Category Archives: Question

Having Kids and Blogging from Home

While I am not yet a parent, I am already planning out how I will deal with the addition to our family. In November, I will be balancing being a new father, and getting work done, but will I be working from home, or looking for spaces outside of here to find the focus, and silence I need to concentrate?

Web Worker Daily recently posted an article about managing kids in the home office, but it seems geared more towards children able to understand concepts such as “a closed door means leave daddy alone” and the upcoming addition of a baby probably wouldn’t be too happy if I tried to make it understand such a concept.

So what do I do? Do I rent an office share for the first year of my child’s life to give me a sanctuary to run to when I really need to pound out massive amounts of work or just head to the coffee shop or park? Do I just find the time when the child is asleep to do short spurts of work whenever I have time?

I am lucky that my wife will be taking maternity leave, and so I will hopefully be able to use that to my advantage, but if you have any advice, I am all for it. While I still have a long time before the baby is born, I really want to be prepared for the business hurdles heading my way.

Originally posted on April 14, 2008 @ 8:21 am

Becoming a Parent and Working from Home?

Recently, my wife and I found out that she is pregnant. At first I was very excited, and didn’t care about anything else other than the fact that I was going to be a father. Now, I am starting to wonder how it is all going to work.

I am on my third year of working at home, and I still haven’t perfected focusing on what needs to be done, and doing a large block of work efficiently. I watch a television show here or there, play a round or two on the Xbox 360, or work my way through a novel.

I know that all of these things will go out the window once the baby is born, but what about work? My current office at home is right next to the room that will become the baby’s. Even with my wife home to take care of him or her, how will I find the focus to get everything done that needs doing?

I haven’t seen too many blog posts on how well working at home and a baby go, but from the responses I have received elsewhere, it looks like finding an office share outside of home might be a smart move. If you have experiences with this type of situation, or just have some advice, let me know in the comments below.

Originally posted on April 4, 2008 @ 6:05 pm

Troubles in Finding Freelancers

So for a long time now, I have been looking to grow my list of people I can trust to pass work onto. I have had some successes, but mostly failures. The problems seem to partly stem from my limited budget, but also being too trusting.

I troll forums looking for people with the talents I need, and when I contract jobs out to them, I try to make everything as fair as possible when it comes to paying a certain percentage up front, or paying before I receive the files. This has always been a mistake.

Once people get paid, they lose interest.

I will give you an example. A few months back, I decided I was going to build the biggest web application I have ever thought of. I commissioned a person I know through the web only to do the work. He has always been great before on smaller projects, and was giving me a quote that seemed feasible and reasonable.

The payment schedule would be split up, because it was a multi-month job. After seeing and hearing about his progress, I sent the first payment to him. After he received the payment, I haven’t really heard from him since. I got an e-mail a month ago filled with excuses, but no real information on what was going on related to my project.

Another month passed, and still no updates. So today, I have had to e-mail him asking him if he is still interested. If he isn’t and I don’t get my money’s worth of work, the amount I paid him is enough to warrant some form of legal action. What a scary though!

Before I had paid him money, he seemed to be working well. He had shown me a non-functional mockup of the administration panel, and had showed excitement at getting the database schema set up in such a way that the site should work well, and not have too many growing pains when we filled it with insane amounts of data.

It really made me sad to see the whole project fall apart. Despite his professionalism at the start, his interest quickly disappeared, leaving me in the lurch.

I have had the same problem finding competent and trustworthy bloggers, designers, and all sorts of programmers. The money I made isn’t enough to allow for losses related to projects people just “decide” to drop after taking a payment. Not only does it make me angry, but I end up having to do certain things on my own to make up for their disappearance, thus costing me time on other work I could be doing.

Is it just my bad luck, or have others had the same issues? How do you find good, trustworthy freelancers without breaking the bank?

Originally posted on February 12, 2008 @ 11:28 am

Backup Concerns: Network Attached Storage

So, I am looking at getting a better backup solution set up for my data. I have a desktop and two laptops to keep properly backed up. Each using a different operating system, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Mac OS X.

About two years ago, I was doing monthly backups on three 700 MB CD’s a month. About a year ago, I started doing them on one 4.3 GB DVD each month. Now, with the increase in the amount of computers, and the raw data I am creating, I am thinking about going to a hard drive backup system.

I have an external hard drive that I use for backing up before formatting a system, but it is only 120 GB, and I would like to keep it as that quick, one time use backup solution for getting my machine ready for formatting.

So I am considering buying two 500 GB SATA hard drives, and an external USB 2.0 drive bay. This is the cheapest way to start backing things up regularly, but not the most effective. I will have lots of space, and I could stagger my backups so that one week they are on the first hard drive, and the second week they are on the second hard drive, and back and forth. That way if one hard drive ever fails, the most I would lose is a week of work.

What I am seriously considering though is going a step further and getting a small, two bay, network attached storage device. I could put the two hard drives inside, and set them to RAID-1, which would mirror the data on both hard drives. This would give me only 500GB of space, but if a single drive ever failed, I would be protected from any data loss. This is also one of the more expensive options I have to keep my data backed up, as it requires two drives, but really only gives me one drive worth of space.

I could take my computer tower that isn’t really being used for anything, buy a serial-ATA controller, throw some hard drives into it, and using some software, change it into a network attached storage box. This could also provide me with a RAID-1 setup, as well as some other features. I haven’t really looked into doing this as of yet, but it seems like a cheaper, and infinitely more expandable option. I am not sure which software I would use to do this, and would love to hear some options if anyone knows of some.

Of course, some might wonder why I don’t consider a Drobo, despite its popularity, the device, while really interesting, is far too expensive for me to splurge on. At nearly $500 for just the four bay device, Drobo would set me back over $700, where my other options are around half as expensive.

Yes, Drobo has some interesting features, like a light that tells you the status of the hard drive, and being able to used mixed size drives, among other things, I don’t think its features warrant the current price.

The last option on my list is to get some storage online. I haven’t really investigated something like this yet, but I think it would be interesting. Either something like using Amazon’s S3 service to back up my hard drives, somehow, or a data server from some web hosting-like company. If someone has done research into using a web service as an online backup solution, I would love to hear it. My main concern though is that the cost will mount quite quickly compared to a hard drive based solution.

How do you back up all your files? Do you have an automated system, or do you have to remember every week, month, or quarter? If you were going to buy a backup system today, and your budget was under $500, what would you select? I would love some advice if you have any.

Originally posted on January 5, 2008 @ 1:57 pm

Do You Post Enough?

One issue I have been having lately, with my job pulling me in all sorts of directions is making sure to post enough on the blogs I am part of. I didn’t think that posting regularly on all those blogs would be that difficult. When I first started blogging full time, I was writing on nearly a dozen sites, posting over a dozen posts a day, but each and every article was fairly low quality.

Now, with all the work I do for Splashpress Media, I sometimes don’t feel like I have enough time to spend on crafting articles. So now my posting speed has gone down, and my quality is fairly low, and so that brings up the question of posting routines and whatnot. Do you post on your blog enough? And if you do, is the quality as high as you would like it to be?

The really funny part about this whole post is that I almost want to start another blog for a subject I am interested in.

Originally posted on December 20, 2007 @ 8:15 pm