Bryan Ruby


Thoughts, Words, and Deeds

Goals

My 2018 Digital Projects

Two years ago, I made an attempt to distance myself from CMS Report. The ability to shutdown ten years of work proved more difficult than I thought so I eventually compromised by rebranding the site to socPub. Since then, I've been working on a number of additional side projects. I'm still trying to throw new ideas against the wall and see which ones stick. 

For those curious, these are the personal projects I'm working on for 2018:

More Thoughtful Posts

Beginning this year, I wanted to challenge myself to write one thoughtful article a week. While I could have done this at socpub.com or bryanruby.com, I find both sites have too much baggage to allow me to write as freely as I want. That's where Fifty-Two Posts a Year comes into the picture. So far, I've enjoyed writing articles there and have been pleased with the response to the articles I've written. In order for the writing to remain fun and not a burden, I'm using the site's theme of one article a week as a guideline and not a rule.

Bonus: The website is also using WordPress for its content management system which is also forcing me outside of my Drupal comfort zone.

Failure is in the Eye of the Beholder

I'm late, so you think. I promised you a weekly post this year and I've already neglected to provide you last week's story. Last weekend was a busy traveling hockey weekend for my son and me, but nevertheless you think that's no excuse for having failed you. The old me would have agreed with you. The new me says, that's bull.

By my nature, I'm a very task oriented person. I don't let go until the job is done. Several years ago, I started a 365 Photo Project with the goal of publishing a new photo each day of the year. By March, my joy in taking photographs turned into a miserable experience. With only eight miles between home and work, there just wasn't enough interesting and inspiring photos to take on my daily commute. The year-long project I had envisioned only lasted for three months.  I still can't crack a smile when I look at the photos I took during that project. I labeled that year's resolution a failure and to this day I still feel I owe somebody a couple hundred more photographs.

Skip Resolutions, Find Direction Instead

This year, I’m not making any New Year’s resolutions. Every year I promised myself to lose weight, bicycle more, and be happy. Every year, I fail miserably. What good is a resolution if at the end of the year I’m standing exactly where I started? But let’s say I did achieve all my New Year’s resolutions. How much alone do accomplishing these resolutions bring value to a person’s life?

I think making New Year’s resolutions is a distraction from how best to measure one’s life. Life isn’t about completing a checklist but about finding your way in this world. I am at the age in life where I have started to lose older family and friends at an unsettling rate. After their death, I’ve never witnessed anyone reminisce about whether the departed completed their bucket list or not. Instead, mourners focused not on the person’s checklist but instead the overall direction their loved took as he or she lived his or her life.

I think for a life to be of value, there are four positive directions we can choose. We can face the East to greet the Sun and welcome the new day. We can face West to reflect on our day as we seek closure. We can also look to the North for adventure and starting something new or we can head South to relax under the warm Sun and be content for what we have. None of these points on the compass is a bad direction to choose. The nice thing is that on this map you don’t have to go a single direction your whole life but choose your own course and move in multiple directions along the journey.

But I think the worse things you can do is to stay stationary. Stationary is a nonexistent direction. What value is there in life to not move toward something that will bring good to your life? None I think.

Taking a 3 Month Blogging Sabbatical

Bryan Ruby in Sioux Falls, 2013.Last month, CMS Report celebrated eight years of providing stories to readers focused on content management systems. Over the years, I've told you how grateful and even surprised I am of the success CMS Report has seen. All true, but for fear of sounding ungrateful I've never acknowledged the negatives of blogging over such an extended period of time. Today, I'm acknowledging the costs and the need to take a break from my routine of waking up before sunrise and going to bed late to maintain the site. Starting today, I'm taking a three month sabbatical away from blogging here and at CMS Report.

CMS Report will still be publishing articles from our contributors during my sabbatical, but you likely won't be seeing any articles written by me. I still plan on continuing working as editor but my office hours for the site will be reduced. I'm doing all this simply because I have responsibilities to the "day job" and myself that are begging for higher priority. In the draft for this article, I originally provided three reasons that I'm doing this sabbatical but deleted them from the published article. My reasons for taking such a break are not important but only the outcome. The end result is CMS Report will be fine without me and will likely be a better website as a result of my sabbatical.

So I end this article by simply saying: see you on the other side!

Recovery Time

I know, I've been a little too quiet on this blog.  I've been busy with my latest project, CMS Report.  It's a site I designed to talk about content management systems and other information systems.  The site has really taken off with about 25 visitors reading my pages at one time.  Sometimes as many as 150 people are visiting at one time.  A lot of geeks out there!  Isn't that great.

Also for those that know and don't know, I'm spending my time this month recovering from surgery. As most of you know, a year ago I started dealing with a problem where the primary nerve for my left arm was being squeezed in my neck near C6/C7 causing pain and weakness in my left arm. The procedure I had was a microdiscetomy and foraminotomy which basically means the neurosurgeon enlarged the window where the nerves for the arm leaves the spine. As intense as it sounds, I'm recovering rather well and needing a lot less pain medication than the doctors expected me to need. With the pain I was dealing with my arm...a cut in the back of my neck is a walk in the park.

Recovery time can range from two weeks to six week. My goal is to be back at work in two weeks though I will be starting my first week with half days. Meanwhile, my "recovery" has been spent so far by watching football, KU Basketball, and watching the wife in the freezing cold snow blowing the drive. The only real exercise the doctor wants me to do is walking...so I've been walking in the gym as Logan and Karen spend time in the swimming pool. 

IT and Personal Goals for 2007

For the most part, I usually say "no" to making New Year resolutions and IT predictions. I never really get things 100% completed to say I've resolved those things that I previously promised. I have yet to ever fully predict what is just around the corner for IT (actually it almost usually turns out better than even my most optimistic predictions). However, no matter the time of year, I always have goals that I strive to meet.

The following are some of my open source IT goals for 2007:

  • Return of the Geek. Outside my "day job", the past year has been filled with freelance projects designing and hosting sites for various clients. As I wrote a few months ago, the whole experience of working outside of work for cash has led a bad taste to my mouth. When you really don't need the money, why do it? For 2007, I rather spend my time contributing to open source projects such as Drupal. I've been a wall flower for too long and I think the core developers would like to see wall flowers not be wall flowers.
  • For sites that I own, I need to do a better job of installing the betas and release candidates. For example, when I started CMS Report it was with Drupal 4.7 Beta 1. I'm sad to report that this site is still using Drupal 4.7. It's very hard to contribute to open source if you're not willing to go on the edge with some of your production sites.