Updated Sep 12, 2017 (Originally Published Sep 11, 2017)
I am back!
This year went differently than planned, the result being I ended up going off the digital grid -- no blog posts, no podcasts, no new public repo development on GitHub.
It's not a help that I am not on any social media, except for Twitter, so there was no corner of social media where you saw me. As for Twitter, I rely on Twitter to stay up-to-date on the technology that I am into, but technology has taken a back seat to politics. so I've stayed away from Twitter.
My plan this year was to do a new version of LaSalle Software, get ecommerce going with LaSalle Software, consolidate all my content into one new site, and build up a renewed family of clients.
Although things have not gone according to plan this year, things have been accomplished. What is clearly not good is that I've been off the grid for far too long, and I can tell you now from hard experience that being off the grid is really bad for marketing! So I've long concluded that once I'm back on the grid, that I am staying on the grid.
I felt pretty strongly that a false start would be very bad -- getting back on the grid, then falling off again, then coming back. I would line things up properly to ensure that once back, I'd stay. So things are now lined up.
I started this year doing something I had not done in a very long while: I took on short-term contracts. I was asked to "help out" with short term pressures on a contract basis not once, but twice back-to-back, by different people. I very much doubt I'll ever do contracting again.
I decided to wait for my contracting to conclude to start work on my software development because, basically, the only time I could work on my software was when I was supposed to be sleeping. The way this year has progressed, I decided that I would get things out of the way first that I was doing, and so clear the path for development. This is exactly what has happened.
Once my contracts concluded, I had a client site to do, my meet-up sites to do, and my new consolidated site to do. They are all done and live. They took an immensely long time to do. I put the sites together with Laravel (of course), an admin package for Laravel (that was not quite plug-and-play), a generic template I modified for blade (there's a subject), and took code from version one of my LaSalle Software. Sometimes I think for all the effort to get these sites up I could have just developed the initial LaSalle Software packages first, but I know in full hindsight that I'd have risked not having any sites up at all.
Now that I have consolidated my sites into ibe new site, I have a list of things I want to communicate to you, so there's fresh content on the way, including re-starting my monthly podcast.
I've been working on a home page that is different from anything I've ever put together. Ultimately, what made me decide to go ahead with my home page idea is to be an example to my clients. Our home pages need to be much more visual, less text-y, significantly less cluttered, and much more media-ish-y. My site is the same, just my home page is different.
There are still issues with my new home page, but I am going ahead with it for two main reasons: the exercise of building it and maintaining it are extremely valuable; and, I achieved the basic premise for myself that I was aiming for.
This year we did something that we were not planning on doing, but had the opportunity to do, and we went for it. We made a major investment in our home office. We did a major home office reno, and we made major equipment investments. We were able to design and build from scratch a solution to accommodate our equipment, implement kick-ass wire management, make our modems accessible, and have a place for our stuff.
I am literally taken by surprise how our morale has shot up. The lighting is better, we are better organized, it is easier to diagnose internet outages, and we know what each wire is for. Our morale boost is a wonderful surprise.
We now have equipment with the three major operating systems: Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. We also have a range of tablets and smartphones. Frankly, we have a finer home office set up than I've seen at many workplaces. Logistically, I have never been more able to serve my clients.
I also went off the beaten path by building what is called a "Hackintosh". I wanted more memory and hardware power for my MacOS, so I put together hand-picked computer hardware components myself to make a fully functioning computer. Then, I loaded the MacOS onto it. It was a real education. I call this computer my "Laratosh".
I am very glad to be back!