My latest project

It is nice to have a personal blog where I can post freely without the pressure of marketing and analytics constantly looming over the content that is created. I can write what is on my mind and not have to worry about the end result.

With that being said, I am excited this week to have finally posted our new logo for our latest project. While the logo was created several weeks ago, we have stalled on the project for about a month while we were completing other client work. We have finally set some deadlines and completed most of our documentation for OnlySmallPlaces.com.

Our new project for Bed & Breakfasts, Inns and Small Motels will start development in the next few weeks and be completed by the end of the year. Looking forward to helping promote the niche small properties and small lodgings across the United States.

Living with Less

Found this great article today about how you can Retire Wealthy using a Simpler Lifestyle.

it makes sense, do the basics:

  • Live within your means
  • Do not accumulate debt (and if you have it get rid of it)
  • Want less
  • Do not completely deny yourself any pleasures
  • Find a balance

All great points, sometimes easier said than done but if it is reinforced enough, can be very effective rules to live by.

Unfortunately, it does not tell me how to rid my mind of the desire for a new Tesla. But I guess that craving will subside in time. 🙂

 

Getting Started in Digital Photography

I have recently been considering a new digital camera.

Not that there is anything wrong with my current Olympus XZ-1. It is a very fine prosumer grade point and shoot. This means that it has many (if not close to all) the options of a professional DSLR camera, but it has a fixed lens. No option to swap out and change your lenses for different situations. And the fixed lens it has (i.ZUIKO 6-24mm F1.8-2.5) is actually a superior lens for this grade camera. I bought this about 2 years ago and there really is nothing wrong with it at all. It is very small and can provide stunning images, even in low light due to the fast 1.8 lens. So why do I find myself researching an alternative?

I had been looking for a little more zoom than my current 4X. That was one reason. And the other was of course image quality. Anything that could make my photos look better. One thing I had to consider was that I am not a professional photographer and nor do I aspire to be. I got my first digital camera in 1997 and posted my first online photo album in 1999. I am no stranger to digital photography, but I have always been one for simplicity. I cannot lug around a full kit with multiple lenses and a huge bag. Plus I need to be able to pull out my camera and snap some shots quickly when the moment presents itself.

Recently Sony’s new NEX line has shown some great improvements in the compact space. Providing interchangeable lens with a camera body similar in size to my current Oly XZ-1. I have spent many hours recently researching the NEX and some other compact options from Olympus and Nikon four third options.

I narrowed my options down to the NEX 6 and new NEX 3N. I arguably created a case for both models and really just needed to see and feel each one to make a decision. Fortunately for me, there is a Sony Store in a nearby mall and off I went. After spending about an hour in the store playing with both models (and some of the other NEXs and several different lenses as well… Thanks Sony!) I had come to a realization that in order for me to make the considerable investment into a new system, I would really need to spend the time to learn the camera and learn general photography skills. Meaning I would need to know much more about manual shooting than I currently do.

When I got home that evening, after my trip to the Sony Store, I took a new look at my old Olympus Xz-1. This camera had all of the basic feature I needed to learn more about photography. Why spend the money first and learn after? Maybe I was just in the need for a new gadget to play with (it has been about 6 months since I got my last phone). It made more sense to hone in my skills as a photographer first and then when I have pushed my PS camera as far it will go, look to upgrade to a new system.

Well the next day it was off to Barnes and Noble and now I am going through “Getting Started in Digital Photography – From Snapshots to Great Shots” by Khara Plicanic. Even though this easy to read handbook is not specific to my particular camera model, it provides enough insight and activity for me to dig into the settings (even though I have to use my own manual to find many of them) and start experimenting with my camera.

I feel like I just spent $1000 on new equipment when in reality, I just spent a little over $20 on an inspirational book. Who knows, maybe in a few days I will turn this into a photo blog and start posting some new photos on a regular basis.

 

 

Found a cool plugin to hide the WPengine tab

WPengine.com has become my new favorite host recently and this post by Aaron Vanderzwan pretty much sums up my whole experience with hosting and provides a nice solution to effectively utilize the WPengine staging functionality.

WPEngine lets you easily (with one click) setup a duplicate copy of your current website whenever you need it. It is great for testing themes, plugins and other functionality. I am actually going to setup a staging site for one of my clients this afternoon to install WPML and begin implementing several translations on their site.

Aaron has create a plugin which will avoid another admin user from accidently overwriting your staging site while you are working in it. Aaron writes,Hide WPengine Tab plugin

So I wrote a plugin called Hide WP Engine Tab which hides the WP Engine tab from all users except a select few.  It also has a way to lock the staging environment so that users who attempt to rebuild the staging environment get a notice:

“Staging was locked on 2012-12-18 12:49:20 by admin.
Please contact the web administrator to schedule a time to recreate this environment.”

I will have to try this out. We actually just remove the WPEngine admin bar and quick links completely. It is done by implementing some code in the functions.php file following this aricle: http://support.wpengine.com/how-to-remove-wp-engine-quick-links-from-admin-bar/

Be removing the WPengine quicklinks from all users except our own, we are sure that a client will not accidentally overwrite our staging area. They will never even know it exists since they cannot see the WPengine admin menu. However if you do have multiple developers and admins on the site, that may need to access these functions, Aaron’s plugin may be useful in that you do not have to edit the function.php file every time a new user needs access.