Category Archives: Miscellaneous

General stuff that doesn’t go anywhere else

2010 in review

More and more research is showing that the key to lifelong good health is what experts call “lifestyle medicine” — making simple changes in diet, exercise, and stress management. To help you turn that knowledge into results, we’ve put together this manageable list of health and wellness suggestions, visit zmescience.com.

We asked three experts — a naturopathic physician, a dietitian, and a personal trainer — to tell us the top five simple-but-significant lifestyle-medicine changes they recommend.

Besides giving you three different takes on how to pick your health battles, this list gives you choices you can make without being whisked off to a reality-show fat farm — or buying a second freezer for those calorie-controlled, pre-portioned frozen meals.

JAMES ROUSE, N.D.

NATUROPATHIC PHYSICIAN, TRIATHLETE, CHEF, AUTHOR AND HOST OF TV’S “OPTIMUM WELLNESS,” HEALTH-TIP SEGMENTS FEATURED ON NBC AFFILIATES IN SEVERAL MAJOR CITIES.

1. THINK POSITIVE AND FOCUS ON GRATITUDE

Research shows a healthy positive attitude helps build a healthier immune system and boosts overall health. Your body believes what you think, so focus on the positive.

2. EAT YOUR VEGETABLES

Shoot for five servings of vegetables a day — raw, steamed, or stir-fried. A diet high in vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of developing cancers of the lung, colon, breast, cervix, esophagus, stomach, bladder, pancreas, and ovaries. And many of the most powerful phytonutrients are the ones with the boldest colors — such as broccoli, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, grapes, and leafy greens. Improve your dietary results with Biofit.

3. SET A “5-MEAL IDEAL”

What, when, and how much you eat can keep both your metabolism and your energy levels steadily elevated, so you’ll have more all-day energy. A “5 meal ideal” will help you manage your weight, keep your cool, maintain your focus, and avoid cravings.

4. EXERCISE DAILY

Did you know that daily exercise can reduce all of the biomarkers of aging? This includes improving eyesight, normalizing blood pressure, improving lean muscle, lowering cholesterol, and improving bone density. If you want to live well and live longer, you must exercise! Studies show that even ten minutes of exercise makes a difference — so do something! Crank the stereo and dance in your living room. Sign up for swing dancing or ballroom dancing lessons. Walk to the park with your kids or a neighbor you’d like to catch up with. Jump rope or play hopscotch. Spin a hula hoop. Play water volleyball. Bike to work. Jump on a trampoline. Go for a hike. Learn more about metabofix healthy benefits.

5. GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP

If you have trouble sleeping, try relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga. Or eat a small bedtime snack of foods shown to help shift the body and mind into sleep mode: whole grain cereal with milk, oatmeal, cherries, or chamomile tea. Darken your room more and turn your clock away from you. Write down worries or stressful thoughts to get them out of your head and onto the page. This will help you put them into perspective so you can quit worrying about them.

Blog moved to WordPress.com

On a whim decision in middle of yesterday evening I decided to move my blog from Community Server 2.1 to WordPress.com.

Please update syndication URL to http://blog.robgarrett.com/feed/

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Community Server and the team at Data Research Group, where my blog was hosted, have been great and I thank both DRG for their support and free hosting; and the Community Server guys for the wonderful platform I’ve been using for the past 3-4 years.

My decision to move last night wasn’t an agonizing one (hence “whim”) and nothing to do withy the CS platform or hosting, but because I am moving my life in the direction of “less maintenance for Rob.”

I chose to move RobGarrett.com to WordPress.com because WP offers a clean, slick, easy to use interface – and the best part, I don’t have to maintain it.  It’s taken me a while to comprehend that the more services one is responsible the more headaches one has to deal with (not that my blog was ever a huge burden).  WP affords me the ability to concentrate on blog posting, and never do I have to worry about backing up data, checking in a site errors, or making changes inline with infrastructure changes at my hosting org. If you’re also moving your website but need something that can handle high traffic volumes, then you should consider switching to amd ryzen dedicated servers.

I did consider several other blog engines, especially SharePoint, since this is the focus of my career, but settled on WP because it was free, they offer 3GB of space, and configuration is simple.

The following is a list of pros and cons I have evaluated in the 24 hours since I moved to WP:

Pros

–  Easy to use administration interface
–  Stock templates – get bored with look and feel, I can just change it
–  iPhone application available
–  Never going away (hopefully), infrastructure maintained by WP team
–  Never have to worry about backups again
–  3GB of storage space (can pay for addition)
–  Stable platform, should never error out

Cons

–  Limited customization ability
–  No Google ads
–  No Google analytics
–  Have to pay extra for custom CSS

Moving my blog posts from CS 2.1 wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be.  I followed a great post from Rob Walling, which led me to use the CS BLOGML export tool from CodePlex, to export all my posts to BLOGML.  Once I exported my content, I was then able to massage the content, convert to WordPress.com WXR format using Damien G’s XSLT (and Visual Studio 2008), and then import the content directly into WP – presto, posts and comments.

