Cheddar StalagmitesIn my previous post, The World Is Still Spinning, I noticed that I missed posting an article the week before. This gave me pause for thought and I decided to look back over what I have written about over the 2 years since the very first post.

To help me gather together my thoughts on what I had written I thought it might be a good idead to collect some notes and links to the various types of posts I have written. This grew a bit out of hand to be included in last weeks post so I though it best to release this summary of my blog so far as a separate entity. But be warned, even on it’s own it’s quite a long post though…

Anyway I hope you enjoy it and please leave a comment if you feel so inclined…

Starting Out

Originally one of my goals, when starting this site, was to collate information that I might find useful at a later date. That’s why I started off with a couple of posts about my photography workflow. Talking of which I need to update this as I now do most of my photo editing on my Mac.

Next I got really excited about my new sheetfed scanner so I decided to write a review of the Fujitsu ScanSnap S300. This is an area that I now really enjoy and write regular reviews of most of my tech or gadget purchases and even some books that I think may be of interest. Here are links to some of my review posts:

For some reason the last post in this list was the most successful. I think that is one of the few pages that I get traffic directly from search engines. It’s not huge but it did make quite a difference to the number of visitors for a brief period.

Photos & Bucket Lists

Anyway back to the history of this site. Next I started writing about some personal adventures. I started the site soon after returning from a trip of a lifetime to Canada. I was going to do a sort of diary of everything that we saw along the way and I started writing posts for each day of the trip. The fun soon waned as I had so many photos to edit that I never really got around to finishing any of the posts. In the end I created a single post with a small collection of photos (I still haven’t finished editing all of the photos from the trip…).

These photographic summaries, or gallery posts as I like to call them, have become another staple that I really enjoy. Sometimes I find that creating these posts forces me to edit some of our photos otherwise they would just be left in a huge digital pile on my hard disk somewhere. I started off with just a collection of pictures, and sometimes I still do this for simplicity:

Now I try and put a little comment against each picture as it helps explain the image:

So while waiting to finish editing the Canada photos I hit upon the idea of creating a Bucket List to keep track of all the wild and wonderful things I get up to. The great thing about doing this on a website is that once I have crossed something off the list I can write a post about it and link to it for all to see. I feel this is still an important part of my site and I eventually wrote a post encouraging others to ‘Create your own bucket list’.

Surprisingly after the very first couple of posts there is almost nothing related to photography, except the gallery posts. There was a solitary post was titled Why Keep Photos? Photography is a hobby of mine and I really enjoy it. The only problem is editing the photos. There are just so many photos I don’t know where to start.

I had always planned to get my workflow honed and start flying through the backlog. I was expecting regular posts about different aspects of photography, mainly the editing side to begin with. As I still haven’t got around to editing the backlog I feel myself resisting taking too many more photos…

This is a sad situation to be in. I feel a real sense of pride when someone comments on one of my photos but at the same time I feel disappointed that there are so many more that I could show them if only I had got around to editing them. This is something I really need to address soon so maybe there might be a few more photography posts in the near future…

Lifestyle Design

The next variation was my first job I was asked to take on. A simple website design for a friend. I jumped straight in and created the website in a text editor to help me get back into HTML. I learnt a lot from the experience as I was a bit rusty. My friend seemed happy with the result and in return he offered my some money. I came away feeling inspired. Maybe I could earn some money for myself rather than work endlessly for a fixed wage each month…

This started me off reading a whole new type of information from the internet. Areas like starting a small business and lifestyle design. Added to all the stuff I was already reading led me to information overload.

I began to feel like I was slowly waking up and eventually I made the biggest decision of my life, I quit my 9–5 job

I ended up staying on for a few months to help tidy up any loose ends so I decided I needed to do something to help me get motivated for when the day came and I started off on my own. After seeing a few examples on the internet that interested me I decided to start a monthly review. I continued with the monthly cycle of goals and review for nearly a year but gave up on the idea back and wrote the last monthly review in March of this year.

