I’m Back

Once again there has been an extremely long gap between blog posts, with my last entry posted just before Lockdown 1 last year. The post was the ninth in a series documenting my return to woodworking and subsequent excursion into the world of CNC machining.

Looking back now, I cannot recall why I suddenly stopped the blog articles; maybe it was the sudden shock of coping with lockdown and the realisation that the world had more serious things to think about rather than my drivel about V Carving MDF clocks and Watford FC badges. Or maybe it was just that I couldn’t be arsed.

Of course, just because life became different and restrictive it didn’t mean things stopped and on reflection there’s quite a bit of updating I should really do.

So I made a list.

  • A list of topics I should write about.
  • A list of things that have happened in the past 12 months.
  • A list of things I’ve made.
  • And a list of things that will be happening soon.

And I’ve set myself a challenge to start writing about them.

So watch out for updates on lockdown, holidays, electric cars, CCTV as well as more completed CNC and woodworking projects.

And I promise they’ll be published sooner rather than later!

Blogging through the ages

Today is a milestone as it is the 400th entry of my blog!

It’s hard to believe I’ve written so many posts considering my first entry was entitled ‘Hello World‘ and I tentatively wrote ‘This is my first blog…I’m not sure what I’m going to write here but let’s see here it goes’!

There have been highs and lows during the seven years since it started such as the article I wrote on reaching my 75th donation entitled Diamond Blood to the sad pieces I wrote about the loss of a dear friend Rebecca Allington and Tina’s Auntie Dinkle. I have covered the exploits of being a father of a footballing son in Champions at Last and the point at which I retired as Secretary of the Thrapston Town Juniors FC in 2009, writing at being ‘Football Free‘.

I have also used the blog as a sort of online diary capturing holidays abroad such as New York in ‘It’s like London but on speed‘, our trip to Egypt, the Florida trip to see the space shuttle launch and the road trip to California and Nevada in 2011. I have also detailed the progress of DIY and building works such as the kitchen install last year, giving a daily insight into how things were going.

The blog has been used to mention some of the family events in my life, notable when Tina got a speeding ticket :), ‘Grown Up Girl‘ when Abby started University and ‘Following in the footsteps…‘ when Matt was told he’d been accepted by Virgin Media to become an Apprentice. I also covered the period where I started to get regular colds, ‘Being ill‘, going through to being diagnosed with Coeliacs disease and the trials of sticking to a gluten-free diet. I detailed my experience of going to have laser eye treatment…or not in my case.

I have followed the exploits of Watford FC at various times, which over recent years have been mostly highs. I have extensively covered becoming an Apple fan; firstly getting an iPhone, followed by an iPad then iMac. Then another iPad, another iPhone, a MacBook Air and finally an iPad mini (that lot has certainly given me plenty to talk about). I also told the world about my entry into writing a book in the blog ‘Taking the publishing world by storm‘.

And finally to the challenge of writing a post a day during the four February blogathon’s which I have participated in since 2009; skeptical at first as to whether I was capable of meeting such a endurance I think I have managed to achieve something of worthiness, although I think at times it’s been close to fail.

I, of course, probably would have given up with this blog years ago if it wasn’t for my two regular contributors, Paul and Masher but they’re support and often witty comments have helped compliment my thoughts and shown that at least some people are a little interested in what I’ve got to say.

And so back to the start of this piece and question as to what I was going to write about in this blog all those years ago?

Well I guess I haven’t done too bad when all things are considered…

Time to think of the next blog subject now!


All blogged out

And so that’s over for another year.

Of course I’m talking about the blog-a-day-in-February which I managed to do each day throughout the shortest month of the year. My secret was a little preparation, making sure I had written out the blog at least one day in advance so as to not add too much pressure on getting it done on the day.

As for the subjects I covered I’m not sure whether they stimulated too much debate, although the blog ‘And all from a phone‘ did spark some good comments. There was a bit of suspense with the ‘Exploding Coffee‘ (I have an update which I will post next week some time) and of course an update on how Rio is getting on ‘Letter to breeder…five and a half months!’.

My favourite blog was ‘It sure snows fast in Thrapston‘ which included my first attempt at some time-lapse photography, followed closely by the ‘Never act with children or animals…or stuffed toys‘ which covered my filming with the company Chief Values Officer.

