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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"

    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.

    The databases are coming along just fine

    The work with creating the new databases are moving along fine. The hosting database is getting finished and the company database is just missing the form design. The Product database is next on my list and after that I will focus on the Profiles database. Things are not moving fast, but steadily.
    Hosting Database
    The hosting database is coming along fine. The record view is pretty much done, and I am working on adding the category structure. Since there are quite a lot of countries in the world I found that I have to break some regions into subregions. I want to have icons that match the map of the section that forced me to remake the icons a bit, so I can map out the countries for each region in the larger map.
    Fortunately I found that Vemaps have great vector maps I can use for this. The biggest issue right now is to figure out what regions are since it varies quite a lot depending on what type of break down you want to do. This should be ready for its first iteration shortly I think.
    Products
    The Product database is next on my list of databases to finish. There are quite a few fields for that and a few are new features here on the site. I think this database will need a few iterations because there are so many ways to make this, and it will take a few attempts to get it right I think.
    At the moment I have added connections to several other databases, which looks good. I also added a gallery slider and some other goodies, so I am pretty happy with things right now. I still need to make a custom form for this database, so that is next on the to-do list.
    Roles
    The roles database is pending a bit. This is because I have not put my final thoughts on how this should look, or what information should be added. I have plenty of thoughts and at the moment it is a mix of traditional role definitions such as responsibilities, mandate and relations within the organization and information found in personas such as goals, motivations and pain points.
    I am also toying with the idea to add some personality sliders for things like introvert/extrovert and connections to certifications and education, people and jobs and assignments.
    Profiles
    The Profiles database is still very much a database in progress. I have some thoughts running in my mind, but nothing defined just yet. I want something like the Awesome People, yet more focused on a sort of online CV to promote yourself. Unlike  LinkedIn where the focus is on experience I want to focus on skill. I aim to connect these profiles with roles of course, so you can connect multiple roles that you feel that you are great at.
    Products allow you to show off your expertise, company show what company you are working at, and I might add a way to show previous companies as well. Of course, you should be able to add files such as a CV and a gallery for images of yourself or work that you have done. I might even build a special function for a portfolio...
    Personality I will add the DISC/16personalities as for Awesome people and I might even add a slider like in the Roles database. I will for sure connect to awards and things like certifications and probably to articles as well, so I can connect articles to profiles.
     
    Other Databases
    As you can see I already have some plans for additional databases such as Awards, Jobs & Assignments, Certifications and Courses & Training. I also have the Atlassian Apps database that I am working on. The way I can connect these make it interesting to create a web of databases. Considering how easy it is to set these up it also means I can do this pretty quickly.
    So things are coming along just fine, and I am having a blast building these databases!
     

    Hosting database with pricing tables

    As the companies' database is starting to look good I am looking at the first product based database, which is the Hosting database.  This is something I have wanted to do for a very long time and I did a first attempt back in 2009 that failed because I did not have the tools to make it a reality. Now I have the tools and I just need to figure out how to best make this as good as possible.
    The main focus of the Hosting Database will be the pricing table. The idea is to allow for three packages for each hosting offer. This way most hosting companies can fit their different plans into a nice comparison view. I will need to add some nice CSS accordions to the form to make it easy to work with, and it will need a ton of custom fields.
    This morning I created the new icons for the hosting part and set up the base category structure. I had an icon from back in 2009 in mind and when I searched for my old website I stumbled upon an interview I did with Tommy that sadly passed away in 2019. It made me a bit sad, but I know Tommy would love to see this new section as he loved services like this.
    So, I will continue building this and will make sure it will be a service worthy of an article or two. It is fun to read the ambitions I had back in 2009 are almost the same that I have today!
    Onwards!

    Companies database

    The first step towards setting up the new databases has been taken, and I now have a pretty good start I think. The basic template is there and the first countries has been added. The template for People work great and the other tabs are showing up as they should. I feel that this is a good start!
    Even though there are some CSS magic to be done still for mobile and tablet, I think things are looking pretty good already. There will be a lot of work setting up the countries, but other than that I think that the design is pretty much done. I decided to use a 7 continent setup and then have countries as subcategories. This should be sufficient, especially since I have set up the Industries field as a filter.

    For the company listings I designed it light, and I also added a color to the pinned and featured listings. That will come in handy to highlight special companies, but it can also be used down the road if I want to add a form of paid listing feature.

    The detailed view comes with a little backdrop in the header if you like that and some basic company related fields. I also bring in data from the People database and the Hosting database right now. I will add the Atlassian Apps database later as well and there is support to add as many tabs as I want down the road.

    For the People tab I am still playing around with it, but I can directly call the template I made for My Projects. This makes it very easy to just add the CSS to the page and then everything works perfectly. I will build up the People database with more data though and expand that information even more. For example, I am considering a "looking for work" feature like on LinkedIn.

    So far so good, next up is the hosting database and then the People database....

    2021 - I still have hope

    2021 is almost here and despite a world in flames filled with madness I still have hope. It is easy to focus on the negative in these times, but I refuse to get trapped in that negative spiral. I already have clawed through that earlier this fall and I plan to focus on positivity in 2021. Even more than usual.
    Rather than making resolutions or make promises that fail for 2021 I will simply focus on one single thing next year: Keep moving forward. No big plans, no fixed goals, just continuous momentum no matter how slow. Nothing perfect, just small increments of improvements. All the time.
    I will stop feeding the trolls in 2021 as well. There are a lot of angry, confused and stupid people out there and most of them swarm towards social media to unleash their madness. While it pains me to not point out the lack of logic in their feeble attempts to rationalize their inability to form coherent logic I have realized that it is a futile effort. I have already more or less left Facebook and will do the same with Twitter.
    I will consider what to do with Instagram, but it is a limited platform, so I will most likely dial that back as well in 2021. LinkedIn is one of the few platforms I will remain active on, mostly because it is a good platform to form useful connections rather than a platform for madness. I will still try out different new platforms that popup, but less active than before.
    Instead, I will focus on my website. It is what give me most satisfaction and now that I see some traffic coming in I feel the passion to write and build again. This is where my heart sings with joy, and it is here that I can make meaningful contributions to help others realize their own dreams. Even though I plan to write some controversial things here under my Debate category, I will make sure that critique is partnered with suggested solutions to make it constructive.
    So, for me, I still have hope for 2021, and I look forward to a new year filled with new teachings and explorations.
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