Performancing for Firefox – 1.4 Coming Soon

As many of you who’ve been reading for a while know, I’ve struggled to find a tool that meets all my blogging requirements. One o my favourites, that I keep returning to, is Performancing for Firefox, currently in its 1.3 release, but soon to be upgraded with improved image handling, and it looks like support for Blogger as well.  They are on track to release a couple of betas in the near future, read more after the jump:

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Move Over Basecamp – Make Room for activeCollab

Who likes free productivity software?  We do!

Update #2: ActiveCollab is no longer being developed as free software. For a free branch of activeCollab that is a great community driven effort, check out ProjectPier.

Update #1: Read this interview with the developer of activeCollab to find out why he changed from free to paid software.


You have a choice

I’m sure many readers already know what Basecamp is, but for those who don’t, please don’t click this link, (unless you don’t like free)…

Rather, click this one

ActiveCollab has taken the best parts of Basecamp and other project management and document sharing software suites, and incorporated these into a powerful server based program that is free.  That’s right you read it correctly, free. Read more after the jump…


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Google Reader Emerges

How do you RSS on the go? Feeds are almost more useful that email, so having a feed reading system that keeps you on top of things is very helpful.  For fans of everything Google, today marks the return (from my perspective) of Google into the online feed-reader market.

After finding Newsalloy, (see my reviews here and here), I really thought that Google Reader had done it’s dash, but true to form Google is the proverbial Phoenix, rising from the ashes with a new and improved product. 

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First Round of Blog Changes

So, here are the first round of blog changes, a new theme, (that’s not quite completed yet), but it provides much clearer reading, navigation and layout of content.

Also, I’ve enabled cocomment, a service which allows you to keep track of conversations you are participating around the internet. You can find the interface for this below the comment box.  This is a brand new feature on Drupal sites with coding hot off the Drupal community presses. If you have trouble leave me a comment or email via our contact form.

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A Tale of Two Presentations

Bad Powerpoint presentations annoy me. Do you get mildly annoyed when you sit though a presentation that could have been a handout?  Do you feel like getting violent when people read off the screen?

Check out this photo from this photo from Presentation Zen of one of those moment in progress.


Lawrence Hargrave Drive PresentationIf anything in this picture looks good, (except for the Mac if you are that way inclined), check out any of the posts at PZ for tips, you need them.

I don’t get to present as much as I’d like, but I sit though lots of patched together presentations.  This morning was an exception, the Newcastle Civil/Structural branch of the Institute of Engineers hosted a breakfast presentation by Peter Stewart who was Senior Project Engineer for the design and construction Alliance Poject of the Lawrence Hargrave Drive reconstruction south of Sydney. There were parts of his presentation that were not the greatest stylewise, but generally the content was clear, the images were useful and the text was kept to a minimum. His manner and content were engaging and pitched well to a predominately technical audience.  I’m sure this was a well practised talk on Innovation in Engineering with some case studies from his career, but it was refreshing to see an Engineer present with style!

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Site Modifications

I’m working on a new layout for the site, larger fonts, three column layout, easier navigation, and I’m keen for comments when it appears.  This should happen over the next couple of days among some other changes.

I’ve implemented the Google Maps API and a Drupal module to insert maps into posts etc.  Hopefully this will enhance some of the more local posts about Newcastle or NSW for readers form overseas.

Overall, things are busy, but I’m enjoying the challenge! I’m also working on a newsletter and possibly a weekly video or podcast to accompany the Urbanworkbench blog format.

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How to Run a Mobile Office for under $1500

I am a Bedouin, a Nomad deep down inside, I long to be freed from the constraints of the office, of the cubical, of the bondage of a desk and swivelling chair.  As a consultant and an Engineer, there are plenty of times that I do need to be in the office, but when it comes to crunch time and I need to get work done, there is nothing better than weighing anchor and saying farewell to cubeville. I’ve written about these desires deep within me before, but today I thought I’d offer a how-to on this.

Bedouin WorkshopBut, to do this you have to be prepared, these are my tips to keeping productivity high while out of the office.

The Tools:
A widescreen wireless laptop, with all the software needed to stay productive.   I usually pack a mouse and spare mousepad depending on the surface I’ll be working on.  If I’m going to be out for longer than my battery will last, I’ll either pack a spare, or a power cord.  I also pack a headset for VOIP with Wengo.
In my case my software list includes;

  • OpenOffice – opensource MS office equivalent, free,

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