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  • My Personal Blog


    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

    ― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"

    Calmness and feeling good.

    This weekend I have had a little cold. It's not really a cold though, but that one that comes from when you end a project. A signal from the brain that you should slow down and enjoy life a bit before going into the next assignment. The new office space is taking shape and I am  starting to get the whole "working on Windows" part down. I feel calm in heart and soul and it's a pretty good day today.
    As my assignment for Stockholm Exergi came to close I felt good. Not to leave as it is a great place to work, but because I felt I provided value during my time there. I will do a few hours each week to support Stockholm Exergi even in the future, which feels good. Overall I feel very good about my time with Stockholm Exergi and I may return at a later date if they have need of me.
    On Monday I start a new assignment with Martin & Servera. I will execute the plan I did a pre-study for last year to implement Jira and Confluence in the organization. It will be a lot of fun and I look forward to it a lot.
    At home, I have worked at my new home office for a week now and it has been amazing. I am very pleased with the setup I have now, even if I still need to make some cable management and small adjustments. I thought I would find the huge TV to be difficult to get adjusted to, but it has been nothing but great. No matter if I do design, PowerPoints or write code it is very good. For gaming, it is awesome and for movies it is breathtaking.
    Working on a PC again is a bit of a pain of course, but not at all as bad as I thought. The only real pain point is Figma so far, but it is growing on me. I still don't like it for vectors, but for web design it works very well. It is like the best effort software that takes the best things from multiple products and mash it into one. It does all things pretty well, but none of it as well as the focused products. I can work with that.
    Now that I have calmness again I did set up Visual Studio Code so I could start working on the project with @Marko Salonen that has been left hanging a while as life sorted itself out. It is not behaving as I want it to just yet, but it is good enough to get coding again. Yesterday I set things up and started coding the design for the start page, which now look pretty good. It should not take very long to get that project setup properly in a few weeks so we can start to expand it later this spring.
    For the website I am going to make a small update to the edit template for projects and then the plan is to get a design in place for the Roles database. I have it roughly sketched up on paper, but I will make it in Figma as well to make sure I like it. As I work quite a lot with roles for work, I think this can be a good thing to have set up and build upon. I know a lot of people are looking for this kind of definition, so it will be a good thing to offer.
    That is all for today. Now I will go shave and then probably do some cable management before I relax with some Outriders demo in preparation for the full release in a few weeks.
    Calmness.

    BenQ Screenbar Plus Lamp review

    The BenQ screenbar Plus lamp is a very nice addition to your desktop setup as it add both a great working lamp, but also because it can help reduce some eye strain issues. The setup is super easy, but it comes with a few issues...
    When I got my BenQ screenbar Plus I was first impressed by the packaging. It is pretty great, and you can really see the care placed into that design. The second thing I noticed was how simple it was to assemble and setup. Just insert the bar into the handle and twist. Done.
    Function wise BenQ screenbar Plus comes with a small dial that is super easy to use and very convenient. It comes with two buttons, one to switch between brightness and color temperature and one for automatically setting the light to fit the surrounding conditions. The dial makes it easy to manage the light and temperature, and it also acts as the power button.
    The bar itself is easy to place at the top of your monitor. Unless you have a super thin OLED screen like I do, then you need to get a bit creative. BenQ screenbar Plus fit anything that is between 1 cm and 3 cm and with my screen being just a few millimeters thick at the top it did not fit properly. I simply added some soft furniture pads on to of each other to get the thickness I wanted, and it worked like a charm.
    One thing that worked great for me, but that I can see can cause a bit of an issue is that BenQ screenbar Plus has a split cable. That means that if you have the USB outlet and the lamp itself widely separate places you might need a USB extender. As I said, for me this was not an issue since I just plugged it into the USB outlet on my screen, which was a perfect fit.
    I have not really experienced any eye strain yet from my massive screen, but I think the BenQ screenbar Plus help relax my eyes more. This is especially important since I do not have proper lightning in the room yet, which means there is very hard contrast between the screen and backlight.
    The BenQ screenbar Plus is not cheap, but having used this for a few days I think this has been a very good investment.
     

