Always interested to see what’s on Kurt Harden’s reading list.

Michale Wade has the perfect way to focus.

Chair. Notebook. Coffee. Drafts. Index cards. Pens. Silence.

The Focus Formula

Weekly digest

Took advantage of the Easter break and gave myself a four day week this week and next week. I need the extended time off to relax for a while.

Watched two more episodes of The Crown this week. Still enjoying this. Who knew that there could be so much drama in the royal family? Also watched Justice League this week. We completely missed this at the cinema. It was better than I expected. Good to watch.

I made more progress with a side-product. Starting to look more polished and it’s definitely ready for a limited launch with a few potential customers.

Good views while I wait.

Tower 3 beta installed.

A familiar front-end but a little bit more fresh than Tower 2. Not had a chance to use much of new features yet, but first impressions are good.

Great to see @dave’s feeds database is up and running. Not many surprises among the top ranked feeds, but great to see such a site exists now.

I'm ditching Day One

For the last few years, I’ve been using Day One as a digital journal. However, over the previous few months, I’ve been using it less and less. To the point really where I want to stop using it altogether.

Too much meta

The thing about Day One is that while it is a great journaling app, I’ve noticed that I am becoming more and more distracted with the meta-data for each post. Weather, tags, location, starred. It’s all just a little bit too much.

All I want to do write an entry, attach a picture or two and then move on. Day One does let you do this but it’s the meta-data that I find to be too distracting.

The alternatives

Bear is a great note-taking app. I love it.

I use it for many different things, but the one thing that I would like to do is use it more as a digital journal.

I’ve tried to do this before however, I ended up importing all of Day One’s tags when I did this, so I ended up with more tags than I needed. This time I hope to opt out of importing the tags (or try and remove them before the import) and then start from there.

Sunlit is also on the cards as a digital journal, but I would use this for day trips, weekends away and holidays. I’ll be honest and say that I haven’t tried this yet with Sunlit so it might not meet my expectations.

We’ll see over the next few weeks as I gradually move my journal entries out from Day One.

Sustainable living?

I’d love a place like this.

I’ve been wrestling with VS Code for the last few weeks but I just can’t get that efficiency hit that I get when using Sublime Text.

A few observations on the Apple education announcement

I missed the Apple education themed announcement yesterday. The time difference means that I’m always in the middle of something else when these things are announced.

A few observations.

A cheaper iPad?

Judging from the reviews on various tech sites though, it seems people were expecting a much cheaper iPad to be released. Something that competes with Google and Chrome OS.

Well they released a cheaper iPad, at least here in the UK they did, however I’m sure it’s not what the tech sites and consumers were hoping for.

It’s not the first time that Apple haven’t met expectations. In fact, they rarely meet perceived expectations, especially when it comes to price.

I’m always amazed at how well Apple does with a range of products that are always priced much higher than their competitors.

I think the day that Apple drops their prices to that of their competitors is the day that Apple is in real trouble.

Schoolwork app

The biggest benefit I seen from yesterday was Apple’s Schoolwork app. A step in the right direction when it comes to digitising education.

However, given the time it takes for school’s to adapt to new digital practices, I don’t see my oldest son, who starts high school this year, being able to take advantage of this for at least a couple of years.

Space gray accessories

One thing that caught my eye was the new space gray accessories that are now available. Sure it doesn’t go with the silver MacBookPro but the black and gray accessories do look nice. I’m not saying I’ll be buying them anytime soon, but if I’m in the market for a replacement keyboard or mouse then I may give them a look.

I wonder if a space gray iMac is on the cards?

The audience's algorithm

A post over at The Guardian highlights a great idea that I would love to see implemented by any social media platform.

I like Derakhshan’s idea of obliging Facebook and others to open up a marketplace of algorithms: if you don’t like the current social media preference for popularity (retweets) and novelty (“latest”), you should be free to choose a different algorithm that acts on different values.

The people owned the web, tech giants stole it. This is how we take it back

Features for PenMuse for April

The automated delivery of daily writing prompts from my PenMuse website is stable enough now that I want to consider expanding on it.

Cross-posting to Twitter

I’d like to start cross-posting now from PenMuse’s Micro.blog account to a PenMuse Twitter account.

Cross-posting from Micro.blog to Twitter is the most straightforward and easy way of doing it. It’s nothing more than another way for people to get a daily writing prompt.

The drawback to this is that I’m not exactly the greatest Twitter fan although I do think it’s the lesser evil of the social media platforms.

