Posts categorized “Friends & Family”.

After 9 months of ferocious development…

… please welcome Abigail Erise Jones to the big bad World!

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Born at 10:32 on the 28th March 2007.

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Weighing a nice healthy 7lb 3.5oz (3.32kg), and measuring 51cm in length.

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Mother and baby are doing just fine.

Under The Wire

Oops, nearly had a month with no posts, better correct that!

So, umm, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Better late than never eh? ;-)

The last time I spoke about stuff going on in my life, I mentioned that I’d slowed things down and wasn’t going to get too uptight about lack of progress with CaseDetective. Well, although I’m still not rushing things, after a little rest I did start getting things done on CaseDetective again, and there’s a small release forming at the moment. There’s a couple of things I want to fix up before I finish testing and release unto the World, but it’s not too many weeks away. The latest release of REALbasic is working well for me, finally I’ll be able to get a Universal version of CaseDetective out for the Mac.

I’ve recently updated my IMiJ Software and CaseDetective websites with a new look. I’ve decided to stop bamboozling people with a myriad of menu options listed down the right hand side, using a much reduced horizontal menu at the top instead.

As well as looking more “business like”, it’s allowed me to add nice big “Free Download”, “Buy Now” and “Only $69″ buttons in the sidebar of the CaseDetective website. I’m hoping this will make these options even more obvious than before and encourage people to try it out.

I’ll admit I’m not the biggest fan of drop-down menus, but this new design uses them. I’ve been very careful to make sure nothing has actually moved in the website layouts, all the paths should be the same for now, but the actual menu options have moved around a little. I doubt anyone will notice though.

The design is Blueball Design’s Pro Colors 3.5 Theme for RapidWeaver, which I’ve actually had for quite some time, and may be the first theme I bought for RapidWeaver. I’ve made a few tweaks though; I took the Platinum version and changed the header and sidebar backgrounds to be white rather than grey as I wanted a lighter feel and think icons and logos always look better on a white backdrop. I also moved the header logo to the left and removed the header text so that it wouldn’t interfere, as well as making sure the page title has the website name included rather than just the page name. I personally think it looks rather good, nothing spectacular and pretty boring compared to some, but it works well on Windows and Mac and I believe it won’t turn anyone away.

Apart from my treadmill dying last week, my attempts at getting healthier in body and mind are coming along. I’ve lost a pound of weight every week this month, and am eating much healthier. I’ve also started to get back into reading before hitting the sack, so I might even start making a dent in that huge pile of books and magazines sitting beside the bed waiting to be read. There’s other little bits and bobs I’m doing or looking into that all add up, but I’ll not bore you with them.

Mandy’s at the “very uncomfortable” stage in pregnancy, she can’t seem to find any kind of sitting or sleeping position that stops her from getting sore in a few minutes, she’s soooo looking forward to getting her body back all to herself in approx 2 months time.

It’s an exciting and nerve-wracking time all round. We’ve been buying lots of bits and pieces for the baby, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what pops out, but also very aware that life isn’t ever going to be the same again and just hope that it all goes OK when the time comes. Tick, tock goes the clock!

Getting fitter step by step.

Getting fitter step by step.

I find I’m much much more likely to achieve something if I set a goal and actively monitor it step by step.

For example, for the last three or four years I’ve kept a spreadsheet of my weight as measured every Monday morning. The spreadsheet has a tab for each year with columns such as date, goal weight (in pounds), actual weight and the difference between the goal and actual weight. The goal starts off at the same weight I was on the first Monday of the year and decreases by a pound per week until it hits my goal weight, the idea being that if I look after myself I should be able to average a pound a week’s loss until I get to where I want to be. It’s a simple matter to then plot a graph alongside the data that shows the goal vs. actual readings. If the “Actual Weight” line roughly follows the “Goal Weight” line, then things are going in the right direction and I’m a happy camper.

