra work at TAFE and most of my classes have kids between 16 – 18 who would normally be in the school system but due to one thing or another school has not worked for them. In Western Australia we have a policy where students need to be in full time education or work until the end of the year they turn 17. So if school doesn’t fit they have come to TAFE. Having these kids for 13 hours over three days is full on and this combined with my software development business has not left me much time and as such almost all of my online activities have suffered, until now – school holidays πŸ™‚ the following images sums things up nicely especially with my recent train trips to Perth and my lack of internet access on my ancient nokia phone.

Sounds of Silence

Geek and Poke Sounds of Silence

Twitter Abstinence Syndrome

Geek and Poke Twitter Abstinence Syndrome

I have met some really great people on twitterand facebook and my friends and followers continue to grow. Having these online contacts is good especially when working from home as it stops me feeling isolated. So if you haven’t yet used twitter or facebookhave a go and see what you think. As with most things on a computer if you have a use for it whether it is software, online communities or even surfing the internet you will pursue with it if not you may view these things as time wasters but you wont know unless you try them yourself. Anyway enough chat for one night and with lots more thoughts rattling around in my head I will be coming a back a bit more often, hopefully someone will still be reading this.