Posts from January 2006.

REAL World 2006 – Preliminary Schedule

So, here’s my preliminary schedule for REAL World 2006, what’s yours?


I should probably point out that the session at 15:00 on Tuesday is “A Practical Approach To The Perfect Product Launch”, not “A Practical Approach To The Perfect Product”, that would be a little grandiose!

Also, the last day is pretty much up in the air as there’s this concept of voting for repeated sessions for when there are conflicts, and some sessions just haven’t been set yet. Even so, I already have a conflict on the Friday, I want to attend both “Windows User Interface Design” and “Database Reporting”.

Automating web page screen captures (Ian Landsman's dream app)

Ian Landsman’s comment of wanting the spawn of SnapZ Pro X and Selenium to automate capture of web page screen shots got me thinking. Sounded like a challenge to me.

So I ran the first really simple demo from and captured a full run with SnapZ (just the frame area containing the actual application).

Then I saved the resultant movie and opened it in QuickTime Pro 7. Lo and behold there’s an export format of “Movie to Image Sequence”, did that (setting appropriately low frame rate and other options) and I now have a run of pictures to pick from of the demo app at different stages. Cool.

I’m not sure how easy Selenium is to use, but it’s given me some ideas on how to quicken production of my screenshots for the next version of CaseDetective, hopefully Ian will see this and have a play with SnapZ and QuickTime to see how that fairs.

Here’s a sample of them (OK, not pretty, the demo app really is simple, but you get the gist)…


Oh yeah, it took less than 3 minutes for me to work it all out and get these results, but a lot longer to actually write this little blog post!

Nearly right about release schedule for Intel macs

Well, I was nearly right about the release schedule for Intel Macs, with a couple of things coming earlier to the PowerPC in the software department.

Shame Mac minis and full “Media Centre” experience hasn’t arrived yet, but Front Row did appear earlier than I predicted.

It’s great that the new Intel based iMac and “MacBook Pro” have arrived early, and with the Duo core chips I wanted to see. Just wish I had the funds to splash out, I’d have to sell all my current hardware to be able to afford just one of them!

Looking forward to seeing the KeyNote stream to see how the new iLife ‘06 apps stack up, seem to be some nice improvements there. Intrigued by iWeb, wonder if it’s got anything over RapidWeaver that makes it a must-have, doubt it for a 1.0 release.

Shame there’s no spreadsheet in iWork ‘06 though.

Nice snazzy quicktime movies heading up the iMac, iLife and iWork sections of the Apple site.

Anyway, can’t stop, off to drool

New Year, New Regime.

Previously I’ve talked about how I’ve not accomplished as much as I’d liked in the first couple of weeks of working on my own, and also that I need to change the structure of my day to allow for “spiking”.

Before Christmas I had finally found what amounts to a daily rhythm, but it wasn’t perfect, and I certainly didn’t follow it perfectly. This is what I wanted to do…

  • 07:30 – Get up, shower, shave, breakfast etc.
  • 08:30 – Review email, forums and feeds. Deal with paper work such as VAT etc.
  • 09:30 – Development.
  • 13:00 – Lunch / Go out for an hour / run errands etc.
  • 14:00 – Review email and forums.
  • 14:15 – Development.
  • 17:30 – Review email, forums and feeds, maybe write a blog post and generally wind-down until it’s time for dinner.

This regime was supposed to give me plenty of time to leisurely wake up, deal with the “urgent” stuff and then get in a good few hours development before lunch. After lunch just a few minutes to check email etc and then back to development until it was time to wind-down ready for the evening.

Well, I generally managed to get up between 07:30 and 08:00, not always, but mostly, without using an alarm clock, which I was pretty happy with.

However, if I’d been up late for whatever reason then I allowed myself a little extra time in bed to compensate. Which occasionally lapsed into a whole lot of extra time, which ain’t so good.

Lesson #1: No matter what, set an alarm and get up at a constant time.

Because I wasn’t always getting up dead on 07:30 sometimes breakfast was a little rushed and not as leisurely as I’d hoped, sometimes I’d have breakfast at my desk while ready email etc. This isn’t what I wanted at all.

I thought the hour I gave myself for reading and responding to email, checking the forums and stats and then scanning the news feeds was quite generous, turns out it wasn’t, I’ve been spending way too much time reading feeds and certain other forums I frequent. This has got to change, my priority is development not reading news feeds.

Lesson #2: Do not check email, forums and feeds or deal with paper work first thing. Development must come first.

This is going to be very hard, I have this in-built need to check for any support email or forum posts often, I hate the thought of not responding as soon as I can. However, I recognise that I’m totally incapable of controlling my click finger, once I’ve checked my email for support emails I naturally check out the mailing lists I subscribe to, even though they filter into separate folders. Similarly when I check my forums I find myself clicking on the bookmarks for a couple of others too, I just can’t help it. So I’m not going to do anything but development in the mornings while at my computer.

