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  • Thoughts

    My personal thoughts.

    88 articles in this category

      Seeing clearly again - getting new glasses

      It has been a while since I wrote here, and it is because I have had this inner stress. A lot of things are going on in life right now, and it has affected me a bit more than I realized. This has caused me to end up in a state of frustration and sort of state of urgency because there are so many things all jumbled up in my head. With this in mind, I decided to take a first step towards making this better, and that is to get new glasses and slow things down a bit.
      Anyone who have followed my blogging over the years, or know me, also know that the first quarter of a new year is usually a more quiet period for me. Not only do my mind run all over the place with all the new things I want to do for the new year, but I also have a low period, since I have many memories related to this period. Finally, I tend to reflect a lot this period as it is the darkest time of the year, and it is a natural breakpoint for many things.
      I don't get depressed, though, just low on energy and focus inwards more. It is quite common for me to feel restless, like I do now, where I have a hard time focusing on one thing as my mind want to do many things at once. It may sound annoying to be fractured in your mind, and it can be. Furthermore, it also a time when I kind of collect energy for the burst of creativity that always seem to happen around this time, when the light returns.
      What I often do to transition from this inwards and chaotic period to the more focused and creative one is that I try to find one change to make as the catalyst. This year, that catalyst is to get new glasses. It is something that I have needed for a long time, but I have put that off because it is a very expensive experience and while I make good money, I have pushed that in front of me since I know the cost it will entail.
      This time around I went to Synsam in Vallentuna, which was my first visit there. As expected, I need multiple glasses, but what I did not expect was how good the experience was. Don't get me wrong, I have never had a bad experience getting glasses, or lenses, but this was by far the best experience I have ever had. Not only do I feel that testing my eyesight was better than ever, resulting in crystal clear reading, but the whole staff was above and beyond in their service mindedness. It felt great to be honest, and having my wife there to help select the frames was even greater.
      In a few weeks, I will have three pairs instead of one, which will be interesting. My current glasses are progressive, and they have served me well, but they are old and no longer fit me eyes properly. They are also broken and scratched, which makes for a less than enjoyable experience. So I really look forward to getting new glasses that are optimized for different things. I will get a pair of progressive glasses that are photochromic as my out and about glasses, one pair for working in front of the screen and one for reading.
      I am looking forward to these new experiences.
      Pun intended 😉
       

      Affixes and Prefixes for Roles and a bad start for The Flexible Atlassian Setup

      This week has been a bit up and down, but as always there has been progress. I feel that the need to define things are getting more and more important, so I have started working on the Flexible Atlassian Setup, with various degree of success. I also just added a new category in the Roles playbook for affixes and prefixes, which I also will add into the roles themselves. I have also updated the Fontawesome I use here and done a ton of bug fixes. I also have played a bit of Path of Exile, which has been frustrating and rewarding.
      The Flexible Atlassian Setup
      This has been a focus for me this week, and I have started to add some content to the playbook. I also recorded the introduction, which is based on a presentation that I made a new PowerPoint template for last weekend. As it has been a while since I recorded anything, I was pretty happy with the 30+ minute video, until I realized I had no sound in the video...
      So I will make a new attempt later for this. With sound checks.
      When it comes to the documentation, I am slowly adding that to the playbook. I have started adding the design principles, the issue types and the workflows, since those will be in the first videos. I am working on an update of the workflow design for Build that  have designed in Figma, and I will add details on the work processes soon. These descriptions will have references to Roles, so I also want to make sure I have a start on that database as well.
      The Roles database get affixes and prefixes
      The roles database is still in progress, but the base is there, and I just need to finish up the templating. This morning I added a new category that I want to focus on first, before adding more roles. This new category is for affixes and prefixes, which refer to where a role belong and what responsibility is expected. By defining for example what a leader or architect means, then we can better understand the roles that are constructed in a conflicting way. Like a Scrum Manager, for example, which is an oxymoron and an artificial construct that does not exist as a role in Scrum.
      Speaking of Scrum, I have a playbook planned for methodologies, but I have not yet decided on the format...
      Font Awesome 6.0 and bug fixes
      As you might have noticed, some icons have changed on the site, and that is because I have updated my kit to the 6.0 version that was released recently. I have also, slowly, been fixing bugs in the new templates, but also updated some things in the theme itself. This will continue for quite some time, as I have a pretty long backlog of bugs and theme changes that I need to do, mostly to the basic relationship templates.
      Skills database is in the works...
      I have started mapping out an embryo for this database, which I will need in multiple places, like My Projects and the upcoming People database. There will be a lot of categories for this, as I will try to keep the structure short and deep rather than long and flat. So I am starting out with four main sections: Tools, Methodologies, Areas of expertise and Social.
      Since Invision Community Pages does not have cascading custom fields, it means that each skill will need to have multiple items, one for each level of skill. I intend to start with three levels: Beginner, Experienced and Expert. I know there are other standards, but I feel these three levels fit well within IT where we also have three levels of experience for roles with Junior, Senior and Expert.
      Adding all of these will take quite a lot of time, but as I don't need to write a lot in terms of description for each skill initially, I think I just need to start mapping out the most common tools and methodologies and work from there. The format will be skill name and then level, I think, so something like this: "Adobe Photoshop - Experienced". I might play around with symbols as well, we'll see.
       
      Playing Path of Exile
      I have returned to POE again as this league looked fun and I don't really have anything else I feel like playing at the moment.  POE and I are always in conflict because I have this hate/love relation to the game. On one hand, I love the customization and the loot, but on the other hand, I can get really frustrated over the passive skill tree and the sheer complexity of the game.
      Last league I tried a toxic rain build and I liked it since it is more of a passive build, but this league I went for a Spark character as starter. While it is not bad, it is just spamming ark and overall it felt a bit lackluster. So I did a second character and went for a blade vortex build, which felt much better.
      I am just starting mapping and both characters had that same feeling when you kind of hit a wall with your build, and you just get frustrated.  Usually this happens in act 6 when your resistances drop like a rock, but I also felt it going into maps. This is because both these builds require a bit of investments to get their defenses up, and even with that they are not very tanky.
      With my blade vortex Occultist I had to re-gear pretty extensively to get battle ready as I had almost no defensive layers with less than 100 in armor, low evasion and maybe a hundred or so on Energy Shields. I also had I think 18% or so in fire resistance and did not cap out cold and lightning. I could still kill pretty much anything almost instantly, but I would also instantly die if I got caught with something.
      Now I have full 75% resistances and a decent chunk of armor, evasion and energy shield to take the edge off things. I will do some ascension paths today and level up a bit, so I can switch to the correct weapons I already have in store. I will also need to invest in the passive tree more to get the full effect of the setup.
      It is interesting though how life is often like POE...
      Life often feels like this as well, I think. You hit a plateau and life just become frustrating, then you make a few adjustments, and it is smooth sailing again.

