Doubt & Fear just ahead

I’ve really enjoyed writing a guide to Nozbe a productivity software application I use every single day. (Think of a paper todo list with a jetpack and a lightsaber Mum!). It has been fun and challenging squeezing it in-between my real life. It’s had it’s ups and downs, having to re-write it half way through as the software was updated to a new updated 2.0 interface made me laugh (I lie, I cried!), but it’s been a goal to ship something (anything?) one day.

It’s almost that day, I’ve just emailed hundreds of subscribers of my Productive Wizard blog, many of whom are Nozbe users. I’ve asked for some volunteers generous enough to give some of their own time to help to apply some polish to my book, finding errors so I can correct them and giving me feedback before I release it to a wider (paying!) audience.

I’m anxious.

You see, I’ve not shared my work with anyone before, sending a small mockup to the CEO of Nozbe to seek his permission in creating a book is the only interaction I’ve had. (He was thrilled thankfully!) The self doubt that now hangs over me is heavier than I imagined. What if no one likes it? It makes no sense? What if it looks terrible on some devices? The layout is bad? What if it’s too basic? Too in-depth? Too long? Too short? What if I’ve missed something really important? 100’s of things rushing through my head of how much people will think it sucks and I look like a fool. We all know the internet can be cruel.

Yet, deep down, if I look deep enough, I find I am proud of what I’ve produced even in its current unpolished form. A book that could help someone organise their life might not excite many people, yet for me, I’d be thrilled if one person got something out of my work.

Deep breath…. almost time to press send….

Windows 10 and Surface 3 – Turn to the dark side

With all the buzz of the Windows 10 launch a few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to experience it for myself, rather than throw it on a virtual machine on my Mac I decided that I’d replace my iPad Mini and opt for a Surface 3 for my light commuting and travel needs, the idea of a full OS on tablet was a huge draw. I even got a twitter mention from the official Microsoft account.

Continue reading “Windows 10 and Surface 3 – Turn to the dark side”

Flipboard makes a difference to my blog stats!

For some reason my latest ProductiveWizard post has been appearing in some peoples Flipboard streams in a number of ways and my ProductiveWizard.com blog has seen a nice increase in views which is really cool!

It’s turning out to be a popular article, I will have to research how to get more articles onto Flipboard as it seems to be the way a lot of people are now reading blogs and websites. (Which isn’t a surprise to me as it’s the way I read them!)

GoodBye GoDaddy managed WordPress hosting

Well that didn’t last very long did it? I had high hopes for GoDaddy’s managed WordPress hosting as you can see from the earlier post but I hit a snag, even after a great start it was enough to make me want to change hosting again.

I originally moved my 2 blogs over without a hitch, the automatic migration tool is excellent. It worked really well, just put in a few account details and hit import…. a few hours later both sites were imported and setup on a temporary domain, change my DNS and It’s all up. Excellent.

Then I hit an issue, I use Blogo 2 to write my posts on my Mac, this seems incompatible with GoDaddy anti spam/hacking tools. Blogo poll’s your wordpress installation to download all of your posts and pages, this triggered the anti hacking measures which denied Blogo access to my blog. 

I decided to raise a support ticket with GoDaddy and was annoyed I couldn’t find an online support method. No Webpage contact, No chat, No email. The only option phone. That means wait times…. I much prefer emailing a support issue if it’s not urgent, then escalating to phone if it is urgent.

Whilst looking around my GoDaddy account settings I realised that my 2nd year renewal costs were going to be high than 1st thought. Anti hacking thresholds too low, no email support and higher than expected renewal costs made me decide to cancel the account within the 30 day free cancellation period. Cancellation was pain free (after the telephone wait!) and 100% of my initial purchase was returned.

SiteGround.com

After some research for a new host for my blogs I decide to give SiteGround Wordpress hosting a go, So far they have been superb. They assisted moving both blogs to their servers manually (Which was slow due to GoDaddy throttling the download speed of my sites!) They updated me at each step of the transfer by email of online chat.

