Bryan Ruby


Thoughts, Words, and Deeds

Thoughts

Alone Time

My son had a out of town hockey tournament this weekend which resulted in my family leaving me home alone. In the past 48 hours, I've been the only human being in my house. My only duty this weekend was to take care of our dog Jasmine and the two cats, Oreo and Maya. What a wonderful gift I received in this opportunity to be alone and to be just me without interruption.

I know some people that can't stand being alone. There are people that have to constantly have someone around to be content and happy. This has never been me. I can go for several days without seeing another human being before I actually feel lonely. It has nothing to do with me not liking people. I value my time with family and friends very much. Instead, this has to do with the importance of solitude in my life.

Loneliness is marked by a sense of isolation. Loneliness happens when we no longer want to be alone and we desire to be around people. Solitude, on the other hand, can be defined as a "state of being alone without being lonely and can lead to self-awareness".  Solitude is desirable, a state of being alone where you provide yourself wonderful and sufficient company.

The greatest obstacle to finding solitude most often is not trying to find alone time but the guilt of feeling selfish by not sharing our time with others. In my single days, being alone was easy and admittedly at times lonely. Today though, as a husband and father, I've been conditioned by necessity to make sure I'm available when my family needs me to be available. Even this weekend I feel somewhat guilty I'm not watching my son at his hockey game and cheering him on as he attempts another shot at the goal. What kind of father doesn't show up for his son's hockey game? It doesn't matter that others will tell me it's OK to put myself first from time to time, I still feel I'm losing some points toward being a good parent.

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.

So, on the first day of this new year, I choose East.

Article originally published at Fifty-Two Posts.

Beware of Burning Bridges via Social Media

I wrote something similar to this on my Facebook page today.

I think I've only posted about half a dozen political posts these past two years. Admittedly, for reasons I care not to discuss here, I didn't invest a lot of emotion into this election cycle. What has disappointed me most about this election isn't the election results despite my opposition to Trump but the behavior of friends, peers, and acquaintances. I've seen friends, relatives, and in-laws burn bridges on long-term relationships for nothing more than the sake to showing their anger against another one's viewpoint via social media. I can survive four years of Trump, but witnessing the lack of respect people are showing one another is a much more difficult hurdle for me to go through emotionally and spiritually.

I wrote in comment on another friends post that I think a lot of the discussion of late is the results of both sides demonizing the other side and refusing to acknowledge the human side of the equation. Neither Trump or Clinton are evil people yet many have come to believe such is true about the opposing candidate. When you take this approach it ultimately backfires on you and as a whole on our nation. Anger can be a good tool for motivation, but when we display hatred toward others we really have gone too far.

Recovering from Blogging Burnout

I don't think I want to do this anymore...

After three or four decades of being immersed in the digital lifestyle and blogging on a continual basis for 15 years, I found myself puking at the idea of spending more time in front of the computer outside of work. It's not that I don't still like technology and content management, but I didn't recognize until it was too late that the lack of topic diversity would eventually lead me to digital burnout. To fix this, I seriously tried not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. In the end that's exactly what I did.

Having walked away from CMS Report earlier this year, it's taken me months to recognize that the problem wasn't being bored with content management systems. The problem is I didn't do it in moderation.  Between my day job working in information technology and the evenings spent blogging and running personal websites, there were days I spent close to 16 hours in front of a computer screen. For someone like me that can be over enthusiastic in pursuing my interests and activities, I never considered my computer time as work. As odd as it sounds, it became a great shock to me that my body both physically and mentally still perceived it as work.

I know there are others that have dealt with job burnout, but this wasn't just my job it was my hobby. Until recently, writing blog posts always brought me great joy and satisfaction. Steven D’souza in a recent article published at Harvard Business Review wrote about going through something similar. In the article he discusses the dangers of not recognizing work we love as still being work.

The Most Important Feature To Require In Your Next CMS

When it comes to content management systems, these two questions are the ones that I get asked the most:

  • What is the best CMS out there?
  • What features do I need to have in my CMS?

Over the years, I've tried answering that question in various forums. But inevitably my initial answers to the first question are almost always:

  • It depends on what you want to do.
  • It depend on who you're willing to work with.

This leaves us with the second question. What features do you need to have in a CMS? The honest answer is I won't know until I better understand your business goals and current workflow. But I can tell you with a straight face what is the most important feature your new CMS needs to have:

  • The ability to export your content easily out of your "new" CMS.

Too often, people worry only about importing their content into a new CMS from their old CMS. But what if in a year or two you find your new CMS fails to meet your needs? Before adopting a new CMS, you should have a clear exit stategy for the day your new CMS becomes your old CMS.

With some CMSs, the process to leave from one platform to another is an easy one. We just did an Agility CMS to Drupal migration where Agility's software provided easy access to their export functionality. This didn't surprise me because three years ago I researched Agility well and confirmed they had export functionality readily available. Unfortunately, too many CMSs are not like Agility. CMS vendors don't always provide an easy method to leave their CMS and sometimes this is intentional (it's called vendor lock). Website migrations even in the best of circumstances are already difficult and you definitely don't want a CMS where exporting content is made difficult by design.

Ambulance Chasing: A Social Media Success Story

When it comes to posting online about my own personal misfortune, I have one simple rule. Don't talk about it until you can tell the story with a sense of humor. When it comes to a visible personal injury the first question you inevitably have to answer is, "What happened to you"? Three weeks ago, I was in a bicycle accident where I landed on my shoulder and broke my clavicle (collar bone). I'm better now but I'm still wearing an arm sling. My first attempt of bringing humor to the situation was on Twitter.

In the past, I've joked with my wife that every time I've had a physical injury it when I'm doing some type of physical exercise. My accident happened during a 26 mile bike ride on the bike trail when a skateboarder accidentally or on purpose (I want to believe it was the former and not the latter) put his skateboard in front of my bicycle wheel. I flipped over on the bike, landed on my shoulder, and by the next day found that I had broke my collar bone. The doctor said to expect my arm to be in a arm sling for two to six weeks. It took me almost a week to admit the specifics of my injury online. This time with a little less humor on Twitter.

Wearables: Even Apple Doesn't Get It

My number one priority for a smart watch is not to replace my car keys and wallet, although these are the type of things I do expect any wearable I purchase to be capable of doing. No, the highest priority of a smart watch should be to replace my need of carrying around my phone everywhere I go. Second highest priority needs to be the ability go and do things with your watch without having to worry if you need to the your charger along too. In other words, I'm not convinced smart watches will be for the masses (one the novelty wears off) until the wearable is independent of a second device and can go for days without charging.

Social Media Killed the Family Website

For the first time in 15 years, my family doesn't have a website to call their own. In January 2000, I registered the domain Bryansplace.com. This was the first website I ever built outside of work and it became a sandbox for me to express my interests as well as a way to seek personal growth. From handwritten HTML pages into Frontpage to a number of CMSs, the software and content at Bryansplace evolved as my life evolved.

Bryansplace.com was the website where my girlfriend and I announced our marriage to the world. As a married couple, we eventually publicly announced the birth of our son via the site. This domain was the site where I talked about camping, computers, and my latest beer recipes. It wasn't all about me either. My wife showcased her photography for the first time online via Bryansplace. This was also the website my son learned how to navigate the Drupal content management system and talk about his gaming skills. Bryansplace.com was synonymous with "family news". Despite how much I valued the domain, last week I unceremoniously killed the website.

Red Stool

I wonder where that old red stool from my childhood went?

This little stool is mine
I use it all the time
to reach the things I couldn't
and lots of things I shouldn't.