      Let's build a reviews database for Invision Community Pages

      As the number of databases grow here, it becomes annoying to add the fields for reviews in each of them. So, to fix that, I am going to build a new database for reviews that I can then connect to different articles or products as I see fit. This will give a central place for reviews that is flexible and easy to extend.
      So what are we going to build?

      This is a basic design that we will start with, as I already have this design built. It comes with a headline, a summary,  a total review box, three headlines with ratings and a summary of how other people voted on the review. When writing the review, you will also have a long review text. This will not be a part of the review summary, however, but we will add a "See the full review" link to this design.
      For this to work, we will first set up the database and add the custom fields that we need. In total, we will have ten custom fields for the layout itself:
      Review Theme (so we can set the color theme) Review Headline Review summary Review Summary Rating Review Category 1 Review Category 2 Review Category 3 Review Category Rating 1 Review Category Rating 2 Review Category Rating 3 We will also need to connect the review to something, so there will be several custom fields for that. In my setup, I will attach the reviews to Articles, My Personal Blog, Products, Companies, Hosting, a generic one for the site and me and then I have two connections that I will need to build the databases for.
      In order for this to pass through properly, we will need to add a basic relationship template in my theme. I have written an article about that here, and I am working on another one in the Invision community Playbook.
      In each database item, we will be able to define the placement if we want to change it from the default, which will be at the bottom and we can also override the Review Theme if we want. This is so we can control the database items themselves.
      Things I have not tried yet....
      In the form, I want to try to limit the form so you only get one database relation instead of all options. Not only will it be a bit confusing to have multiple options, but it also opens up for other problems that I hope to avoid. The way I want to try to do that is to add conditions based on the selected category. This is since I plan to have the reviews database setup with one category for each database (so Product Reviews, Company Reviews and so on).
      I know I could do this with JavaScript, but I prefer to have this server side to prevent DOM manipulation from bad people 🙂
       
      If things go as planned...
      This should not be a very difficult setup, and I will use the same basic setup I already have with the Playbook templates. It will take some time as I am still down with what I suspect is Covid, so my brain is very slow and my energy levels almost nonexistent.
      But we will get there soon enough as long as we move forward 🙂
       

      JWSE 3.0 - a new structure and new features

      As the new templates start to get into place, I have started to look at the new structure of information here on the site. There are some areas that are underused and others that make more sense elsewhere. I also have a lot of new databases to add to get the infrastructure I want. It may seem daunting, but it's just invigorating to me, so it is all good!
      The new structure

      This new structure has been a work in progress and I will spend some more time with it as I add more databases and pages. As you might see here I have removed Writings as a main node as I have moved what used to be there to other nodes. I have also moved out Security as a primary section, and it is now a subsection under Operations. That is because I don't have enough knowledge or focus that motivates it being a primary node. Instead, I am adding Invision Community as a main node, since I am pretty much always working with it.
       
      New databases
      I am adding a lot of new databases based on this new setup that I have. It started with the Playbooks, that are already up and have some initial content to test things out. As I build these playbooks, I sometimes come across features that are best used as a separate database, as they will be used in multiple databases. It started with Countries that I use in the Companies database and that I will use in the upcoming People database.
      My next project will be to make a new database for the Reviews that I currently have built in as a ton of custom fields in some databases. Having this as a separate database makes more sense and since I can connect reviews between databases this will make things a lot easier. As all display templates now use the same template it is easy to decide what databases should be connected to reviews, by simply adding a custom field for database relation to the reviews database.
      Slow rollout
      The rollout of the databases will probably be a bit slow as I focus on some of them. This month, for example, I am focusing on the Playbooks and the video section. I am also putting focus on building the Atlassian section site so I have a starting point to work from. This page will be made up of multiple blocks, so I have some cleaning to do in my admin section to set a proper block structure and a proper pages structure.
      I also need to reorganize my Figma setup so I can design things faster in the future. As I have added more colors to the setup and now removed Security as prime section, I need to make some updates there as well. As you can imagine, this also ties into the CSS structure that I am planning out as well.
      So it will take some time, but I will get there 🙂

      Playbooks are inspiring - designing new templates for many areas

      The work with Playbooks are progressing well. I am iterating the display template a bit because I realize that it is probably going to be a new standard that I will use for many databases and not just Playbooks. This solves quite a few things that has had me stuck actually and it feels really great!
      I have set up several new databases to test my thoughts, and the reason for that is that I realized that the setup can be used for many scenarios. If setup correctly, it can also replace many of the templates I currently have, but it requires careful planning when it comes to what content should be coded in.
      Due to this new template being a bitt different in that it can, and will, be used in many databases, I am adjusting it accordingly. I am going to add a number of conditional fields so I can select them as I see fit for each database. For example, I am adding a parallax effect if the database have a top image and if not, then it will just show a colored background. Every top tab will also show or hide depending on if there are any entries or if the field exist.
      It is very fun, but also a bit challenging since I am pretty much hacking the design by breaking out of the container and it has certain...consequences 🙂
      Overall, though, I have not felt this excited in a while and I like it!

      Playbooks and how to implement them

      For a while now, I have been trying to iron out how to create groups of focused articles, or instructions. In many ways, these would be like small books of how to's, much like I have started for My Book and IPS Customization. After considering this for a while, I have decided to go for a different approach. I call them Playbooks.
      As part of the 2022 focus I will look closer at the Atlassian and Development sections, and in those I have 6 planned playbooks defined at the moment: Jira Cloud Playbook, Confluence Cloud Playbook, Invision Community Playbook, HTML Reference Playbook, CSS Reference Playbook and JavaScript Reference Playbook.
      As always, I will start slow and expand later. So I plan to take a look at the design I already have for Products and Companies and rebuild that for the display view. The databases already have a list of activities based on bugs and fixes I wanted to make, so it is not really a big change besides what I already had planned.  I will need to dive into some other database templates also however, or rather the database relationship templates.
      I was considering having one big database for playbooks, but decided to go for individual ones. One reason is that Pages only have two levels in the navigation widget that does not change as you go deeper in the tree. Another reason is that it is more difficult to make changes to the individual playbooks. This means that there will be a lot of databases over time, but I can live with that.
      I am planning this up using Clickup, which I recently started looking at. It is a very nice tool and I will write more about it in the future when I have had some time to play around with it some more.

      Finally upgraded - the new desk is amazing!

      Yesterday, I ripped down my old desk setup and rebuilt it with my new desk. It took a while and there was some cursing due to some cable management not working as anticipated. Overall, though, things turned out pretty good and while I have some final touches to do, I love the new setup.
      To say that it takes a while to rip down a desk when you have a 48-inch TV as monitor with a 27-inch side screen and a video setup with camera and lights is an understatement. Still, it is satisfying to take everything down and make a full reset. Even if it gets a bit messy at first...

