Ramblings of Today

I have been thinking a lot of what to do with this site and my social media presence. I am very active on social media, last week I decided to take a break from Facebook. With the election and inauguration the negativity that is around is so over flowing it is just sad. I am sure it was that way eight years ago as well. I am also tired of seeing of the negative comments about overdoes. We are in the beginning of a massive health crisis with overdose I believe in my opinion. I am so saddened and worried about the current generation and the amount of lives that will be lost.

People need to have empathy. Stop being so negative and show empathy and love. I don’t believe in removing accountability, but I do believe in compassion.

This post is a rambling, just like my site says in the tag line. Ramblings of a Pittsburgh Dad. I am trying to decide how I want to proceed. I have a lot of activities in my life and I enjoy them. I love being a father and being there for my children. They are now teenagers, which is very stressful and trying. I want to be with them and be there to help them.

I am also very active in my work, I am a technologist and work primary at this time with Dynamics 365. This is challenging and I love challenges. I am very lucky to work for a great company and have some wonderful leaders. I say leaders, because they are more than “bosses”, they are leaders who are there to help and coach. I have seen this personally and am very grateful.

Why do I blog? I enjoy writing, I may not be the best writer and I do not debate them. But I enjoy it. I enjoy putting my thoughts on “paper” (really the screen). It helps me focus and reflect on events and thoughts. I have also been interested in video, ever since I was a teenager myself and it was very difficult at that time. Video has so much to offer and ways of engaging with people and sharing your thoughts.

I am trying to plan my 2017 as far as social media (Blogging, Video) and the platforms that are available to help bring engagement. I would like my children to be involved in some of it. I would like to share what I learn and also learn from them. I know I can learn from them, to thing that I can’t learn is foolish.

My next post will be on my intentions for 2017, a little late since we are now in February, but I want to do that.

Using Evernote For Blogging

I have been using Evernote for a long time. I have my notes available on all of my devices. I even take pictures of hand written notes and add them to Evernote.

Today though, I want to talk about how I use Evernote for blogging. I have tried several ways but found that using Evernote for my blogging is the most efficient for me.

The workflow that I use is not difficult, it makes use of tags and saved searches in Evernote.

As I am sure many of you do, I get all kinds of ideas about blog posts, some never see the light of day and others turn into a published post. Some I have other people involved with and need to collaborate on. I tried using WordPress (my blogging platform of choice) but found it lacking. I installed a plugin called Drafts for Friends and it was useful. It let me share via a link a draft post and get feedback, but didn’t let people edit. I have created accounts for people but some just don’t want to work within WordPress, they may not be tech people who just want to contribute using an easy system for editing, proofing or providing feedback. This lead me to start using Evernote for my blogging. I do NOT publish my notes from Evernote, this is a manual workflow that provides a way of having people contribute and collaborate on a post and also for helping me brainstorm and dive deeper into ideas I for my blogs.

I have a notebook, not a shared notebook called “Web Sites”. This notebook has notes related to my sites, all sites. I have structure in this notebook and other relevant information. Like I said this is NOT a shared notebook.

I make use of Evernote tags by using the following tags:

  • Site Name (Rainaldi.org in this case)
  • Status
    • draft
    • published
    • idea

When I have an idea for a post I create a note in the Web Sites notebook and tag it with the site name and “idea”. This is usually just that, an idea that needs more thinking. It might be a phrase, a picture or event another post that I used Evernote Clipper to send to this notebook. Something I want to respond to or reference. I can do this from any of the Evernote applications that are available, Web Clipper like I said, Phone app, Web App or Windows Client.

I have a saved search that searches within the “Web Sites” notebook for notes tagged with ideas. This will present a list of only those notes. I haveSavedSearch a shortcut saved for this search so I can look at these notes very easily. You can see how I built the saved search and that I am define the search to look inside the “Web Sites” notebook for notes tagged with “draft” and NOT having the tag “ideas”.

I create a note with the idea, add “ideas” and the site name as tags. When I am ready to start writing the post I pull up the note and start writing, I don’t worry about graphics or images. I just focus on the content that I want in the post. I will add images, graphics and links to the note, but not in any order. At the very end of the note I put a collection of these assets so I can reference and use them.

I then will add the “draft” tag to the note an my saved search will make it easy to find so I can refer and edit it as time permits. I can also send a shared link to someone for them to review and contribute to this post if needed. I use Evernote Chat to talk about the post.

ShareNote

I share just the note to the people I wish. They may or may NOT have an Evernote account. I encourage them to have an Evernote account and most do.

 

CopyAsTextOnce I have the post ready I log into my site and copy the text from the note. I paste the note into WordPress as “text” and click on the “Copy as Text” icon in the toolbar. I have found issues with formatting when I just paste the text into WordPress. I like to use WordPress for my formatting as that is the destination and I can make use of the WordPress tools and preview to make sure the post looks as I wish.

I also like to have all of the meta data for the post listed in Evernote. WordPress tags are just listed as a comma separated list, Categories are listed and the feature image is just noted. I have the title in the note so I can refine that as well.

Once I published the post on my blog, I add the tag “published” and remove the tag draft. This will clear up the saved search, I can also just add the filter to the saved search to remove notes with the “published” tag.