A lot of my recent re-thinking on how to structure my day has been influenced by Steve Pavlina’s recent The 50-30-20 Rule post. In it he explains how he’s trying to follow a rule whereby at least half of his day will be taken up with actions that contribute to his long term goals, he calls them Class A actions. So in an 8 hour day he’ll spend 4 hours or more on those Class A actions. He will spend no more than 20% of his day on short term actions, those actions that have no real effect beyond 90 days, things like paper work and email (Class C). This 20% is an upper limit, if he doesn’t get everything done from Class C then so be it, they’ll keep until the next day. The remaining time, approximately 30% of the day, will be spent on Class B actions, actions that contribute to mid-term goals that are typically realized within 2 years. Class B actions use up all the time left after Class A and C.

Steve doesn’t quite make it clear as to how he structures his day, whether he gets the Class C stuff out of the way first and then spends the rest of the day on Class A then B actions, but I know how I’m going to attempt it.

I don’t trust myself to stick to only spending 1:30 on Class C stuff and then moving onto the rest, so I’m going to do at least 4 hours on Class A (primarily development at the moment) before then doing the Class C stuff. Once I’ve done 1:30 on Class C I’ll move onto Class B and maybe back to Class A if I have the time.

Before I detail what my new regime is to look like, there is one more item I need to address, health.

Last year (2005) I was going to lose one pound of weight every week until I reached my goal of 12 stone. I started the year at just over 14 stone, so expected to be fighting fit by the end of July. Suffice it to say that didn’t happen, I’m now a good 5 pounds heavier than I was this time last year, and not feeling the better for it! I didn’t have any real plan on how to lose the weight, certainly no exercise plan.

Lesson #3: Plan exercise into the week.

So, it’s back on the bike. I love cycling and am determined to be in good shape for the summer so that I can take advantage of all these free weekends I now have to take nice long rides out into the Scottish countryside.

I’ve ordered a set of cheap rollers, a cheap heart rate monitor and a couple of extra pairs of cheap cycling shorts (anyone getting the idea I’m looking after the pennies just now? :-) ). The rollers are so that I can get a good start now, while the roads are as dangerous as hell with darkness, frost and usual half asleep or drunk drivers. I’m going to start off with a daily 30 minute spin and then ramp up from there.

So, with no further ado, here’s the new daily regime:

  • 07:30 – Alarm goes off, get up, pee, get on bike.
  • 08:00 – Shower, shave, breakfast etc.
  • 09:00 – Development – super fueled by oxygen from exercise and breakfast.
  • 13:00 – Lunch.
  • 14:00 – Email, forums, paper work, feeds etc.
  • 15:30 – Class B items such as planning, marketing and organisational stuff, blogging and spiking.
  • 17:30 – Wind-down with reading and listening to podcasts etc (or more development if in the mood).

The 08:00 timing isn’t going to be hit, ever, as it’ll be a few minutes after 08:00 before I finish my 30 min session in the bike, it’s just a rough placeholder. But the 09:00 start should be easily achievable, that’s the most important timing of the whole day.

Everything after 13:00 is approximate, I may find I’m right in the middle of some development that I don’t want to stop so lunch may be delayed, which will have the effect of reducing the time spent on Class B stuff, but so be it.

OK, I realise I’m no robot, so those timings may be flexed a little, but it’ll be interesting to see how much more I can accomplish by trying to follow this regime.

When the lighter evenings come in I intend to use the 17:30 wind-down slot to go out on my bike for an hour or two. I may even just start my day a little earlier so that I can get out on the bike even earlier, we’ll see, that’s a couple of months away yet.

I’ll be sure to report back on how the new regime is holding up in due course, and whether I needed to alter it at all.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Yeah I know, not the most original of titles, but it is timely (almost)!

I’m really looking forward to the coming year, primarily as it’s the make or break period for CaseDetective for FogBugz and anything else my company might produce.

I’ve been away for the Christmas period visiting my family “Down South” but kept an eye on my email and forums. As expected there wasn’t much in the way of support requests for CaseDetective as most people interested in CaseDetective were enjoying Christmas too, but there was a very nice volume license sale just a couple of days before Christmas, which was very nice and timely of itself.

Before releasing CaseDetective I set some sales goals that I hoped to achieve before the end of the year, in the paltry 6 weeks I had to do so. I had a “realistic goal” and an “optimistic goal”. The realistic goal was accomplished within a week of release and by the end of the year I’d more than doubled my optimistic goal. So things are looking good for this year, as long as I continue to improve CaseDetective to attract more users.

As I’ve actually made a few sales I thought it a bit silly to keep my blogs tag line as “So, I want to be an ISV…”, as technically I now am an ISV, with real customers and all that. Hence I’ve changed my tag line to “So, now I’m an ISV…”. I know, sheer genius!

I had been thinking about launching another product (or ten, my mind’s racing with ideas at the moment), but having the time to think about things over the last couple of weeks and the initial sales success I’ve since decided to work only on CaseDetective for the next couple of months.

I was going to accomplish development of these new products by splitting up my day to allow for a couple of hours “spiking” in the afternoon, but the following post will explain how I’m now going to structure my day.

Once again, Happy New Year to you all, here’s hoping we all accomplish our dreams this year!