      The new desk is a lot sturdier than the first one, and it is 20 cm wider. I also get a nice walnut color, which is really nice. Cables are still all over the place, but I will fix that next week when I get the shipment from Amazon. I also have some felt coasters, an iPad stand and some plants coming, so then this will come together even more.
      With this upgrade I now feel much better about making videos and hold education since I now have a decent camera, a good microphone and a setup that allow me to engage a bit more than sitting with the side to the people watching. I will play around with this during the weekend to make sure everything is ready for the education I will hold on Monday.

      I will get a new mouse pad since the one I have is a bit dirty, and it is nice to switch things up a bit. I will probably try an LTT Northern Lights desk pad since it fit my theme pretty well. I also have an Ikea lamp on my wishlist. I am looking at Hektar to stand to the left of the desk, this would not only add a bit of extra light in three directions, but I can also use it as a rim light when facing forward and as a side, or key light, when shooting from the side.
      Eventually I might invest in a camlink for the camera, but I think it's best if I learn how to use the camera first. I also consider getting a new chair. I am looking at a Titan Evo 2022 from Secretlabs, but I am still doing some research. Probably going to pick up some new headsets as well, since mine are broken and probably will fall apart sooner rather than later.
      For now tough, I am very happy with my setup of my homeoffice!

      Going full YouTube - world of Video here I come!

      In the past weeks, I have gone from having a webcam setup for presenting my education sessions to complete madness. It has snowballed and I am now waiting for another shipment of things to set up for a full-fledged studio setup. I have even set up my old YouTube channel finally and have a pretty big list of topics to place there. In short, I am going full YouTube, and it is something I have been considering for a very long time. I guess it felt right now for some reason.
      Besides ordering everything from microphone to camera to lightning, I also have made some small investments into assets for Adobe Premier pro. While they are probably not necessary, I feel like trying some things out with proper gear rather than going in half-baked. Well, at least as far as equipment goes. I still need to learn how to do videos properly, since it is a lot different from holding education sessions. I also need to learn the tools, and it will take a while to learn how to use Adobe Premier pro and OBS to its full potential.
      Furthermore, I threw out a test shot using nothing but webcam and no real settings for microphone at all. It is bad, but not terribly so. I still feel awkward talking to myself, but it gets easier, I feel. I also had the beginnings of a bad cold, which you probably can pick up in the video. Right now, I can barely speak...
      Later this week I will do a full rebuild of my desk to set things up, and I have not yet decided if I should invest in a new desk at the same time. There is nothing wrong with my desk, but it is a bit short and I would like to have that walnut desk top. I am also considering getting a desktop that is arched with a short extra right side. Not sure if that would work in my very limited space, but I am considering it.

      I am also contemplating getting a new chair since this one is a bit stiff and I do have lower back issues to consider. Not sure what to get, though, so I'll hold off for now. I might get something like the Secretlab Titan Evo 2022, but I have not decided yet. For now, I'll keep my existing one and focus on other things, like how to fit a good camera angle with a 48-inch TV as monitor...
      That is probably my biggest issue right now, since my lighting setup will be very dependent on how I set up my camera. With a 48-inch TV, standing on a small shelf as well, I tend to look up towards the top of the screen quite a lot. My face is in a pretty good spot facing the center, or slightly above the center of the screen, but to get to the top of the screen I have to tilt my head up a fair bit.
      Having a camera at that height might look weird. Like me looking up towards the people watching the video or stream. I do have a second camera for screen sharing, so maybe that will be less of an issue than I imagine it. Once I get the new camera and have it setup, I might make some changes due to this. Things do get a bit tricky when you have limited space, sitting in a little cave where your closet used to be in your bedroom.
      Anyway, first I need to get this sore throat taken care of, then I'll just focus on making content and let things evolve from there. I do not expect to become a huge YouTube star anyway, just to publish some instructional videos here and there.
      So, off we go 🙂

      Office upgrades and Youtube - planning for more video content

      This week I did some upgrades to my home office. I added a second screen, purchased some lights and did a big investment in a green screen. This adds some useful tools for me, so I can not only do my job better, but also start working on some video content for the website. The green screen require some commitment as it is not something you throw up in a hurry for a video call, but it is pretty great for what I plan for the future. So let us dive into it.
      A second screen
      Adding a second screen to my setup was not really planned. Previously I had my MacBook on the side and the plan was to use it for quick calls. It worked fairly well, but since I already have a camera setup that is a lot better than the camera on the MacBook, it was kind of redundant. So I just got an idea to try out having a second screen when I was browsing for some additional lights to add to the camera setup. I stumbled upon a portable external screen that looked pretty cool and since I had a screen standing in the closet I figured I would just see if it worked y removing the laptop tray and place a VESA mount instead.
      As it were, it turned out great, and it did not take very long to plugin. It's still a mess with cables, but I'll fix that later!
      The benefits with having a second screen are many, but for me, I now have a very good way to have the overview I need for when I hold my training sessions. I installed a little program that give me a clock that I can place above content and when I use Teams I can move the overview and the chat to the secondary screen. I can also put my notes there instead of writing them down on paper, or use my iPad. This give me a far better overview of what I am doing, and I can see if someone raises their hands or write in the chat.
      When I eventually will make more video content I can also see what the recording, or streaming looks like.
      When I do not hold lectures or do video content, it is a great place to have things like my Teams and Email, so I always see if someone need me. I am also testing out Tasks, which was actually much better than I thought, since I can very easily switch between accounts. I also see it inside Outlook in the task bar, which is great. Anything I flag in emails, I can also sync with Tasks which is awesome. The only downside is that Outlook does not work with private accounts, but I can live with that.
      Overall, I am super happy with the second screen.
       
      Bright light, but not enough
      My home office is dark, very dark. So in order to get some light for video, I bought an Elgato Key Light. It is indeed extremely bright, and it works great for training sessions in Teams and things like that. When I pull up the green screen, however, things are still too dark for the green screen to work properly. I can still make it work by doing some tweaks in OBS, but I will probably add more light sources eventually to increase the light in the room. It will also help prevent sunburn from the super bright Elgato Key Light.
      I could have bought the Elgato Key Light Air, which was almost half price, but I don't have a lot of space on the desk, so I decided to pay some extra for that reason. The Elgato Key Lights come with an app to control the lights, which is nice.
       