While I am moving away from Twitter, it doesn’t seem right to set up an account there when I won’t be really using.

The benefit though is that I’m not doing this for myself, I’m doing it for others. Others who don’t use RSS feeds, Micro.blog or visit websites that often. Maybe they just want to use Twitter.

A random afternoon prompt

Each morning the newest writing prompt is published through the site’s main RSS and JSON feeds. I’d like to add another feed that publishes a random feed for the afternoon.

There is one problem with this though. Some of the writing prompts in the collection are seasonal, so I would need to exclude these off until at some point they could be considered based on the time of year.

Staying within the constraints

PenMuse is just a playground app. It’s place where I can experiment with a few coding ideas and techniques and see them working in a product environment. I also don’t spend more than a couple of hours a week on such a app.

To do this the playground app has a few constraints on it.

  1. It needs to be free.
  2. It needs to be something people will use.
  3. It needs to only take up a couple of hours of my time a week.

These constraints take out of my hands decisions that would stop me using PenMuse what it is for. A place to experiment with some Rails code.

These two new features aren’t going to give me any problems coding wise, but it’s going to put PenMuse in more places.

Also these features are still small enough that I can do them within the confines of a couple of hours a week.

Pretty good day for Ethan at Eastwood golf club today playing alongside the rest of the RGU boys. Pre-shot routine is looking good and he’s hitting the ball well. Fingers crossed for a better summer than last year so that he can work on getting his handicap down.

Weekly digest

No television this week, too busy for that.

Made significant progress on a side-project this week and I’m hoping to rope in a few early adopters to use it over the summer.

Lots of golf this week with Ethan’s lesson on Thursday, junior night after that, the Scottish Golf Show on Saturday (very disappointing) and both boys had coaching on Sunday. The junior night for the club was a great success and we’re looking forward to seeing more juniors play over the summer.

I wouldn’t mind seeing more split view options in MacOS. I know there’s apps that can do this, but seeing more than two apps in split view baked right into MacOS would be nice.

A Ruby on Rails ERP book?

I’ve been re-reading this post on how to build an ERP sytem from scratch.

I’ll be honest and say that a 250 word post on the topic doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. Such a topic is worthy of at least 5,000 words in order for the reader to actually takeaway something of substance about building their own ERP system from nothing.

Off the top of my head there’s the following:

  • Methodology - Do you go with agile or a big upfront design? You might think I would advocate an agile approach but there are benefits and drawbacks to both.
  • Architecture - How should the application be laid out? A brief outline of the system can save months of moving code about later on down the line.
  • Application and database hosting - Should we host the application ourselves or use IAAS or PAAS? Self-hosting is big cost but IAAS and PAAS mean you have to sacrifice some control of the application.
  • Performance - How do we scale such an application from a handful of customers to hundreds of customers? Performance is critical in an ERP application. Handling vast amounts of data between transactions mean you have to ensure that users aren’t kept waiting.
  • Error handling - How do we handle errors to allow support staff to diagnose bugs efficiently? It’s not enough to report the errors, support staff of the system need tools to replicate and report errors.
  • Code libraries - Should we use external code libraries or write our own? I’ve learned the hard way that some features are better implemented without an external code dependency.
  • User-interface - Do we use a pre-built theme for the application or build our own? A pre-built theme will add the final polish but there will be constraints in what you can do with it.

This is just an outline but I think even just one of these items is a post in itself. Looking at this list, there could be at least 10,000 words here across seven different posts.

I may outline more of these over the course of the next few weeks.

I think I have gathered enough knowledge on this topic to put at least a few posts together.

I used to work for a company that specialised in installation and configuration of Microsoft’s own ERP software, Dynamics NAV and I’m currently working with a client to build a cash management and stock control system.

With this experience I think there’s definitely more to say on the topic of ERP systems and modern technology stacks, especially when it comes to how they can be built with Ruby on Rails.

At the moment I’m just thinking out loud about this but my micro-blog seemed like a good place to put this down / out.

Great to get back out on the fixie today. Blue skies matched the bike perfectly.

Great to get back out on the fixie again.

Weekly digest

Another flurry of snow on Saturday night and Sunday morning put the golf on hold again this weekend. Fingers crossed this is the last of the winter weather.

Last week me and Jennifer started watching The Crown on Netflix. I have to say I’m quite hooked on it. Two episodes in and we’re thoroughly enjoying it.

Human only email

I’ve been migrating a number of newsletters over to Feedbin to reduce my incoming email, but I’ve still got a ways to go before I am human-only.