I know, you might be thinking this is pretty anal, and I won’t pretend I’ve lost tonnes of weight by doing this either, but what I have been able to do is shame myself into maintaining a weight that although higher than I want it to be, isn’t morbidly over what it should be. Whenever I “slip” (usually when family visits from “Down South” for the weekend or there’s some sort of blow-out on a special occasion) I can instantly see a blip in the graph when those extra two or three pounds exert their force on our poor old scales. It’s usually enough to stop me from having that bacon roll or Double Decker (one of my fav chocolate bars) at work for a week or two.

But, as mentioned above, I’ve not really been achieving my goal. Sure I’m half a stone or more lighter than my heaviest over the last few years, and sometimes my weight doesn’t even change by so much as an ounce for weeks on end which is better than gaining, but I need to start burning more calories than I consume to get that graph heading back in the right direction. My actuals are pretty flat these days.

I’ve talked before about trying to keep an appointment with myself to exercise at least three times a week, but frankly I always start off really well and then slowly find reasons to not do the session, basically because I find it pretty tedious and have no concrete result after each session, except tiredness and a sweat soaked t-shirt that is.

So, as part of my drive to get a little fitter I put a Nike+iPod on my wishlist for my Birthday, and was lucky enough to receive one*.

I really wanted a Nike+iPod so that I could set myself goals and monitor how much running** I’m doing session by session. OK, I could have simply logged each run in a spreadsheet just like I’m logging my weight, but it’s a bit tedious and I often forget to log for a day or two (make that week or two). Having my iPod automatically record my run, distance and time and upload it to my computer whenever I plug it in is the bee’s knees! Now I don’t have to think about recording my run, it’s all done for me.

The Nike+ website where all the data ends up is great, as well as showing a neat graph of your runs with stats you can set goals that are automatically monitored. I’ve already set myself a goal of running 10 times in 4 weeks and am eager to meet or beat it, currently I’m one run ahead of goal.

And what’s super nice is that both Lance Armstrong and Paula Radcliff have taken time out of their busy schedules to magically squeeze themselves into my iPod nano and congratulate me at the end of my run when I’ve recorded a personal best for the mile.

But do you think it’s really mean of me to have thoughts of not plugging in my iPod after the session just so they can’t escape? ;-)

The big present I got for my Birthday from my wife was a set of Golf clubs, so that I get out in the fresh air, get some exercise, spend time having some fun with friends and more importantly to Mandy, get away from the ‘puter!

I started off with a couple of trips to the driving range, which was fun except for when my shots went sideways rather than forward and slammed into the wall of the bay with a resounding crack. I’m soooo grateful to those people at the driving range who haven’t even turned a head in my direction at the sound of a very hard ball slamming against a wooden wall at speed, maybe they remember what it was like when they first tried this daft game?

And then yesterday I had my first proper round of golf, which although very long and frustrating was great fun, even if I did loose a couple of balls***.

I think I’m going to enjoy playing golf and hope it’ll also contribute as another step towards getting fitter, especially if I continue to take as many steps as I did yesterday as I zigzagged my way down the course!

Here’s to getting fitter, step by step!


* Ironically I got the Nike+iPod from my Mum and Dad when they visited for the weekend after my Birthday, guess what happened to my weight graph on the following Monday morning after a couple of nice meals out and a few bottles of wine while they were up?!

** I use the term “running” very loosely, it’s more like walk for fifteen minutes, run for a minute or two and then walk for the rest of the session. It’s all part of a slow ramp up plan to avoid damaging my knees etc, honestly, nothing to do with being extremely crap at aerobic exercise!

*** My very first drive was the mother of all slices off into the woods, graciously chalked up as a practice hit by my fellow golfers, luckily all fairly new to the game, out of practice or hung-over and therefore very understanding!

Slow Progress / Big News / Time Out

Last month was very slow, development wise. I guess I’ve just been a bit burnt out from the frenetic pace I maintained when developing CaseDetective 1.2.