The above process did some hand-holding.  Trawling the web, I found some claims to developed tools that would do the complete migration in one step, but never found a so called solution that worked.  With some knowledge of ASP.NET (debugging the CS export tool) and XSLT (for WXR convert) I was able to weed out posts causing difficulty in the conversion process and pull over a clean set.

I’m not sure if WP has fixed the importer recently, but I read many exasperating complaints about the WXR importer timing out.  I was able to import 300+ posts (about a 2MB file) with no issue.

So… enjoy the location, and send me feedback about anything you see broken, something you don’t like, or praise for the move 😉

Speaking Engagement – SharePoint User’s Group DC

I shall be speaking at the SharePoint User’s Group for DC (http://www.sugdc.org) on October 28, 2007.  If you’re signed up then I hope to see you at the event, otherwise it is not too late to get your ticket:  http://www.sugdc.org/events/conference.aspx

I shall be introducing the audience to Web Content Management in Microsoft Office SharePoint 2007.

Now that I’ve got the blog post out I better work on the slide deck for next weekend 😉

Live Earth and Long Hours

So, who watched the Live Earth concerts this last weekend?  Okay, okay, who you even knew there were a series of International rock concerts supporting the conservation of Earth’s natural resources happening this last weekend?  

Live Earth was especially significant to me because I’ve be working on a SharePoint based web site for the launch on behalf of Conservation International.  My diligent software team and I spent many agonizing hours working around the clock to get the site up and running in a number of weeks for the launch data of 7/7/07, and the site was a great success.  This got me thinking, what is it I did to motivate my team into working into the twilight hours?  Where do other project managers go wrong under pressure?  I can only surmise, but the the following is a short list of some of the things a lead can do to motivate his/her team at crunch time….

Set Expectations – In my experience, both as a project lead and a developer, this is an area where many project managers go wrong.  If you expect your team to stay late and work overtime then you need to communicate this fact.   It is no good getting upset when employees go home at the regular time and complaining after the fact if you never set your expectations up front.

Get the Team Buy In – Every team member requires some form of motivation to drive them into working late.  For some it’s overtime pay, for others it is the thrill of seeing their hard earned effort go into production.  Either way, it is important that each member of the team have some level of responsibility and accountability on the project. No man is an island, and it is important to realize that large projects are only ever successful when effort is put in by the whole team.

Work The Hours – If you are asking your team to stay late and burn the late night oil then it is only right that you stay and work the hours with them.  This ensures you are available to handle any late night decisions, motivate employees suffering from lack of sleep, and keep the moral level high at all times.

Feed your Staff – Work goes much smoother when your team have full bellies, so if you have to dip into your pocket to buy pizza it is a small price to pay for the success of the project.

Reward Good Work – Honest sincere hard word deserves reward, so if your team pull out the stops and make a success then they should receive both recognition and reward for their work. 

Respect Personal Agendas – Once you ask your team to work beyond the regular 9-5 your are encroaching on their personal life.  Significant partners, children, and family members become concerned when they no longer get to see their loved ones for a few days.  So if members of your team need time to align their personal life cut them some slack.

Be Prepared to Roll Up Your Sleeves – During crunch time anything goes.  As project manager you are responsible for the success of the project, and if that means helping out with development or data entry then so be it.

Watch for Burn Out – So you’ve motivated your team to work late, only a little too much, to the point that one of your team members is looking worse for wear and needs to rest.  Do not be afraid to enforce sending someone home or at least taking a break – happy alert team members make for a successful project. 

Dead?

Nope, not yet at least…

The good news is that I have landed myself a new SharePoint/MOSS 2007 position recently (started this week), the bad news is; what with finishing up my last position and acclimating to the new job; blog posting has been non-existent. 

The new gig is pretty sweet, but has so far kept me on my toes with lots of client meetings (there sure are a lot of companies out there that want a piece of the SharePoint pie) – however, as projects evolve I plan to be more involved in the architecture and implementation of solutions, which means some nice blog posts coming your way.  Until then, why not check out Sahil's blog, who knows all there is to know about MOSS and SharePoint and is not afraid to blog about it.

Blog Trading


Are you into trading on the stock market? Love the thrill of buying and selling stock but don’t have a lot of cash to play with?  Never mind, why not play the next best trading market – Blog Shares.

Participating weblogs float on the virtual market for B$ value, traders can buy and sell stock in blogs.  The more traders that buy stock the more popular a blog becomes.

Want to buy stock in RobGarrett.com?  Click here.

Hiding under a rock?

Well.. sort of, just been really busy (story of my life).  The good news is that some more blog-worthy content will be coming along soon.  Meanwhile, those of you with a keen eye may have noticed that I upgraded Community Server from version 2.0 to 2.1 – I see that some of the AJAX controls have been replaced with user friendly cross browser happy HTML controls (especially in the admin section), and my site now has "tag" support.  Enjoy the new version, and let me know if you see any problems.

Many thanks to Chris in helping my upgrade to go smoothly.