February 2019

I did quite a bit of work travel in the first weeks of February including a stopover on Holbox in Mexico. The Hobie Cat in the beach garden was tantalising, sadly unseaworthy amidst that beautiful environment with nice even onshore winds.

And this past week back in the UK I did a RYA Dinghy Instructor course (yep, passed ūüôā ). We were super lucky with the weather which was mild and apart from one day had enough of wind.

Photo credits Gill Richards

The DI course week was pretty intense with very packed days and homework in the evening. It feels a meaningful qualification to me, you can’t fake time on the water and sailing experience.

Apart from learning to teach sailing itself, the RYA instruction methods are excellent with much attention being paid to different learning styles, session planning, communications, feedback and everything else that goes into teaching effectively.

Not to mention learning new sailing and power boat skills, a lot on safety, protection of children and vulnerable adults, organising your training fleet and conducting sessions on land or water. All good stuff and also a nice consolidation of my own sailing skills where more advanced manoeuvres need to be at demo level and work every time.

As always, especially with sailing there is so much still to learn (it’s endless) and this stage still feels like the beginning. I’m grateful to Swanage Sailing Club for sponsoring the course and our great instructor during the week and coach/assessor on the final day.

If you’re in the UK and want to learn to sail check out the RYA website. It’s a great scheme to learn with, consistent in method across the country and you might be surprised to find a training centre not too far from where you are be it sea, river or lake.

Shell Bay 25th December 2018

These little birds are members of the sandpiper family and called sanderlings. We saw them on a visit to Shell bay (Dorset, UK).

They run along the shoreline at speed avoiding the waves, seem to like standing on one leg and even hop along at speed on one leg.

More views from Shell Bay.

I never tire of looking at the sea regardless of the weather. ūüôā

How to create a fancy Apache directory index listing with .htaccess

Sometimes you don’t need a CMS and want to keep things as simple as possible. For my use case I wanted sailing club race officers to be able to upload Sailwave race results and display them in the most simple way possible.

To achieve that and ensure isolation from the website’s WordPress CMS I added a subdomain and configured a pretty Apache directory listing. Users now just upload files via FTP.

Assuming your website is running on the Apache web server, you can achieve the same with .htaccess and few tweaks.

Screen Shot 2018-08-04 at 09.18.47

See above example here, see the code which you can easily alter to suit on github.

More about this the Apache docs:


A Year at WordPress.com VIP – 2017

In June 2016 I joined the VIP team at Automattic the company behind WordPress.com, Jetpack, Woocommerce and other products.

Automattic is a fully distributed company where we all work from wherever we choose, and apart from the Grand Meetup where the whole company meets, we also gather at smaller meetups throughout the year.

Meetups are an important part of Automattic culture and they are a mix of work and social gatherings, getting to know each other is a key part of making distributed working work.

In addition to the team meetups, this year I flew to Brazil to visit a client, took part in a conference in Napa and did a training course in Amsterdam. The world feels a lot smaller now as I look back over the year and in 2017 I’ve met many great people from all over the world. Continue reading “A Year at WordPress.com VIP – 2017”

Posturite DeskRite 300 Review

In June 2016 I joined Automattic¬†the company behind WordPress.com¬†which is fully¬†distributed¬†meaning we all work from home, co-working spaces or wherever we happen to¬†find ourselves. New starters all get a budget to kit out their home offices which also covers buying a desk,… a really nice desk.

I’d wanted a sit / stand desk for ages and thanks to the company was at last able to get one and for me in the UK, options seemed to come down to the¬†Ikea Bekant or the¬†Posturite DeskRite¬†series.

Now, we have loads of Ikea stuff at home but quality is a mixed bag and from my research, the Bekant has problems with its mechanised legs which are prone to failure and when that happens the desk needs dissembling and the legs returning to Ikea. Pretty sub-optimal.

So I went for the DeskRite 300 because of its more solid and modular design and construction, plus easy repairability in the event of component failure. If for example the motor unit failed, it could be easily removed and replaced.

A year of use later it has turned out very well, I switch from sitting to standing three or four times a day, the desk works like a charm and as solid as ever. Recommended!