There have also been quite a few outside influences on my time, and some things have tended to play on my mind about the future, which held me back as I wondered how I’m going to have the time to fit everything in, and generally procrastinated.

The biggest thing in my life just now, and that is very much changing the way I see the future, is that Mandy and I have some fantastic news to share, we are going to have a baby, “due” April 4th.

As you might imagine, even though this has been planned and looked forward to for quite a while, and we’ve know about it for a couple of months now, when you sit down and start to think about how to fit everything in when you already don’t have enough hours in the day, it’s kind of over-whelming.

Some very good friends of ours have recently had a gorgeous bundle of joy (called Karis) drop into their lives (about 8 weeks early), it’s been a right eye-opener on just how much work a newborn can be. They are totally smitten and love her to bits, but I’m sure the sleepless nights and general constant attention that a newborn requires is very hard on the body and mind, and may just affect how much development I can get in on an evening come next spring! :-)

I’ve decided to just “go with the flow” at present, I feel like time spent catching up with friends and family, getting ready for the new arrival, acting on those self improvement ideas, getting a bit fitter, learning a few new skills and generally having a bit more fun is very much called for. I’m not going to beat myself up about not getting much development done just now.

I’m sure my brain will switch back into “work like crazy” mode at some point, when it’s ready, hopefully before I have no time to act on it!

Yay! Free Alcohol! (again)

This weekend has been great, not only have my parents been visiting (which is really nice, Mandy and I love spending time with my Mum and Dad), but we got three bottles of wine delivered to our door for free!


On Friday we got two bottles of wine from my mate Gordon to say thank you for taking him to see Paul Weller play at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, fulfilling one of his life time ambitions. Really the wine’s for Mandy as she couldn’t make it so I asked Gordon whether he fancied accompanying me. He really didn’t need to send us the wine, but we’re very grateful.

Then just this morning I got a delivery of a bottle of Stormhoek Shiraz (red) from Orbital Wines to say thank you for helping make their previous promo so successful by being one of those to post a photo of the wine they sent before.


That was very nice gesture from them, and again really not needed as I’m more than happy to post a picture of any free wine I get!

Anyone else want to send me some free alcohol? :-)

1 Year Old Today!

The current incarnation of this website is one year old today, happy birthday!

Although has been around for a few years with a blog like appearance, it wasn’t until September 30th 2004 that I started to properly “blog”.

Since last September I’ve always intended this site to stay on track, to talk about how things were going with my quest to become an independent software vendor (ISV). I’m not sure I’ve managed that very well, I seem to have strayed quite a bit, really haven’t written a lot about what I’ve learnt along the way and haven’t written as often I hoped I would.

What have I achieved in my first year?

  • I’ve read and listened to tonnes of marketing and business material in many different forms of media and from many sources (which I’ve failed to talk about here when I really should have, slap my wrist).
  • I’ve researched and picked suitable tools to develop, source control, package and sell my software.
  • I have designed and developed a software application in a programming language and with other tools that I hadn’t used before.
  • I’ve learnt a lot about the FogBugz database schema and data usage and installed it way too many times on far too many platforms!
  • I’ve registered something like 35 separate domains and set up the websites.
  • I’ve set up an online store to sell my software (visited a few times by people, but never used the way it should be).
  • I’ve set up a few channels for public communication, such as the Newsletter and Yahoo! group (there’s a proper forum waiting in the wings).
  • I’ve released three public betas of my software, with the second and third showing a lot of improvement over the first!
  • I’ve even released some open source code as a by-product of my software development.
  • I’ve met (in a virtual way) a lot of really nice people from all over the world.
  • I’ve had very little sleep compared to the year before, and seen a lot less of my family too (this isn’t a good one).
  • And tonnes of other bits and bobs that escape me just now.

Some of this stuff I’m very proud of, some not so. But having a real direction in my life and being able to continuously step closer towards my goal of becoming an ISV while having lots of support from my family and friends, and new friends too, has made this a fabulous year.

Really looking forward to the next year, it should be good.