WordPress Naked, approaching 16,000 downloads

One evening in 2007 I got frustrated by once again having to strip out all of the styling from one of the then default WordPress themes (remember Kubrick?) prior to building a client’s site, so I created a simple boiler-plate theme called Worpdress Naked and uploaded it to this blog.

Amazingly since then approaching 16,000 people appear to have downloaded it (and that’s only counting since I moved it to Google code 2 years later). Given it got quite a bit of traction and linking in the early days  I wonder what the total count might have been.

I even got one donation, a whopping $10.

As it’s woefully out of date I hope not too many more people do download it, heck I’m not even sure what version of WP it was targeting. I think 2.0 was live then, Widgets had recently become a thing (before then widgets were accessed by installing a plugin) and WordPress was just starting to get a lot more mainstream. How times change.




Tip: keep Vagrant guest additions up to date

I found a handy plugin this weekend for keeping my PHP development Vagrant VM VirtualBox guest additions in sync: vagrant-vbguest

vagrant plugin install vagrant-vbguest

Every time you do a vagrant up it’ll do a check, which might occasionally get annoying if you’re in a hurry, so there’s a config option to disable it on a per-vm basis:

# set auto_update to false, if you do NOT want to check the correct
# additions version when booting this machine
config.vbguest.auto_update = false

Halt all Vagrant/VirtualBox VMs one-liner

If you’re using Vagrant to control your dev VMs on a headless server it’s easy to lose track of the number of running machines.

Here’s a one-liner to gracefully shut-down all of them to free up some resources.

for VM in `VBoxManage list runningvms | awk '{ print $2; }'`; do VBoxManage controlvm $VM poweroff; done

Phonegap Android development environment for Windows

Assuming you want to develop HTML5 apps to run on mobile devices using Phonegap/Cordova then the easiest place to start is Android if you’re a Windows user as you don’t need a separate Mac, you don’t even need a device to test on as there’s an emulator.

Anyway, I’ve had to do this three times on various machines now, so here’s a step by step guide for next time!

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Are you failing?

Right now I reckon in some way you’re failing at something.

I know I am, but I’m Ok with it.


To succeed you need to have criteria to define the success by. I’m a bit uneasy with the term ‘success criteria’ as it’s a bit too management speak so let’s call these criteria goals shall we?

You’ll never know if you are successful if you don’t set goals.

How is business? Your career? That meeting you just spent 5 hours in? What about that existing client relationship, is it working out? How do you feel about the direction of your life right now? How’s your marriage? Your progress re-decorating the house?

You can’t answer those questions authoritatively without have a baseline. A goal, target, whatever you want to call it.

With goals set life can become easier. You may actually be working harder as you’re motivated and productivity is up, but the important thing is that the things you’re doing either are, or as is sometimes likely the case, are not, meeting your objectives. At least you’ll know; the uncertainty is removed.

I’d argue that you should have goals set for lots of different parts of your life. Personal and business; home, work and social. Before you do something you can ask yourself “Is doing this thing going to meet any of my objectives” and clearly if you don’t have those objectives defined you’re never going to know!

But here’s the thing: even if you end up doing that task, taking on that job, sitting through that meeting that you’re not really sure why you’re at, life feels a little easier if you know that this little possible failure is just a rut in the path. Overall you’re moving the the right direction, the direction you’ve mapped out.

Also, don’t get hung up about other people’s ‘success criteria’. Judge your life against your own benchmarks, not what you are second-guessing others might be thinking about you. The most likely thing is they don’t care, they are too busy thinking about themselves anyway. But I digress, that’s a confidence thing and a totally different article.

Take control. Set some goals & start winning.


This article was originally posted on The Pastry Box in May 2014.

Do you have an itch that you keep meaning to scratch? An idea that just won’t go away but life keeps getting in the way?

As hard as you might try you’re never able to carve out enough time to move things forwards?

Welcome to the very non-exclusive club.

I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you but acts of $deity notwithstanding you’re always going to be busy with work / business / family / hobby / health / whatever. There is no pixie waiting to come along and sprinkle his or her magic dust to help you free up the time.

You’re going to have to make the time.

You could go to bed an hour earlier so you can wake up an hour earlier, work on it in your lunch hour, drop your hours to 4 days a week, hire a junior or a PA and outsource some of your workload to them. These or a multitude of other options that you might think up are going to help you start getting your thing done.

It’s your new habit. Give it 10 minutes today, 20 minutes tomorrow and a few hours over the weekend. By the end of the month you might be able to give it a day a fortnight or if you really are that busy and it wasn’t just Game of Thrones getting in the way then at least stick to the hour here or there and keep moving things forward.

My challenge to you — and to me — is to stop making excuses and just crack on with things. Sure you need to do due diligence before making any life altering decisions, but don’t let making those decisions be put off indefinitely due to the rest of life getting in the way.

Just Start Doing It.

Project Management Pain

TL;DR – I can’t find a tool that gives me high level scheduling overview AND individual finer detail on each project going through my little studio. Below I review a bunch of tools that don’t fit my needs. Do you know of something I should check out? Or do you agree there’s a need for something else? Anecdotal advice or ideas welcomed in the post comments.

From the very first day of me going self employed in 2002 I have been running multiple web development projects which at any given moment are in varying stages of completion.

I like to think that I’ve become pretty good at many aspects of running a small but busy studio: client management, cashflow management, estimating, HR, quality control and a multitude of other ‘hats’ that one needs to wear  when running the show and the show for me has varied from having 10 full-time staff at one extreme to it just being me as a one person band at the other.

However, there’s still one notable thorn in my side and that is project management.

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