    A new home office on the way

    After a long time working from home, I finally have a working home office again. It still needs some tweaking and adjustments, but it is a whole lot better than before. I feel I can finally focus again and actually get things done, even if I obviously could get things done before as well, but you know what I mean!
    The new screen (TV) far exceed my expectations, and it is amazing for focused work. I have added a BenQ Screenbar Plus Lamp to add some front lightning, which feels amazing to be honest. It adds that direct light I need when taking notes or drawing ideas. It also reduces some blue light to make working long hours feel less strainful on the eyes.
    My Mophie keep my Apple devices charged without any cords as well as provide a quick glance when I want to know what time it is. I picked out my old Jabra that has been tucked away for years, which give me a proper speaker on my desk. Once I get a webcam as well, I no longer need to rely on my Mac for online meetings, which is great.
    My gaming headphones and Razer Tartarus fit nicely behind the screen and I have plenty of space between myself and the screen to place items I need there. For now, I have my Mac and iPad below the stack of notebooks I have, but I am looking into solutions for that in the future. I am considering adding a small shelf to place the screen on, so it comes up a bit and provide some additional space below.
    There are still a few things on my to-do list for the home office, like adding some form of backlight to the wall behind the screen to soften the room a bit. Other things like buying a headphone stand are also being planned as well as some form of foot support below the desk. First though I need some form of cable management because things are looking horrible at the moment!
    Getting this home office in place have provided me with a sense of calm I did not even know I missed this badly.
    Life is indeed good.

    Feeling unfocused and disorganized

    Even though I love my new computer and the TV that I use as a monitor, I feel unfocused and disorganized. Having my work area in the kitchen is far from optimal, especially with windows and me living on the bottom floor. Fortunately this should all come to pass on Monday.
    Let me start by saying that working on a PC again feels weird. Working on a 48-inch TV is even more weird. Yet it feels amazing! Working in the kitchen however is not amazing, but it is endurable. The biggest issue I have is that I have windows on my left side and behind me, making it a bit hard to concentrate as people run past or a car pull up with the headlights on behind me.
    Because the situation is temporary I also don't want to commit too much to the setup in terms of cable management or peripheral devices. This makes things less organized than I like, and it causes some frustrations. So when I learned that my desk would not show up until March 15 due to the size of the table top I decided to change that to a larger one. This way I can get it delivered on Monday, which is something I feel I really need at this point.
    My Monday is of course fully packed, but I will work some extra hours this weekend, so I can clear parts of Tuesday to get things setup properly. Since I will have a raisable desk I will need to check how I want things setup and based on my decisions I will need to buy some additional cables and things for cable management. I also need to look at power management and depending on the material of the table top I might look into drilling out a hole for cable management or to expose USB ports for example.
    So hopefully things will start to feel complete, and I can focus much better when I have the home office space properly setup.
    I can't wait!

    Outriders - a new favorite?

    Outriders is a new game being released on April first, but they did release a demo for it this week. It is a looter shooter, but a bit more linear with a pretty awesome storyline. I have played the demo a bit and I have to say I really like it so far!
    I have felt that Destiny 2 has not engaged me lately. Even if they announced that the sunsetting is in a way reverted, I still do not feel the need to play it as much as I used to.  Outriders seem to fit that itch very nicely because I feel that I want a game that I can grind on my own terms, that is rewarding and fun.
    Destiny 2 is not that at the moment.
    Outriders on the other hand feels great. It's challenging if you want it to be, the gameplay is fun and I can choose the play style I want rather than being forced into using something that is not enjoyable. The loot is so far pretty exciting because it is new, so we'll see how it pans out once the full game releases. I am still chasing those exotics, which seem to be amazing.
    So far I have focused on just one class and I tried out a second one. I aim to play all four classes before the full game is released to see which one I want to commit to first. They all seem to be far more enjoyable than I first thought and I decided yesterday to pre-order the game.
    I have to say though that the game looks and feels amazing.