Also their non discounted hosting plans are much more reasonable when I do renew.

Whilst it’s not a ‘managed’ solution it does have some features that assist with the management of your site. It’s also fast! So far my blog dashboards have never been so responsive. they use their own cache plugins that really make an improvement and make it a lot easier to manage!

If you are looking for quality hosting take a look at SiteGround.

Out with my old Mac’s, in with the new… oh hang on..

I had a great little plan to consolidate and refresh my 2 Mac device setup into one. Goodbye to my ageing 27” iMac, farewell my trusty 13” Macbook Air and hello to a new 13” Macbook Pro Retina.

One device to sit on my desk, small and compact, the same device that can slip into my bag and travel with me, light and powerful as a desktop. One device. Computing nirvana. Well that was the plan….

1st the positives, the 13” Macbook Pro Retina is an amazing laptop. The best screen I’ve seen on a PC, going back to a normal screen is very noticeable, it’s also as fast as most desktops I’ve used and has a great battery life, so far I’ve had 10 hours out of one charge. I can see it lasting a very long time.

The negative? The 13” screen seems mighty small when placed on my desk! I kept finding myself leaning in to read the screen when sat on a laptop stand on my desk, it’s fine when it’s on my lap or even when on a table at Starbucks. I attribute this problem to me and me alone, my ageing eyes are the problem.

I don’t think a 15” Macbook would have improved the issue that much either, I looked at a 2nd monitor around 23″ and quickly realised that the 2 devices would not sit nice together on my small minimalist desk and I’d still have the issue 1 of them being a 13” screen and some docking work around.

The Solution?

My iMac 27” is staying! (Apologies to anyone who was interested in buying it!) Whilst it’s a 2009 version I did spec is very well when originally purchased so it’s no slouch. An older i7 4 core 2.8 Ghz Processor. 8GB of ram and 1TB HDD, adding a 256GB SSD last year made a huge difference. Yes the ATI Radeon HD 4850 Graphics card is the systems main speed bottleneck, however the last time I checked I could play all of the games I own and don’t play, I brought a PS4 to play games on, my Mac’s are productivity tools now.

So I am a little disappointed that I still have 2 Mac devices, 1 of which takes up most of my desk, the screen looks grainy compared to the new Macbook Retina display, but my eyesight and posture is thanking me. It’s great to think that a 5 year old Mac is still offering such a good experience, I’ve now installed OSX 10.10 Yosemite Beta onto it and you’d never guess it’s over years old!

Oh, does anyone want to buy a very lightly used HiRise adjustable Laptop stand from Twelve South? Works really great with a MacBook Pro retina if your eyesight is better than mine!

My Lenovo N20p Chromebook mini review

Charlotte ChromebookFirst a little background, this is my 2nd Chromebook, my 1st was an Series 3 Samsung Chromebook (ARM based) that I brought out of curiosity about Chromebooks and over time I found the device to be a great bit of cheap tech. It was the device I had no worries about giving my young grand kids to play with when they visit and a fallback device at home.

Also, I have no problem with using Chrome OS so I knew what to expect with the Lenovo N20p OS wise, I actually find Chrome OS to be a breath of fresh air compared to Windows and OSX. I wanted to upgrade from the Samsung mainly for the advances in hardware as the Samsung Series 3’s main failing for me was is it’s speed.

 

Unboxing the N20p

P1030277From the off you realise that Lenovo hasn’t wasted any money on packaging! A plain brown Lenovo box, the Chromebook, a power cord, ac adapter and a folded piece of A3 instructions. Minimalistic or cheap? I will let you make up your own mind!

 

The Hardware.

P1030278My 1st impression was the the N20p felt heavy, 3.1lbs compared to my old Samsung (2.43lbs) and even heavier than my 13” Macbook Air (2.96lbs) For an 11” device it felt a little odd at first, however within a few minutes I didn’t really notice the extra weight when actually using the device on my lap. Continue reading “My Lenovo N20p Chromebook mini review”