On checking my web stats for the site, I was amazed at the number of visitors I got during the month. According to the stats my site was averaging 543 visits per day, with over 12,000 page views in total. The most popular time for visitors was 10pm with Friday’s being the day that most people visited the site.

And so now I can relax for a while knowing that there isn’t the pressure to write more blogs to order. I must admit I do enjoy the challenge of writing a blog a day and have enjoyed reading Masher’s and Dave’s blogs, who also did the marathon event (Masher of course should take the credit for starting the trend of course).

And finally, thanks to those that have contributed by posting replies throughout the month, especially Masher and Paul who’s comments have been thoughtful, witty and apt and have lifted me up when the finish line seemed so far away.

Two site blogger…recalled again

You may remember I posted a blog a few months ago stating I had been asked to submit a company blog about a particularly busy time I had at work in June. It was finally published at the end of July and feedback from those that read it was positive, but I didn’t think it went down that well and didn’t expect a recall.

Well, amazingly  I have been asked to write another!

Again, I was given a steer on the topic to cover (I wish I had someone who prompted me on what to write on my blogs, I would be knocking out daily entries) and so today I knocked out my latest offering and sent it off for submission.  Not likely to make the ‘2011 Virgin Media Blog Writer of the year Award’ (if there is such a accolade) but a true account of a day in Coventry in July.

As was last time, I assume the VM Internal Comms people will need to give it the once over, but hopefully it will remain as is and my words will be immortalised on the company intranet for ever more.  I’m unsure when it will be published, but as before you can take a sneak preview at using the link above or by clicking here.

Two site blogger…

A couple of weeks ago my boss asked me whether I would write a blog for the company intranet covering the stuff I’d been doing at work. “Of course” I said, “was he aware that I have been blogging for years and had my own site?”. He was surprised and said he would pay a visit.

Anyhow, I began my works blog by mentioning my holiday adventures, then went on to discuss some personal development training that I attended in Manchester. Finally I covered the rollout of company Blackberry’s to our engineers that I had to do, which was the culmination of months of involvement I’d had in the project.

What was different about writing a company blog though was consideration of the who the audience was. In my personal blogging site I normally don’t think about who reads my drivel, although I do set personal guidelines such keeping swearing down to a minimum so as to not upset my mum, who I know is a regular visitor.

20110611-042043.jpgBut writing a works blog was different. I was very conscious that I needed to keep it positive and upbeat and that the audience would be critical if I said something that was not engaging or informative. I was also aware that I was likely to get some ribbing from colleagues for being so public; I am not one that seeks the limelight at work so discussing what I get up to and sharing it with the rest of the company was quite alien to me.

And so the blog should be published next week and I await to see the responses I get. In the meantime, here is a link to a sneak preview of what I’ve written (unfortunately the link to my video and Red won’t work as it’s on the company intranet).

I don’t think I’ll be asked to become a regular contributor but you never know…

WordPress 3.0 Upgrade

A few months ago I managed to upgrade this blog to the latest version 2.9.2 of WordPress and despite having to carry much of the changes manually it all worked perfectly. The user interface was easy to navigate around, making adding widgets and other features simple and it had a great backup facility too.

So when the latest version was released last week I thought I’d give it a go and upgrade. Reviews suggested some new features which would be worth having so I went for it. Firstly I tried the built- in upgrade feature in v2.9.2 but it told me I already had the latest version installed (v2.9.2). Hmm I thought, maybe that upgrade path hasn’t been updated yet so I went for the manual method instead. I search the WordPress environment and downloaded the zipped file containing v3 and followed the instructions.

Just in case things went wrong I backed up my old data and then proceeded to upload the large amount of files required for the new version. Once uploaded I ran the file to start the process but unfortunately things didn’t go according to plan. It seemed that the settings I needed to enter to get my site working were not as expected and despite numerous attempts to put my information in the new upgrade would not have it.

So I decided to revert back the old version for now, hoping that the automatic upgrade path is sorted soon.

I do like WordPress but I do get the feeling that to use it you do need to persevere in order to make it work properly. Shame as it’s a really good way to host a website.