    Waiting for order to set in again

    Things are a bit chaotic right now. Tying up loose ends at one project, prepping for the next and at the same time doing some design work and responding to incoming requests that are really flooding now. All this in a work environment that is a tad chaotic as my home office is waiting for deliveries.
    So, working from a kitchen table is not optimal to say the least, but it works. Hopefully this will be the last week that I will be doing that as I should get my new desk this coming week, or the week after that. This will give me a more secluded space in the bedroom where I will be able to focus better. With a raisable desk and a proper office chair my body will be most grateful as well I think, so I really look forward to that.
    Today I also got the news that my new screen and computer has been shipped, which means they will arrive later this coming week. Me and my wife have decided that some form of combo for TV and computer screen will be a good investment, so I am getting a huge LG 48" OLED 4K OLED48CX. It will be a bit of a challenge to have such a large screen, but I have looked at some tools to make it possible to focus work a bot better based on David Zhang's productivity video using the same display.
    In my last post I wrote about some other purchases I was planning and these have now all been delivered and sit ready to be placed in their right position on the new desk. I am very happy with the purchases and I really look forward to start using them more in my work.
    I have a feeling that my Mophie 3in1 charger will see my wife's phone snuck in there from time to time as she loves the wireless loading as well. For my Airpods Pro I use them quite a bit already, and I really love them so far. The ability to switch between noise-cancelling and hearing everything is great, not just when you are out walking, but also at home when the rest of the family is also around. The MX Keys keyboard is another thing that I can't wait to start using more as it feel very nice to type on and the possibility to switch between laptop and desktop is awesome. I might extend that to my iPadPro also if it will fit on the desk.
    As this will be my work station for a foreseeable future due to the state of the world these days I will start moving things over to PC from my Mac. By that I mean that I will have things like Office 365 and OneDrive there of course, but I will also start digging into Figma over Sketch to see how I like that. It will be more of a duplication as I will still use my Laptop for many things, or when I need to move away from the stationary office space.
    For my new computer I decided to invest a bit in a more powerful computer, so I can use it as both a productivity computer, but also as a gaming machine. It is not going to be a monster by any means, but it will do the job. I got great advice from @LordVektor that helped me make sure I put in good choices when selecting the components from the prebuilds provided by Komplett. Unlike most gamers I went for a silenced and "invisible" chassi since this one will sit in the bedroom and I did not fully load it with RAM or drives, allowing me to expand as I see fit.
    So, right now things are a bit chaotic in the seating department, but as soon as my desk and chair arrives I feel that I am going to be set up very well.
    Patience is a virtue they say, right? 😉

    A crappy week and something to look forward to

    This week I spent in bed mostly as I was home sick. Typically, this comes at a busy week with lots of fun things to do, both at work and privately. I had some setbacks on the Task manager as well, so I decided to pay for some help. On the upside however things are going well with building a new office space at home, which I very much look forward to.
    Being sick always suck and even if I still have some crap lingering in my joints that still hurt a bit, things are significantly better. Of course this came at the worst time with me having several sessions at work to get new work processes going, and I was working on the task management system.  I will pick this up again next week of course, but it cost time and that sucks.
    As for the task management system I am working with a developer I found on Fiverr to try to figure out how to manage the drag and drop functions. It is a one step forward and one step backwards kind of process, but we do the best we can with a setup that is so far from optimized for what I try to do. It is a bit frustrating as I could not really commit to it when being sick. We'll see how it evolves next week I guess.
    On the positive side however I am getting a new space to work from at home. I have had a sort of gaming spot in the hallway for a while. It is not really a great experience as I sit on a regular chair and my desk is only 40 cm deep with a  fixed height that is way too low for me. It works for short periods of time, like for gaming a few hours, but it is not a great experience for prolonged periods of time. Combined with a lot less movement working from home it has caused issues with my back.
    My wife suggested that we could move the wardrobes in our bedroom as they are standing in a sort of alcove inset in the wall. Since we are renting the apartment I checked with the landlord, and we have approval to move the wardrobes. So next week we get a carpenter coming by to help with that as there is some electrics that needed to be managed and of course securing the wardrobes in the hallway where we will move them.
    I have also ordered an adjustable desk to fit that alcove, so I can both stand or sit when I work. I also ordered a proper chair, so I get a good working situation when seated. As my keyboard I have for my PC is pretty old and the cord has been damaged I also invested in a new keyboard. As I prefer low profile keys I went for the MX Keys keyboard as it seem to fit my needs. I will also switch between my mac and the PC, which is easy to do as the MX Keys have dedicated keys for that. It also has both PC and Mac designations on the keys, which will be great.
    I will invest a bit more in this office space once I see how it will be setup. I will for example need to extend the network cable and do some cable management. I also plan to buy a wireless loader for my Apple devices, which I should have bought a long time ago. I will probably get the Mophie 3in1 charger, just so I can manage all my devices at once. I also plan on getting the Airpods Pro, not just for the video calls, but also for the gym that hopefully will soon be open again, so I can get back to that.
    Overall I am a bit tired from last week, but I feel very good about finally building a proper office space at home. I think it will be amazing, and it is all thanks to my amazing wife ❤️