The idea is still sound but I felt like most of my time blogging was spent on this monthly review process which wasn’t really achieving a great deal. For now I am going to try a review every 6 months and see how that gets on, otherwise I may just drop it completely, we shall see…

Something I was expecting to see a bit more of going through all of my old posts was the Lifestyle Design ideas. That was part of the reason I came up with the current tag line of:

Strive for freedom to follow your passions…

To me that’s what lifestyle design is all about. The only real post I have written on the subject is Strive For More Freedom. So even though this is something I am striving for maybe it’s not something I am that interested writing about…

I do like expressing my views every now and again though, as with Be Honest And Upfront and The Importance Of Flexible Web Design, both of which got a few interesting comments either on or off-line. So there is likely to be the occasional post of this ilk. This is definitely not the main theme though so maybe the tag line should be changed…

Clarify My Understanding

While I was waiting to leave my job I looked into a few things that intrigued me before I was to start creating software for myself. Copyright was something that I was concerned about so I read a lot and then wrote a couple of posts on the subject, Thoughts On Copyright and Choosing The Right License. This helped clear up some of the confusion I had over the subject.

The next important topic I covered was Function Specifications. This is an area that is easily sidestepped and I have seen the complications that can cause first-hand so I wanted to learn a bit more before I started any new projects. This was well received and I started to get a few comments.

More recently I looked into version numbers for software…

These sort of posts are important and hopefully there will be more of them going forward, but not many…

I found that writing these posts helped my clarify my thoughts and understand the topics better so I am likely to write more of these when I come across a new area that I know little about. At the same time though they do take a fair amount of time to research the detail. If I need to go into such detail then I will likely take the small amount of extra time to document it so that I may refer back to it later and hopefully this has the added benefit that others may find it useful.

Other Topics

When the time to leave my job came close I started to get a little nervous and even started questioning myself. Then I was convinced that I had to get more traffic to this site so I thought I needed to find a niche and stick to it. This never happened though and I am actually grateful for that as I find it great to be able to write about whatever I fancy. It is a wonderful outlet for me…

So far I have had pretty constant work from my old company and so it hasn’t been as much as a shock to the system as I was expecting. In fact I think I may have become a bit too reliant on that source of income. When I first left I was fired up to go off in all sorts of new directions. As the work carried on for an extended period of time the fire has dwindled a bit. I have done a few things I am proud of like my Ski Pad iPhone App but not as many as I should have…

Another topic of interest is personal finance. This has become more important now that my income is less certain. Creating budgets is something that I have had to get my head around. Then I had to try to persuade Shirley to follow them 😉 Now we have both come to terms with the idea of sticking to a budget things are starting to look much better and we are even able to put a bit of money aside each month.

One are that I actually avoided to begin with is the more technical side of things. I started putting some technical posts on a separate site for a while but this didn’t really work. In the end I decided that I wanted to keep all of my writings in one place for ease of maintenance so I moved the posts back to this site. One thing that did surprise me was that a short little post about an issue I was having about database access in Delphi got a fairly immediate, helpful, response from someone I didn’t know…

This is an area that I want to build on. It’s a big part of who I am and so I want to start sharing quick tips and issues like this. The forced weekly schedule didn’t really sit too well with this strategy though so I sort of let these posts slip by. I hope to change that.

Tutorials

The last area I seem to have crept into is How To type posts. There have been a few examples in my past where I learnt how to do something for one reason or another. Then after a long period of time I would need to make use of this knowledge only to find I don’t remember how and so I have to learn it all over again…

I used to keep a personal wiki with notes for myself but over time I’ve changed computers and hosting providers and a lot of that information is not easily accessible any more…

So when I came across information on How To Create A Simple Facebook Address I thought it was worth documenting it. This has actually attracted a small amount of direct traffic which can only be a good thing.

There have been a few more posts since that I would class as a How To:

I would like to say that these posts improved over time, but to keep to my weekly schedule sometimes I had to rush them a bit. The iPhone ringtone post is the one I am most proud of. I feel the addition of screen shots really makes it simple to follow and would like to try and do that to any future post if I feel that I can warrant the extra time is requires.

As I refer back to these posts regular myself I am getting a real benefit from them so I am likely to make more of these going forward. The topics are likely to vary wildly as they are probably going to be around whatever I am interested in at the time. I would love to document everything I learn in this fashion but the time to do that would stop me from getting much done so I will have to be careful here…

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