Sample

Currently, I am looking at a few templates from fellow Evernote Community Leaders that I like and will be incorporating those templates into my workflow. I follow up with a post once I have that in place.

Blogging – Why I Do What I Do

I wrote a post on the question “What I do what I do?“. I received some feedback that I thought was very good, “that is a big topic!”. I agree and thought let’s take this topic and think about blogging.

So, I would like to issue a challenge to my fellow bloggers. Would you write a post on the topic “Blogging – Why I Do What I Do”.

I sometimes think about why I blog. What is the purpose of me maintaining a blog? Why should I continue? Is there any value to me blogging?

I blog first and foremost because I enjoy it. I enjoy writing, I am NOT a professional writer but I enjoy writing my thoughts and putting them on a blog. It feels good to get my thoughts out and publishing them. It helps me work on my writing and it also helps me think more about what I am writing about. I don’t have many readers to my blog and that is okay.  I blog for myself. If others find what I write useful, that is wonderful.

I13241650194_0e58264d92_o love to involve my family into my blogging. Sometimes (well, most of the time) they don’t want to. But, we try to do a lot of it together. It may just be pictures or it may be ideas they spark in me. Having my family involved is very important. I feel it is good when my daughters try to share (with our help), it gives them good practice writing and putting their thoughts together.

I do find that blogging creates a community of like minded people. Blogging allows me to connect with people who like to blog or have the same interests. I have created a blog on my community which was very helpful during it’s time. I maintain this blog for myself. I write about various topics depending on what I am feeling and what I would like to share. Sitting down and putting thoughts on the screen and reading them helps me.

I would like to see if you, my fellow bloggers or readers would like to share “Blogging – Why I Do What I do”. Write a post on this topic. I would love to read why you blog. Add your link to the form below and please share with the tag #WhyIDoWhatIDo.

Feature image credit https://flic.kr/p/9NKZgU

Read other posts on clarity.

 

Regular Feedback

Regular feedback is a key compont of Agile and also of the values of the company I work for. Feedback needs to be specific, timely and balanced as described in Your First Leadership Job. I believe in this completely, sometimes it is very hard to do. Today, I published a 5 question survey on a high volume site I manage to collect feedback for the future of the site.

I wanted to collect some basic feedback as I prepare to re-launch the site after the 2015 primary election. I am on the ballot for a school director and the re-launch will be themed based on the results of the election. I have been very vocal about transparency and involving the public. Using the survey I can build a score card about the site and hopefully make it better. Afterall, that is really what regular feedback is about, making something better.

 

Welcoming 2015

Last year, I started #LouLoss and well didn’t do as good as I wanted. I tried several different diets and had a lot of ups and downs throughout the year. But, overall I did show a weight loss of 7.2 pounds through the year. I started my dieting adventure on the 29th of December 2013 as the chart below shows.

My goal was to weigh below 200 pounds, I didn’t succeed in the goal. But did learn a lot throughout the year and kept on trying again and again. I know my biggest problems are:

  1. Junk food
  2. Portion control
  3. Lack of exercise

So, this year I am going to continue with more enthusiasm and really try harder to reach my goal of breaking 200 pounds. Earlier this month I started to try yoga practice and have really enjoyed it. I have been going to it regularly and just signed up for a 3 month package for unlimited classes at Urban Prana Yoga. If you are in the area check them out, they are very friendly and welcoming to all people. My goal with yoga is to help lower and manage stress which I am already feeling. I found myself really loving the restorative yoga classes with the time to mediate. But, I also like the other classes that push me without scaring me away.

I have also started to journal again after nearly 2 decades, I enjoyed it when I was younger and now I am journaling every day. I use DayOne for keeping my private journal, sometimes I just write a phrase (like a Tweet) or add a picture and other times I write paragraphs. But, I have been writing entries every day for over a month now.

Goals are to be specific if you want to reach them, so I am write a few specific goals for 2015 that I will work on accomplishing.

  • Lower my weight below 200 pounds
  • Practice yoga at least 3 times a week
  • Write daily entries in my journal
  • Write public (blog) and private (journal) retrospectives each week

Check back as I write something about each of these goals and how and why I want to accomplish them.

If you from Pittsburgh, let’s make it Fittsburgh, click the icon below to Join The Challenge!

Pittsburgh Blogger Facebook Group

Emily over at emilylevenson.com created a new Facebook group for Pittsburgh Bloggers, I joined the group right away. Those who do not know her, she also create Project: Food Budget which I have participate in for helping to manage my family's food spending. I love the idea of a group for people who blog around Pittsburgh to communicate and get to know each other better. I am a new one to the blogging arena, I am not new to the web or Internet though. I have been created web applications since the late 90s, I travel a lot to develop sites during the boom.

I left Pittsburgh and hurried back around 2000 and met my beautiful wife and started a family. I am a “tech addict” and stay on Twitter and Facebook all the time. I am truly “connected' with my Fitbit which is a very advance pedometer that monitor not only my steps but the floors and activity level that I walk.

As of this writing the Facebook group is getting a lot of activity and I will be checking out each of the blogs posted there. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, I love our city and am so happy to be part of a great community of bloggers.

Once again, Pittsburgh bloggers join the Pittsburgh Bloggers Facebook group and build our community.