    Task management and other fun stuff

    This week has been very productive. This is true for work where I held two pretty big training sessions, but also for the site where I built a task management system from scratch using Pages. This week has also been a busy week for recruitments and I have received five actual job offers this week alone.
    At work this week I held two training sessions for the client I am working for. One for portfolio management and one for requirement analysis. Both of these required quite a lot of preparations and with both training sessions being two hours long, I could definitely feel the price. Fortunately these things also give quite a lot of energy, so even if it drains you it also put just as much back. So I have felt very good this week I must say.
    This has also led to me taking on yet another crazy project (I know!). This time it is to build, or rather try to build, a task management system. I used Jira as the starting point, but with the aim to make something that land between Trello and Jira. Fast, easy to use and very lightweight. What I have now is very much an MVP, but I like it very much. The backlog of things I want to do is still quite long, but I am in no hurry. I am digging into JavaScript a bit more, trying to find solutions for how to sort and later drag and drop cards in a Kanban view. It's fun, and it feels good to have a good tool for task management at hand on the site as it make it much easier to use.
    Other than that  have been overly popular this week from headhunters and I have had no less than 5 job offers so far.  What is interesting is that the job offers are more on point than usual, and it seems that the salary they offer is more in line with what I expect for my experience and knowledge. I do get more than a few job offers over the year, but they are often not really something that fit me, or the salary offered is 20-50% below what I would even consider. It seems that the headhunters are stepping things up a bit and that companies out there are willing to pay for experience.
    So overall this has been a great week because not only have I accomplished a lot, but we also got some snow finally!
    I hope your week has been good as well and that life treat you well.

    Reflections on building a task manager

    It is kind of weird how your mind get wired to certain ways of working. Even more weird is when you are forced to do things differently you actually find that those ways may not be the best way to do things. When building the Task Management using IPS Pages I found this to be particularly true...
    Hierarchies
    Coming from 10 years working, designing and educating for Jira I had certain things hardwired into the way I designed the Task management database here on the site. The Hierarchy of issues for example has constantly been an issue in Jira. In Pages there are no hierarchies and after trying to hack it a bit I realized that I can actually have any hierarchy without having to build it.
    By adding a database relation field pointing to the same database I can create a bidirectional link between the tasks. I use this to allow each task to define a parent issue. By doing this I can create any structure I want. In the issue view itself this linkage is shown for the parent link, but it also shows that link from the other end. This allows me to show tasks as subtasks for any task that have set the task as its parent.
    I added a form below the subtasks that automatically add the parent link of the task you create them from. That makes it very fast to create subtasks as well.
    Show all and use the filters
    At first, I wanted to hide subtasks to get that same look as in Jira. Once I stepped away from the hierarchy idea I also realized that since I no longer had a hierarchy that was no reason to hide anything. Everything is just tasks to be done, and I added both the issue type and the assignee fields as filters. This makes it very flexible as I can show tasks on any level assigned to anyone, or I can just look at all activities at once.
    I think this will be even more powerful when I add the sorting feature, so I can drag and drop things to set the order of items. Even without that I really love the flexibility these filters provide.
    Notifications
    Notifications are something that is very annoying in Jira and at first I had my mind set on making sure you get notified when you get assigned and so on. Once I started to look into it however I realized that this is actually not something that benefit most users. I started to consider how many times I have set up rules for notifications from Jira just to get rid of them and how many times I actually had any action taken based on a notification.
    I realized that it is far better to communicate if I want to make sure the assignee take some form of action. This is very easily done using the comment form with a mention.
    A good way to challenge your views
    Overall I think I have challenged my views on what a task management should look and behave like. Old ways are not always the best, and it is refreshing to consider things from different angles because the platform forces you into new ways of defining your workflow.
    More lessons to be learned.
    I look forward to digging deeper into this and to see if I should add a second database for support requests, or use the same. The idea of one single entity for support kind of appeals to me to be honest, and I am playing with the idea of adding different issue types to different categories to some extent. I might even add support articles, so I can tie them into a support ticket and so on.
    There is so much to explore and learn.