      Elgato Green Screen
      The Elgato Green Screen is pretty awesome, as I can easily pull it out and put it back in seconds. No need to use clips or mounts, just pull up and shoot, then pull down and stash away. It was not cheap, but the investment feels motivated since my home office is in the bedroom and I will save on time and comfort instead.
      It is a bit tricky to set up since space is very limited, and I need to have it at an angle since the camera is also at an angle and I have a wall in that direction. I am considering if I should switch sides on the setup, since that would remove the need to put the green screen at an angle. Probably will test that when I get the new desk top.
       
      YouTube plans
      I already have my YouTube Channel ready, so it is just a matter of using it properly. I have made some tests and so far things look pretty good for what I plan to do later. I have several ideas on what I want to do, and I will start out with a Jira and Confluence series on how to set up Jira and Confluence. Furthermore, I also plan a few videos for Invision Community on how you can use Pages and how things work in terms of code and so on. Finally, I wonder if I want to add sort of a rant/opinion where I talk about different topics, like the communication failures of Atlassian and Invision Community this week.
      We'll see what I come up with, but I will start with Atlassian guides for Jira and Confluence. I do not aim to be a big YouTuber so I'll just try to have fun with it.

      Roles - a much needed database it seems

      In the past couple of weeks, I have had several interesting conversations about weird new roles and fields of work. Some are downright silly, like the UI Engineer, while others just seem unnecessary, like the field of Development Experience (DX). What is clear though is that people, especially from the USA it seems, have no idea what titles are in their field, so they make things up. This means that without definition work titles are pretty useless and this is where a proper database where we define roles will be important.
      While I find it interesting how young people, especially in the US, have an almost absurd desire to name themselves with titles of self-importance, it does cause a lot of confusion in the industry. Poor understanding of the work itself from the employers, and to some degree the people, is bad enough. It does not help that we add titles that make no sense or even add to the confusion.
      Hopefully we can create a database over these strange new things and evolve them together, since some new names is actually not that bad and others already exist and need to be adjusted. I already have the base, so it's just a matter of getting things put together and styling it. Unfortunately, I do not have an abundance of time right now, so it will be when time permits.
      Always moving forward though 🙂

      Stories are in place - time to move on to new things

      The Stories section is now in a fairly good place. It will be some tinkering, and I am still playing around in my mind how I want to make the database relations show up. It is in a good enough place, so I can move on to other areas. The areas that are up on the board are a new Links database, a new Videos database and the Code Reference database. I probably will start with the Links, since it makes it a bit easier to work with Stories that way.
      The things remaining to iron out with Stories are a little bug in the category listings where you can not rate the first entry, and I also want a way to map feeds to the custom fields. Fosters over at the IPS forums had an RSS plugin that allowed that, and I hope that this might lead to a solution for this. I can still live without it, but it would help a lot to have this mapping.
      For links, nothing beats Links Directory from Adriano. Unfortunately, though, I can't cross-link applications with databases. This means that I can not pull in data from different databases. It is also affected by different changes that IPS does, which has ruined applications in the past more times than I care to think of. So, while I will never get all the features that are in Adrianos amazing product, I do get a solution that fit into the overall structure that is also less prone to be affected by application rules and changes.
      This is the same reason for the Videos database. While the current solution is very good, I do want a solution I can cross-reference and that I can control. I also want a way to automatically bring in videos from popular creators, which again would benefit greatly from having a mapping with custom fields...
      The Code Reference database on the other hand will be a different beast. While the documentation is not that hard to do, there are a lot of cross-references that needs to be handled. For HTML, for example, there are elements and attributes with several reference sheets for languages and so on. CSS have selectors and functions. So the solution must have options for multiple references with different names. I will start this for frontend, and then we can see where we go from there.
      Onwards towards greatness 🙂

      Simple Digg clone - submit stories and boost them for better visibility

      Last night I could not sleep, so I played around a bit with this idea I have had for a while to have a section for quick links to interesting blog posts or news. I realized that not only would this be fairly easy to build, but the functionality to promote, or like, things was already built and I had the code for it installed! I just need to adjust the code a bit and give it some design love and it should be good to go.
      Anyone who remember the old Digg site probably remember the many great things you could find there in the early days. While I have no ambition to reach anywhere near the same popularity, I hope that some people might find it useful at least.  With so much content, it is hard to keep up with all the great things, so this can at the very least be a nice way for me to drop in great articles that I find.
      The idea behind this setup is fairly simple. Provide a simple way to add links to specific articles or news, so content creators can get some links back to their websites. Use a simple boost button to let people vote up good content and a bury button to vote things down. Allow for the users to see things based on last added content, curated content or based on ratings.
      In short, it will be a news aggregator like the good old Digg and it's many copycats. While it will not have as many bells and whistles, I will add a few things that I have not seen before. The perhaps most interesting thing will be the connection to other databases. This will allow me to not just share links in the Stories section, but also to cross post to for example products, companies and later on people and certain add-ons like the Atlassian add-ons.
      For now, I am just playing around in Figma to see what kind of designs I can come up with. All the heavy lifting has already been done by Ralf Herrmann, an amazing IPS creator that provide some of the best plugins for Pages. His plugin SuperVote have all the features I need to build this, even if I will hack it quite a bit.
      For now, I have an idea in my mind where I will keep the same style as for other parts of the website, which means that I will color each story based on category. I am also playing around a bit with RSS imports for certain sites that I want to keep tabs on. These will be added as hidden and then manually edited for now. Later on, I plan to have them be fully automatic, but I want to control them a bit first. Images, for example, will only be added if uploaded by the owner of the links, or if I have their permission.
      I will start small and then see what happens.

      Y3 plans - moving forward with many new ideas

      As Year 3 continues, I start to get some ideas sorted in my mind. I have long struggled to find a way for the site to be useful beyond just articles and places of discussion, but as I look into the development section, that has changed. I am taking some inspiration from W3 schools that I myself have used a lot over the years, and I also start to look at the new links section as well. With the template changes needed and the new plans, I have a feeling I will be very busy in Year 3.
      As the About Me section is now in a decent shape, I am looking into the sections in more detail. I have started to plan out the landing pages and now starting to dive into the branches and leaf portion of the navigation trees. I feel it is important that they follow the same structures, even if the content may differ a bit. I also want to make sure that the sections have focused content to avoid DRY (don't repeat yourself). This means that some content may be generic to a root level rather than multiple branch levels.
      So for Development, that I will focus on first, the root page will branch off into two sub-sections: front-end and back.end. The front-end branch will then have multiple sections where I will start with HTML, CSS and JavaScript. There will be a generic section also for front-end frameworks such as Bootstrap. Basic reference sheets like language and country codes, or HTML symbols will also be added.
      At the root of Development, I will also have a new database for code references. This will be a similar setup as on W3Schools with every tag and property will be listed, but a bit more fleshed out with discussions, videos and more. I will also add a page for code editors that will link to the product database. It will be a landing page of sorts with all the code editors presented and then linked to the product page that will be fleshed out with more information and content such as news.
      The new Links database will be fairly similar to the add-on I used to have, but with references and more information. The main reason I wanted to build this as a database is control, of course. Not just over the design itself, but also to be able to control linking with other databases. By doing this I can connect links with products, companies, people and more. I will most likely do a new database for Videos as well later, since it is fairy easy to build for what I use it for.
      So there is no shortage of things to do, that is for sure!

