Mobile IT worker kit

working remotely

Working from home over long periods of time isn’t really my jam. As a subscriber to agile methodologies, I figured I would embark on an experiment to see if I could find ways to work out of doors in these challenging times!

Working away from home does have its challenges, so here are some notes I took along the way. Getting through the day may have these considerations:

  • Have a face-mask (or 2) for those times you may be unable to keep your physical distance from others
  • Hand sanitizer – stick a small, highly-portable bottle in your kitbag, for easy access!
  • Find a well-ventilated work-space
    • outdoors is ideal
    • if indoors, then make sure a door is open to the facility (or 2 doors like at some local cafés I have noted elsewhere)
  • What about electrical power
    • Leave home with a full charge in your laptop
    • If possible you may be able to find a plug on a wall somewhere, but this is a challenge!
    • Portable power-bank for USB device charging (like a RAVPower portable charge bank) 
    • Portable power-bank, for battery boosting, construction sites, etc
      • Heavy duty power-bank
      • note that you may need a power-inverter if you don’t get the right sine wave out of a unit like this!
  • Network connectivity
    • Proximity to a WIFI source at a public building (City of Victoria, BC Govt., GVPL), coffee shop, restaurant, etc.
    • consider use of a device like a Rocket Hub, which gives you a monthly subscription to wireless data services
    • Use ShawOpen, if you are a Shaw customer
    • Telus Wifi may be available – though not as ubiquitous as Shaw 
  • Refreshment
    • bring a snack pack, and consider your needs for all-day coffee / tea / kombucha
  • Bathroom 
    • this can be a challenge!
    • many places of business are take-out only, and bathrooms are not available
    • make sure you know where public bathroom facilities are!
  • Screen visibility
    • laptop viewing can be hard out of doors
    • find a position where you can reduce glare on screen
    • an umbrella can help 
  • Clothing
    • I tend to dress in layers, so can layer up or down as needed given the ambient conditions
    • Hat – always pack a hat of some sort, I would say!
  • Seating
    • outdoor patio seating at some establishment to keep you comfy
    • conside a portable camp chair, or some sort of folding chair if you are parked on a sidewalk, as in the photo above
    • a cushion for outdoor use may come in handy

WordCamp 2013 notes

I attended WordCamp 2013 (Victoria, BC) this past weekend, my first time at the event.  As a WordPress enthusiast, I was looking forward to meeting some like-minded folks, to network, and learn some techie stuff about WordPress.

I really enjoyed the Experts Panel which was a solid un-moderated hour of Q & A.  I have an interest in how to build out WordPress network sites that can handle a lot of concurrent read and write traffic.  There is a lot of information online about clustering WP, setting up caching servers, database performance tuning, webserver tuning, etc.  At the panel I learned that:

  • high-volume sites are often hosted using nginx, instead of Apache (does that turn LAMP into LNMP?)
  • there is the scalingwp.wordpress.com web site
  • object-caching can be performed with memcached and APC
  • there is some debate about fastcgi mode WP
  • among the core WP developers, Mark Jaquith has online info about scaling WP, even on a budget.
  • another core WP developer of note to research scaling WP is Pete Mall
  • there are consulting agents out there that can provide scaling skills, who have been there and done that
  • HTTPS configuration in WP is not necessarily a slam-dunk.  You may have to resort to hacking plugins, as the whole framework is not necessarily united on how to provide HTTPS links
  • lots of talk about HyperDB for database scaling

I also enjoyed a session by John Overall on 10+1 essential plugins for WordPress.  That is where I learned about the LoginRadius plugin for social identity integration – a neat Canadian SaaS startup!  John posted the slide show on the Meetup site I think….

Ben put up a blog post with his notes from the session here.

2 step OAuth app registration process

Decided to upgrade to Echofon Pro Twitter app for iPhone. Why not, only $4.99 and is one of the most-used apps on my device. To authorize the app to access your Twitter timeline, you:

  • authenticate to Twitter with your account
  • retrieve a one-time PIN code that you then load into Echofon

Nice and easy. Went back through my authorized applications list in Twitter, and pruned out those apps that I am not using anymore, a good thing to do if you want to maintain a privilege of least access approach.