    Building a taskmanager using only standard Pages functionality

    Yesterday I started playing around with a new database to see if it is possible to make a task management system using nothing but standard functionality in Pages. I am going for a list type of task management similar to Jira as the first step and so far it is going pretty well.
    The biggest challenge so far is of course that Pages do not have hierarchies. Task management should have at least tasks and subtasks, which is proving to be a bit challenging. My first try is based on just having a separate issue type called subtask that is not shown in lists, only if it is related to another issue. It is a crutch, but it seems to work so far.
    I am using categories as something between an Epic and a component, but it makes it fairly easy to manage that type of categorization. Labels are of course built in as are notifications, so that i nothing I have to worry too much about.
    A challenge I need to figure out if how to make fields editable in the front end instead of having to go through the edit form all the time. I can make the fields editable in the frontend just fine, but they are all tossed out in one place, so I need to figure out how to reposition them where I need them. I also need to make it so that people that can edit can see the edit fields and the ones that can not edit only see the output.
    Create new subtasks is another thing I want to find a good solution for. Just an input fields and a submit button would be ideal for quickly creating new subtasks inline. I can add the database relation in a hidden field and then refresh the issue to see the newly created subtask. It should work, but I need to find out how to do it as right now it is not working properly.
    This should be a fun side-project and later on I will try to add a drag and drop functionality for ranking in the list. I also will try to find a solution for making a kanban board with columns for each status, so I can drag and drop things. For this I will also need two states for issues, so I can have a backlog and a "sprint". For first iteration though I can probably just have a continuous work setup where all issues will show in the kanban.
    It is a fun little thing to play around with, but I do not put it high on the priority list at the moment.
    So it will be done, when it will be done.

    Time to work on a design system on top of IPS?

    The more I build, the more I see the need for a design system for JWSE. Not to replace the IPS underlying styles, but to extend on top of them. I have quite a lot of duplicated code right now from trying things out, and it makes sense to try to consolidate things into a more focused design experience.
    As with all sites where you explore and tinker around with things there will be a need to clean things up and optimize from time to time. I already started to explore a design system when I started this site, but I find it a bit hard to switch over to a different system just to document things.
    The question is if the problem is that working with IPS just fall outside of regular development processes since I do not really use an IDE or code repositories. Maybe I just have not found the right tool for me for this purpose. I am not sure, but I will explore it a bit in 2021. There is always the option to simply build a database for it right in IPS, which is an idea I am not terribly against to be honest.
    For the CSS I will start breaking things down in 2021 and define some standard classes that I use most. Tabs and forms for example makes sense to standardize since I use them quite a lot. I have already setup variables for colors and I will extend that a bit where it makes sense for a more functional CSS style.
    I do not plan to have a fully fledged Tailwind or Bootstrap setup, but at least some structure that makes it faster to add components that I use often. It also makes sense to define certain design elements such as colors, fonts and border radius for example. It also makes sense to have a standard definition of things like flexbox and a library of components.
    In the best of worlds this would allow me to simply drop in a custom CSS file in a new theme, change a few colors and then everything will work out of the box.
    It will be a fun project to play around with I think.
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