      Support Tickets - building a new one using only Pages

      While working on the components for the new About Me section, I realized that I needed a proper way for people to communicate with me. After considering the options for a while, I decided to build my own ticket system. This is fairly easy and I could have done things in several ways, but decided to use some tricks from my Task Manager to make it a little more dynamic.
       
       
      In essence, this is just a database where I have defined the setup so that you only see your own entries. As the owner, I of course see all entries, which makes it easy to work with. I have added a few fields to help sort things using filters. These fields include Status of course, type of request as this setup does not include any categories, Priority for escalation and SLA, which is just a date field I can set for due date that is then calculated to show time to completion.
      I also have a field for Assignee, even though it is a bit of an overkill for my purposes. I have added it thought for others to use that have more than one person managing the tickets.
      Database fields and Templates
      While working on this new set of templates, I realized that I probably should add some variables for dealing with the field numbers. In most cases you use template names, so it's fairly easy to manage, but in the case of adding the ability to update fields in the frontend we use field ID's instead. Since everyone has a different ID sequence, this can be a bit annoying to work with, so I am thinking I will add variables instead at the beginning of the templates. This way they will work just like CSS, so you can change one variable and it will update across the template.
      Easy creation
      This setup is nothing fancy and it is just a first iteration. I will probably build more on it as I see the need for it, but for now it will suit my need. All in all, it took about a week to complete, but that was mostly because I did not have much time to commit to it. I will still do a new form for this one, but other than that I think this one is done. It is nice because I only needed to customize two templates and the form, instead of all five templates.
      Tasks integrations
      I have a field for database relations that I will add later. Not that I think I will actually need it, but more because I want to write a guide on how to do it and also so I can use it if I want. I also want to make sure that if someone else wants to use both together, they have a way to do it out of the box.
      Onwards with About Me
      With this, I now only have to figure out how I want to set up the History part about me. I have some ideas for it that include setting up a database where each category will become a full width component, or just use blocks for it. I'll ponder on it some more in the coming weeks to see where I might land on that.
      Always moving forward 🙂

      Year 3 has begun - the plans and thoughts for next year

      So yesterday was my birthday. My 47th, actually. It marks the beginning of year 3 as I started the new website based on Invision Community back in 2019. In 2019 and 2020 I have done quite a bit on the website and I aim to continue that in year 3 as well. The sections are finally getting some attention and I feel less focused on databases and more focused on pages to build up more structure. Year 3 will be a bit more focused on Pages in general, I think.
      About Me
      This section is missing the about me part, actually, which is a bit annoying. So I am focusing on that right now, where my focus is on building components for the About Me section. This page will focus on a few key areas:  My Competence, My story and probably a section about Who Am I. The Competence area are focused around four components: The Holistic Consultant introduction,  The Section Roles, The Hire me banner and a block with reviews.
      The Section Roles will be a node in itself where I will make sort of a CV for each role. It will act as a landing page of sorts where I will present myself in that role. I will bring in relevant projects, downloadable CV,  some images and so on. I will probably also connect to the roles database and tools that seem relevant. With 19+ roles that I need to have in two languages (English and Swedish) this will take a while, but I am in no hurry.
      For my Story, I will have multiple pages, I think. I have not quite ironed out how I want this yet, but there will be multiple sections for sure based on the different periods in my life. Early years, running my own company, the consultant years and so on. I am toying with a sort of timeline, but I fear it will be too much work to maintain in the long run. I do not aim to create a record of my life after all, just a background to who I am and why.
      The Sections
      Another area that is sorely missing are the Section areas. I had this idea in my mind, but it never really manifested the way I wanted it. Now I feel I have at least a little idea on where to take them next. I am still looking into the focus areas, as each section will have certain products are services that should have their own little spaces. I have used Clubs for this in the past, but I am not 100% sold on that setup yet, even if clubs absolutely will be a prominent part of that setup.
      The landing page of each section is divided into two subsections. I am doing this for consistency, but also because I feel all areas have at least two subsections that make sense. I will start with Development, where I will divide into backend and frontend on the landing page. As my area of expertise is in the frontend aspect, I will then focus on that area in particular. The frontend section will in term be divided into two new subsections: HTML/CSS and JavaScript.
      Since there are plenty of products and services that are frontend focused rather than HTML/CSS or JavaScript focused, I will need to find a good way to present this and also to create focused areas where needed. Bootstrap for example is a framework that includes all frontend, so it should be at the frontend level. Same thing with IDE's like Visual Studio Code or IntelliJ that even works on the Development level since both frontend and backend can use them. This is where it would be useful to be able to add a product or service to multiple categories...
      I do plan on focusing on one area each month, which should mean that all nine areas will be updated by the end of Year 3.
      Writings
      Writing is an important part of the site and although I am not unhappy with the way things are set up, I want to encourage more guest blogging. So there needs to be a page that describes this and a set of benefits that fit that as well. So I am going to create a new page for guest blogging and promote it with a block on the articles section. This way, I can at least add some attention to the fact that you can guest blog here.
      The second thing I want is to drive in some attention to the site itself by posting on other websites. Medium is a popular area and I might look at that, but I am more interested in guest blogging on other websites. Since I am planning on building a new links section, it makes sense that I also reach out to prominent bloggers as I find good websites. I will try to write at least one guest blog each month as part of that month's Section focus.
      It has been slow lately on the writing front. It is not that there is nothing to write about, quite the opposite. It's more that life in general has been a bit challenging and I have not had the calm that I need to sit down and write. Not only that, but it has also been very hot and more troubling with my SHR that has caused some issues. I do think that once the sections are more in place, I can find more focus on writing as I can focus on the products and services that I define myself.
      Databases
      On the database side, I don't feel any rush to extend the databases I have so far. The exception would be the Roles database that I need to update and get setup properly. I will create two new databases as well: The Atlassian add-on database and the Profiles database.  The Profiles database I will take some inspiration from the About Me section to build up a database where you can present yourself. The idea here is to provide a connection between people and companies, but also with products and possibly even articles and more. It is still early in the ideation phase for Profiles, but it is a focus area for Year 3.
      Contact and Jira
      Right now I have a setup with customer support in Jira and I want to move away from that I think. Not that it is a bad thing to have Jira setup for that, but because I want to focus things on this site. I also will attempt to make some videos based on Jira and Confluence, and it is best if that can be done without live data. So I will change this setup and use a forum instead. At least until I decide I want to make a custom solution based on Pages in the future.
      Year 3 is also Year 0
      Starting today, I am also making a fresh start in regard to health. I am getting older and I have gained a lot of weight lately since I am just sitting around all day. I need to address this and since my son is very keen on training I will get back to that again. Like the site, this is not a quick fix or a short term solution, but a long term one with focus on losing weight and increasing flexibility. I have a big belly that needs to be tightened as well.
      How this will play out depends a lot on the way the pandemic will affect life. Travel time is always a factor, but I have found a way to get things done before, and I can do it again if I put my mind to it. So it is time to get back to the gym and to get the adrenaline flowing again.
       
