MicroAdventures on the horizon

I’ve recently started to read a new book designed to make an (micro)adventurer out of anyone and I am finding it really inspiring! Lots of ideas to get me of my sofa and into the great outdoors without costing a fortune. If you are looking for some inspiration to add a little adventure into your life it’s a great book to get.

New bike.

The books purchase was inspired by my recent bike purchase, a Hybrid Boardman MX Sport. I’ve no experience of bikes (my last bike was a Raleigh Chopper in the 1970’s), but I chose the type based on the activities I envisioned me taking part in, mainly day trips into the countryside. My routes would mainly consist of cycle paths (some minor roads) and off road trails (Not mountain bike courses), so a Hybrid bike seemed a great option. (Thanks to John P for helping choose a actual bike!)

I’ve added a rear rack top rear bag for essentials on day trips, and a handlebar bag for my Lumix camera when I fancy it. I’ve also got the option of side panniers for any trips longer than a day trip (or a nice big picnic!) as I’m not a fan of cycling with a backpack if possible.

Geek alert!

Also being the gadget head that I am, a Garmin Edge Touring GPS sits on my handlebars also. I did a few trial runs with my iPhone and some bike routing apps but found the battery life far too limiting. Hence the Garmin and its suggested 17 hour battery life which will cover any day trips with ease.

It’s also a cycle computer and recently went on my 1st solo run out on the bike covering 19 miles with considerable ease.

The 1st half of the route was a mixture of cycle paths and trails, the 2nd was mainly a canal towpath. The Hybrid bike was great, having front suspension and slimmer rough tread tyres were more than adequate for the cycle paths and off road. I enjoyed a leisurely couple of hours exploring my local area, something I’ve never done before. Tell me I’d cover over 19 miles on a bike a few months ago I would have smiled politely to you whist thinking you were crazy!

I’m looking forward to some more cycling exploration and a full overnight MicroAdventure soon!

Heading towards the release of The little book of Nozbe – reviews are coming in!

I am just over a week away from releasing The little book of Nozbe and I’ve started to receive some feedback from a small number of Nozbe users who have access to a preview version. If you read any of my previous posts you would know I was a little worried about sharing it with the world. I had so many doubts about the whole project as it got closer to completion!

Now some feedback has started to come in and I actually hold my breath as I open each one….

This was the latest.

It’s getting feedback like this that makes the long drawn out process seem totally worth it! I wrote The little book of Nozbe as it was a book I would have read myself, helping users get the most out of an important piece of software that many use to organise their entire life.

I have a small number of additions and error checking to do and It will be all ready for Monday, November 23rd. into the hands of paying people! I am sure all of my doubts haven’t gone just yet!

Our 1st wedding anniversary get away

12 months ago today Louise and I got married, to say every day has made us smile wouldn’t be that far from the truth. As a mini celebration we have headed to Seasalter, Kent, a small village just 2 miles from Whitstable. With our passion for things a little eccentric, we are staying in the most quirky and colourful beach house I could find and you could imagine.

The view out to sea from the decking area is so peaceful.

The morning view from the bed

Up the steep stairs there is desk and office area which is an amazing area for me to make some edits to my book The little book of Nozbe. The volunteer proofreaders have certainly given me plenty to do with 30+ edits so far (I’m sure there will be more!)
I’m looking forward to getting stuck into them in the next few days in-between reading, exploring, relaxing, theatre trip and a tandem bike ride for the 1st time…

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….

Ad blocking, my conscious decision to abstain

When Apple released iOS 9 on iPad and iPhone it included a new feature that can block web ads within Safari. I’ve been using Ad Blocking plugins on my PC and Mac browsers for a while and jumped straight in and installed 2 apps to play around with.

I wanted to improve my online experience by reduce page load times, reduce my battery usage and stop being so damn distracted by them!ad spam

The funny thing is, I also own a couple of blogs like ProductiveWizard.com where I have used advertising and the occasional affiliate links in the past, nothing grand and nothing horrible in my opinion! The aim was to earn money towards the next 12 months online hosting costs (less than $100). Yet I also removed the ads 8 months ago when I thought they detracted from the overall look and feel of the sites and have only recently re-introduced them.

So, after some thought I removed all of my ad blockers PC, Mac and iOS devices and now view webpages as the creators intended, warts and all. Many of these smaller sites may need my ad impressions to keep the lights, they may be starting on their journey towards self employment and my adblockers could impact them directly.  So I have now decided to show my displeasure to any annoying sites with bad ads by voting with my eyeballs.

  • If your site uses javascript linking in text that’s annoying I will close the tab and never return.
  • If you make an advert appear over what I’m trying to read say goodbye to a potential customer.
  • If you autoplay a video ad without my implicit click, don’t be surprised when I leave and you never see my tracking cookie again.
  • If your article or page is riddled with lots of ads that distract too much or cause nausea, I will bid you farewell for good.
  • This is not add related, however applies; If your site has a ‘Top 10’ list of something and you put them on individual pages or a gallery that reloads each time someone clicks ‘next’ to boost your page views I will laugh at you heartily as I press the back button.

I do find myself using Safari Reader view or Evernote Clearly more often when I find the ads too distracting (Inject an Ad between every paragraph? tut tut). This way the site gets my initial page impression as I switch to Reader view but I can read the article in with less distraction. In fact it often looks a lot better than the same webpage when using an adblocker.

If you run a website and run ads, take a good look at how you are using them. Less is more.

Mostly, just treat your readers with some respect .

1st impressions of my MacBook Retina

My Mac laptop journey has taken in an 11 inch MacBook Air, 13 inch MacBook Air, 13 inch MacBook Pro Retina and now the new MacBook.

My taste in Laptops has always been light and portable, a large laptop makes no sense for me personally. My original 11” Air was my 1st Apple laptop and I really found it great to use, eventually the reality of the small screen (and my fading eyesight) lead me to the 13” Air which was much easier on my eyes! Then the MacBook Pro went Retina and I loved the screen when I saw it in an Apple Store, after a lot of soul searching I got a MacBook Pro in 2014. Whilst a little heavier and bulkier than the 13” Air it was a tradeoff I was willing to make.

Now the MacBook Pro is for sale and I’m now typing this on a MacBook Retina. This is the Apple machine I’ve been waiting for. A display larger than 11” and Retina, a small portable form factor thats crazy light, fan-less design and bags of battery.

Continue reading “1st impressions of my MacBook Retina”

New Year 2015

After 5 days without daylight I struggled to adjust my eyes to the winter sun as I stepped outside for the 1st time of 2015, the air was invigorating as I took a deep breath of cool clean air and promptly began coughing, small steps I reminded myself, Man Flu can be a killer.

Perhaps a little over dramatic? :)

New Years Eve and New Years day became a none event for our household due to my illness, but things are now improving and Im starting to feel human again, rest, sleep and Lemsip has been my mantra for too many days. But enough of that!

What does my beloved Aston Villa and I have in common? We’re both a little goal shy currently! Just before Christmas I decided to invest in myself (My 1st goal!!) and signed up for a short course on Goal setting to help 2015 be even better than 2014. I thought I’d have worked through the course by now and have a number of personal and professional goals set but my Man Flu (Yes it does need the Capitalisation) added an unforeseen delay. Over the next few days I will work through the goal setting process and 2015 can start in ernest!

Happy New Year!