Baby SquirrelsWith the time I had off over Christmas I was a bit behind on my contracting work. I had to put my head down for a couple of weeks to catch up.

Add to that the fact that both Shirley and myself have been ill on and off this month.

Then a radiator burst in my office which kept me busy for a while and until it’s replaced makes for very cold fingers while trying to type.

Lastly take into account the fact that I am probably lying on the beach or by the pool somewhere in Lanzarote right now…

So basically I haven’t had nearly as much time as I had hoped this month. On the up side though I didn’t have much planned this month anyway…



I am starting to get into a bit of a routine now and I am finding the time to write again. There was a time when I would bat out the posts just in time to get them out. As I am holiday this week I had to write the post a week early. I have pretty much finished packing and there is still a bit of time to spare so there is still hope…

There are a few planned posts ready for backups but I haven’t actually managed to write them yet. I am taking a notebook and pen with me on holiday though so you never know I might come back with pages and pages of stuff ready to post.

Begin Development of Application

There was absolutely no movement on this one unfortunately. I still haven’t even finished the specifications…

I have at least made a small decision though. I am going to stick with what I know and create the first version with Delphi. This should give me a bit of head start as there will be no learning curve involved.

This means that my first product will be a Windows program! Now I just need to get on with it.

There is still one issue though and that is what database to use and which components to use to connect to that database. I will not go into details of this issue here as it is a bit technical for my monthly review post but I will discuss this in more detail when I have made the choice…

Yearly Review

I have already posted my Yearly Review for 2010. So this was a complete success. In fact I am very pleased with it as it has given some big targets for the whole year but they feel completely doable!

Goals For February

Experiment With Working Hours

I have talked about this one before. I have at last been able to try a few different things out and have settled on a bit of a routine.

When I get back from my holiday I plan on trying a few variations on this schedule and see what sort of difference it makes. That way I can be happy that I am making the best of the time available for both productivity and personal enjoyment…

Budget Application

Finish Functional Specification

This is a must now. I wanted to have this finished by the end of January but this is unlikely to happen now so I really must get it done in February if I ever want to release my first product…

I want to write some posts to help me explain my theories behind the program as I go along. This should help me solidify any uncertainties I may have after completing the spec and will also give you a chance for some feedback to help mould the final product…

Finalise Database Access

Now I have decided to use Delphi to develop my first app I need to decide on the database to use. I also need to find a suitable way to access that database from within Delphi…

Redesign My Office

Due to the leaky radiator I have had to move some stuff out of my office. I though I would take this opportunity to completely revamp the whole room…

As I spend so much time in the home office now I really want to spruce it up a bit. A lick of paint and a major tidy up really with even new furniture to finish it off.

I haven’t got a huge budget though so there is not going to any new hardware unfortunately…

Are there are essential items you think I should have for my new home office? Please let me know…



Michael Ludgate

An image of someone that makes you think back to why you make decision to make money at home (excuse speak, avoiding a specific key!) Office should also contain something that you don’t have access to in usual office, because it is needed that you think about benefit (not usual spoken belief which suggests mundane office – like… usual office people go to).

Why you spend time thinking about database, when I think of no cost good one easily, it’s name has two ‘ahhhs’ in! I’ve also used it with PHP to get data back as XML, so confident it’ll be useful in the following days.

    Pete O'Shea

    Hi Michael,

    It is nice to be able to take time off whenever I fancy it and even better to not have the 25 day cap 😉 Unfortunately though the holiday was a bit of a washout, literally…

    As for the office gadgets then my office has only really been for occasional work in the past. I recently bought a corded speakerphone recently which seems quite a mundane item but has been really useful. All the other phones in the house are cordless and get left all over the place so can be hard to find sometimes when the phone rings and even more so if the batteries are left to go flat!

    I do not want to go for a completely standard office setup though as I do like to have some music for example so proper speakers are a must. Sometimes quiet background music helps me concentrate, sometimes I like it a bit louder when I am doing something that doesn’t require so much concentration. I don’t always have music on though as sometimes I find it a distraction…

    Last point I presume you are referring to Firebird (Do you not have a spare keyboard lying around?). I do not really want to have to install a database server along with my program, it seems a bit overkill. I know you can use Firebird in embedded mode but it is not something I am familiar with. I like the idea something much simpler like SQLite for local database access and probably MySQL for network access as this seems to be pretty much standard on any webhosting account these days. Ideally I would like to write the program to allow the user to choose the database if they so desired but have not found a good enough abstraction layer yet.

Michael Ludgate

I wonder if you were a tailor, you’d be making clothes that fully adjusted to the size of the wearer, covered in detachable pockets with a whole assortment of bits and pieces to allow them to fully customise the garment and any design work.

Approaching development from a purist programming point of view, I feel you’re over complicating the solution to a problem that hasn’t yet materialised. It’s admirable and interesting from a technical viewpoint, but I really feel the value of a programmer is in developing solutions that are tailor made to the primary stakeholders agreed requirements (instead of ensuring you won’t have change requests).

I feel the ultimate destination is the program that writes itself, to the perceived problems encountered by computer modelled users that may one day exist.

I’m suggesting that instead of brushing aside your desire to return to yesteryear, re-evaluate why you need to provide an all-encompassing solution (and if that really is what’s required, then a matching all-encompassing cost should exist).

(sorry about the keyboard readers, after 2hr gutting/cleaning/reassemble of a Razer Lycosa, I was feeling to annoyed to replace it with something else).

    Pete O'Shea

    Hi Michael,

    I can’t see an easy way of moving the comment to the other post so I might as well just leave it where it is…

    I can see exactly what you are getting at but the problem is what can you do if the ‘primary stakeholders’ are just the general public, like when it comes to websites or even web applications. Is there such a thing as a default set up nowadays? With programs for specific platforms, like Windows, then you have a bit more control but even then can you force a resolution or text size on the user?

    Should I put something on my website, for example, to say something along the lines of ‘Best viewed using Google Chrome version 8, on Windows Vista 64 bit, running fullscreen with no additional toolbars installed, at a resolution of 1920×1200, otherwise your results could vary’ as that is my default set up on my PC so that’s what I use to test my site? Or do I do a review of all of the visitors to my site and go with the most common settings as my target?

Michael Ludgate

Opps, The Importance Of Flexible Web Design was the intended home of my previous post.

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