      Year 3 is here and it is full of marvels!

      Home Office - starting to come together

      Yesterday I got some deliveries from Amazon with the latest upgrades for my home office. It was not a lot of things, but it made a big impact. Two new screen raises, a monitor arm with laptop tray and a little foot-pillow really made a big difference. Not only that, but it was also very cheap for the improved experience.

      The main screen raise is a three part black wood version and it was pretty easy to put together. It also fit very well on the desk and since it is adjustable in width, I can play around with it to see what width I like. The monitor arm on the other hand had more parts than a small car, and I needed less than a third of it. I still have the option to add a second arm if I like, but I don't have any plans for it at the moment.
      The idea behind the laptop on the side is that I will use that for presentations and streaming. I do have an extra camera as well, but it looks a bit nicer when I can look into the camera while I also show things, as opposed to showing the side of my head, or top of it as my main monitor is so huge. I can easily switch the settings on my keyboard to work on either computer, and I am getting an apple trackpad to use as a secondary mouse for the mac. I will of course also use it for design work on  the PC when needed.
      The second screen raise was pretty much just the tray and four legs. I assembled it in 30 seconds or so, and I use it to get my PC off the ground a bit. It is a bit short, but I managed to get the feet of the PC on the edge on each side, so it works pretty well. The foot-pillow was surprisingly good and I feel the effect right away.
      With this second upgrade, I now feel very good about my setup. Next step will be to get the walnut desk top from Ikea. I am not sure if I will get the second desk top for building my own screen raise just yet. The reason for that is that this screen raise actually worked very well and since it is black it will still work well even on a walnut desk. There is also a pretty big cost involved.
      I do feel I need some LED to illuminate the back of the desk a bit so I can see a bit better what I have below the screen now. I also spent some time yesterday looking at something to add to the wall behind the screen. It will probably be some form of canvas or MDF, so I just need to find the right motif that fit not just my home office, but also the bedroom where the home office is located.
      So, step 3 will be the new walnut desk top and then during the fall I will add some items from Grovemade as step 4.
      So far so good.

      Sections - what to do about them

      The sections have received a first update in Figma. This is the first step to make Sections the natural landing hubs of the site. It is a part of the planning process, and it feels so good to have the tools needed to make new designs with ease now. In both light mode and dark mode.
      Sections was always the intended nodes for content. Everything is actually built around that concept, but it never turned out the way I wanted it. So to get a good start now feels very good to be honest, and I will focus on the Development section first this summer. This is because I feel that this is where my passion is at the moment. I think it will be Atlassian next if the Martin & Servera project get a go for phase 2 in September.
      For the Development section, I am going to split into frontend and backend. Since I am a frontend developer, I will focus on that section first. The Frontend section will focus on two sections: HTML/CSS and JavaScript. Since I suck at JavaScript I will again focus on HTML/CSS and for that area I want to make resources for people who are new to this field. So some starting guides and probably a list of tags, like on W3Schools, are things I consider.
      I have still not decided if I want to focus sections to different products, like Code Editors, or specific code libraries such as Bootstrap or Angular. I think I need to consider the possibility, but not focus on it right away. It might become more interesting down the line when I have had a chance to get some help with content.
      This is something I will try to expand upon in Year 3, adding more admins to help with certain areas that they are passionate about. Not sure if it will happen in year 3, or if I need to add more content first, so it might happen in year 4. I will still add it to the sections and I will dedicate a whole page for guest blogging, just to make things more valuable for others to contribute.
      So, sections are starting to take form. It's still a long way to go, but it is moving slowly, but surely.

      Home Office - the new upgrades

      My home office is getting a new upgrade next week. It is time to get some things sorted and I am making some test in this upgrade to see where I want to go next. It will not be any expensive upgrades this time around, except for maybe ordering a custom desk top from Ikea. The aim is to test some things out before I decide on what to do next, and to get some things ready for this fall.
      So the first purchase I did was to get a screen rise. Considering my screen is a 48' tv with a base of 25 cm, I needed something big. So I have bought a black FITUEYES that has a base of 28cm. If this works well, I might keep it or I will build my own using the same custom walnut desk top from Ikea. The aim here is to raise the screen and free some space below so I get more space on the desk.
      The second purchase is a BONTEC monitor arm with a laptop mount. This will allow me to use my laptop for screencasts by mounting the laptop to the side. This will make it a bit easier and more natural to present and have video calls, as my huge screen make it a bit awkward when my eyes focus far off the camera. I also have a Logitech C90s on a swivel arm that I can use as a secondary camera if I like.
      In addition to this, I also have purchased a small HUANUO stand to place my PC on so it comes off the ground a bit. It also allows me to place the computer over the table foot if I need. I am testing a HUANUO ergonomic foot support as well and a new 900x400mm mouse pad since my current one is a bit dirty and I can use a second one to switch to.
      Next up on the list is a new desk top from Ikea. It will be a bit expensive since I will order a pretty big top. I will go for a Karlby walnut desk top as I like the color of that one. At 160cm x 65cm it will cost close to 6000 SEK ($690), which is why I want to test some things before I commit to the exact size.
      Once I commit to the desk top, I will either put some money on a second one that will be the new screen raise, or I will use the black one if it works well. This fall, I will most likely make some orders from Grovemade where I am aiming for a felt desk mat and a leather mouse pad that seem to be good investments. I'll probably order some coasters and maybe a planter or two.
      I will update you next week when I have had a chance to set this up and test it.

      A new beginning - the new theme is in place

      The new theme has been added to the site. As I started to convert things I realized I would mess up the current theme anyway and there was really no reason not to make the switch. So the new theme is here, with the dark mode switch. This now means I have some bugs to fix and a whole new playground to play with!
      The new theme is not really new as it is based on the old theme, but as I have rebuilt the header from scratch I still call it new. I have also done quite a lot of work to get the dark mode to work properly. The dark mode required a bit of thinking, as I do not want to have multiple classes for everything.
      So instead I used the standard IPS classes and I added a set of color variables for the custom code I have created for my databases and Pages. This works quite well because all I want to do is change the colors when changing to dark mode. I have four background colors defined and two font colors. This pretty much takes care of all the basics I need.
      I have realized that I might need an inverted set as well for areas like the featured blocks. I need a background color for it and two fonts, one darker and one lighter. Furthermore, I might need a border as well, but I don't use it yet, so I am not sure if I want to add it.
      IPS use RGB for their colors, so I may adapt my colors to that as well. It is a bit annoying that they only add the RGB value, even if I understand why. While this makes it possible to add the opacity value separately for each class, it also locks the color values to RGB and prevent me from using hex or HSL.
      Regardless, I can not continue making small adjustments to the bugs that can be seen in dark mode, especially, and then focus on the next steps. Right now, I am refocusing the site and trying to figure out what it has to offer for visitors. Who do I create for and what do I hope the site will provide for a visitor, these are questions that are very important as they will determine how I will redesign the different areas.
      I am recreating the hero banners with a new structure that will make them to behave a bit more the way I want. Rather than just being a one layer image, the new hero banners will have multiple layers that behave differently. The aim is to have a background color and a vector based image on top that both stretch 100%. On top of that, I will have the vector section image that will be restricted to the content area. This will allow me to control the presentation of that image better.
      The content on top of the hero will also be rebuilt. I will use flexbox to create a two section area, with the left still having the text box and buttons. The right side can have different content depending on the area, and I am playing around with different ideas here. I have a lot of isometric images I can use, but I am also trying out characters to help humanize the site a bit. Not only is it fun to create characters, even if I will use stock characters for starters, but it also helps visitors to identify with the site on a  psychological level.
      I am considering what to do with the different databases as well. Right now things are a bit scattered about and I am not sure clubs is the best way to handle all things. So I will for example bring in Movies into the general forum and I will create new forums for frontend development as part of the refocusing of the Development section. These will be questions based, as that is mostly what I think people will want to do anyway in these sections.
      The Development section will be split into frontend and backend, where I will focus on the frontend part. The plan is to start building a platform for letting others learn about HTML and CSS and then to allow people to become community leaders for different focus areas.  So for HTML and CSS for example there will be areas for the different frameworks such as Bootstrap and Tailwind. If this turns out the way I like it, I will expand on this for the other sections. Management for example will have sections for methodologies like SAFe, ITIL and IT4IT and design will have for the big tools like Sketch, Figma, Adobe, but also a split between UX and UI. And so on...
      As you probably can tell, there are a lot of new sections and pages that will need to be built. This is where I really get excited, however, and my Figma is already loaded to start the process of designing new blocks and modules.
      Year 3 will be very exciting indeed!

      Year 3 design refresh is a slow, but steady progress

      The first step of the design refresh is complete. The new header is in place and I have the dark/light toggle setup. I have moved over the design into a new skin on this site, and it is now time to rebuild the custom templates to make them work with the dark/light toggle. Overall, I am happy with the changes so far, but there is a lot to do going forward.
      Adding the Dark/Light toggle was a bit of a struggle to get the cookies setting right, while also maintaining the original concept. The fact that I wrote the code in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping might have had an impact on that, though. One benefit of having this switch is that it show very clearly where the original design deviated from the standard. It might sound like a simple thing, but going back and remake the designs will not only allow me to make things right, it also is a good learning experience into the Invision Community variables.
      My next step is now to redesign the footer, since it contain a lot of code I no longer need. There are some bugs involved in the footer as well, so I will take care of those at the same time. After that, I will focus on the pages templates. For them, I will just start with adjusting the CSS so they use the variables instead of hard color values.
      With this now in place, I will add all of this to Figma so I can start working on making designs for the many pages I plan for year 3. I already have colors and fonts setup, but I need to recreate and set up the header and footer and then redesign the blocks and heroes a bit. Once I have that, I can start creating new designs. Since I now have two designs with the light/dark mode feature, I will need to make multiple versions of each design, though. It will be extra interesting!
      The first pages that I will build are the sections of course. I have had this on my to-do list for 2 years now, so it is time. The start page also will get a facelift with a proper design. Here I have collected ideas for a while and I think I have a design in mind, but it includes buying some more images from Shutterstock. Since I want the most bang for my buck, I am collecting graphics to fill up the 750 images I plan to purchase. It is actually not as easy as it sounds to collect that many, but I'll get it done.
      So things are moving forward, slowly, but surely.

      The first steps - for year 3 site updates

      The first new steps for Year 3 updates are in progress now, and I am rebuilding the theme again on the beta site. I have started with the new header and will do the footer as well before I move things over to this site. I plan to add a light/dark toggle as well because it seems like a fun thing to do, but overall it will be a lot of cleaning up mostly.
      The new header is starting to come along and I have the basics done. I decided to move away from custom navigation and will instead use the default navigation. The only downside is that adding icons and pills require a bit more CSS than before, but I can live with that. The upside that the navigation is always in sync makes up for that, I think.
      I also remade the sections that will only be seen in desktop mode. It's pretty similar to what I had before, but some slight adjustments as I rebuilt it from scratch. If you want to test the prototype, then I have a codepen for that (seen below).

      See the Pen JWSE Sections by Jimi Wikman (@jimiwikman) on CodePen.
      I will move on to the footer soon, but first I will need to add the color variables and the font variables into the custom.css. I will also add the toggle for dark/light so I can see that it works properly before I do the footer. This is because the header and footer will probably stay the same regardless of setting.
      With the update, I will also go over the areas and the current features, since I want to remove some areas and set some others as hidden. This so I can focus on the refresh areas and remove areas that are no longer things that I find useful. I am also stepping away from the changes I made to the widget areas previously, and I will instead use CSS to break out full-width containers.
      For blocks, I will rework them completely to make them work even if I switch themes. That means that each block will contain all the CSS and JS, just like how Angular components work. I will also rework the CSS for every Pages template to clean them up as much as possible.
      It is still a week and a half until I start my vacation, but as always...things are moving, even if it is slow!

      Rebuilding the site again for Year 3

      With the upgrade of the site to 4.6 I noticed some areas where things broke a bit. Nothing major, but it will add up eventually and I do have a planned clean up set anyway, so I will do a bit of reconstruction, or rebuilding. As things have progressed, I have felt that the CSS is getting bloated, so I feel like correcting that while at the same time try some new things.
      As part of the rebuild, I will make some adjustments to the structure of things, like making sure that all databases have unique templates and that CSS is loaded only when a certain component or section is called. For example, I plan on adding section specific CSS only when that section is loaded by using template conditions. Same thing with components, where I will include the CSS needed in the component itself rather than using the global one.
      I will start listing the different main classes for Invision Community as well so I can use it in different overrides, but also to reuse in certain aspects of the design. For example, I am toying with the idea of having different theme colors based on the section, so I could quickly make a change to these colors by making an override file that only show on certain sections.
      I am looking into the possibility to add a dark theme switch to the site as well. Not because I think it will be necessary, but mostly because it is something that looks fun and it can be a good learning experience. When it comes to adding things, I am going to remove some things as well. It will be some plugins that I am not really using at the moment, like the Quiz, the Links and the Books sections.
      I will start with the framework of the site, where I will look into the possibility to move the header and footer to their own templates and then build the basics for the global variables. I will of course make these changes to the beta site first, where I will also take advantage of the Designers' mode since it will allow me to work faster.
      So, there is some work to be done!

      CSS Deep Dive - Exploring CSS in more depth

      With the new update to Invision Community coming next week and the end of Year 2 for this site closing in, I am excited to play around some more this summer. One area I look at digging deeper into are CSS and HTML, as they are things I love to play around with, but also seem to be a bit tricky for new developers. So why not dig into it and see what is going on in the world, while show some basics to new developers?
      CSS is one of those areas where you are never, ever fully a master. There are so many ways to work with CSS, and it is continuously evolving. It feels that every day I discover new ways to do things and how to use things in ways that baffles my mind. Everything from what measurement units to use to variables and key frames or even how to use CSS to create 3d animations is just mind-boggling at times.
      So I feel that CSS is a good place to focus for a while and to build up the section page for.  It would be nice to build something like the W3Schools, but I am not sure if it would make sense unless I can add something that w3schools do not already provide. I'll ponder on that for a while and see how I feel once I start playing around a bit. It would make sense to make sort of a catalog over things and create a new CSS section in the forum as a way to start expanding on the code section a bit.
      What I aim to do though is to go through pretty much all the CSS properties and see what new things I can learn. I have not played around much with animations, for example, and you always can look through the selectors and functions because I don't use them nearly as much as I should. Overall, this will be a fun exercise I think, and it should give me plenty of article material for a while.
      A bit unrelated, I am also going to work more on the mobile aspect of the site. This means there will be a some refactoring in general around here, and my first stop will be the database templates that I will rebuild from scratch. I will probably go with CSS grid since I want to move some things around, but also to play around with it to see its capabilities compared to flex.
      So, a lot of fun things to play around with soon!
       

      Going multitheme and preparing for Invision Community 4.6

      Invision Community 4.6 is coming soon and with it comes a new rank and achievements that is awesome. This will be a great place to start working on more community based features and to build in this system in the various databases and so on. I am also considering diving more into multi theme by adding more themes. Not just to play around with themes, but to explore better ways to build things, so it will work with any theme.
      The first iteration of ranks and achievements will have pretty much everything I was missing in the current rank system, so it will be a great start. The problem however is that the feature is only shown in the forum, so I will need to add it to the comments form for all other areas. I will see if I can find a good solution for that.
      Design wise I am looking into childe themes so I might be able to use it on the sections. This also means that I am going to dive a bit deeper into adding multi theme setups. I will probably also start looking into a dark theme eventually and how to best make the switch for the users. Not because it is exceptionally important from a health perspective, but more because I want to explore that aspect of web development.
      As far as making my setup here at home the way I want I have made some additional investments this week. I will make the big investment next month for the new table-top, but this month I have bought a set of Philips Hue Light bars. These will be placed behind my TV to brighten up the wall behind it. Once I have the new table-top I might add a light strip as well.
       
      I also bought a Logitech C920s Pro HD webcam since I not only spend a lot of time in video calls, but also because I might be doing some tutorials for my YouTube Channel later. People keep telling me that I am a good teacher, so I figure I might try to throw out some tutorials for Jira and Confluence for example. I have heard good things about this one, and it comes with a privacy shutter that is also nice. Since I have a very thin top of my TV this one also seem to be able to handle that.
      To get my head a bit in order and to get some creativity flowing again I ordered a new Moleskin notebook and some pens. I felt a bit crazy today so I decided on a Blend Hardcover Large Dark Blue Moleskin. It has a fabric cover, which I have not tried before, so I figured why not. For the pens I caved and ordered some Tombow Fudenosuke hard tips since everyone say they are so great. I start out with just 4 colors to test things out: black, brown, orange and pink.
      Finally, I ordered a Samdi Vertical Laptop Stand in Walnut to place my MacBook Pro. I have not really tried to plug it in yet into the new setup, but I figure there are times when I might want to do that. If for nothing else to use Sketch again. It's not a big investment and it will look good on the new table-top I think.
      So, this setup I have in mind is slowly coming together. With the new table-top and the homemade "bench" to raise the TV a few inches so I get a lot more desk space I think this summer will be pretty amazing!
      So, fingers crossed 🙂

      Feeling Creative - Spring is here and it’s both painful and amazing

      Spring is here and with that comes some good things and some bad things. On the upside I am doing quite a lot of overtime lately, but in a very good way that is well worth the time spent for my well-being. I am also slowly getting back into a creative mode and it feels amazing.
      So, lets start with spring and the feeling of daylight returning that invigorate the soul. It has been some amazing days lately with lots of sun mixed with some rainy days that also have their positive effect on me. The combination have had a bit of a downside as well as the trees have really gone bananas releasing a lot of pollen.
      While I am not allergic, I have SHR and that makes it almost as bad. Unlike people with allergies or asthma, there are nothing that will take the edge off for someone with SHR. So it has been a bit annoying at times when breathing was a bit difficult, my eyes swollen and all my joints aching. Everything itches and I feel hot without having a fever.
      In short, it is not the best feeling in the world and it drains energy for sure. In the greater scope of things however it's nothing compared to the suffering we still have around the world. So I'll complain a bit and sleeping is a bit tricky, but I'll live.
      On the upside I have a second project on top of my 100% at Martin & Servera where I am helping ChessIT writing up a design guide for the design work I have done over the last year or so for them. I am doing this on weekends and evenings, which is usually a bad idea, but in this case it is doing wonders for my energy levels. It is really satisfying to be able to do design again and document it in a design guide type of way.
      It has inspired me to do more design as well, so this weekend I have created the new rank icons that will be added when Invision Community will release their 4.6 release that should come sometime before the summer I think. They turned out pretty good and just for good measure I have decided to top that with writing the guide for setting up the Task Manager using InDesign. It has been a while since I last used InDesign, but it is as fun as always!

      Life is (mostly) good and I expect that I should be able to get the first vaccination in a few weeks for COVID-19. Hopefully that allows me to go back to the gym again soon. I really, really need that...

      Other than that I am doing design sketches for the fence we are building around the porch and in about a month I will buy that new wooden desk top so I can pimp my desk a bit this summer.
      Life is good.
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