This evening I fired up this blog after not looking at it for over 12 months. I was ready (and motivated) to write!

Alas, something had broken in my self-hosted WordPress installation and the usual tricks of getting back in failed.

Not deterred, I downloaded the latest version from and uploaded it over the top of my previous install.

Do you think I took a backup first? Of course not! I am invincible!

And so, if you go back over any old posts you’ll notice there are no images left. They’re all gone. Dammit!

At least I could rescue my database.

So I decided that, due to the sporadic nature that I even look at this site, I’d move it to so I don’t have to worry about backups and updates again. At least that’s the plan.

Experiment – Can I work in the ‘cloud’ for a week?

The talk about Chomebooks (and even the Chromebox) has got me thinking. It’s a nice theory, but is it really possible to work entirely in the cloud? What apps would I really miss?

Day Zero

I’ve installed Ubuntu 10.12 on an old Toshiba Satellite. I know Ubuntu isn’t ChromeOS but it’s the closest thing I can get easily, and not being a Linux guru by any stretch I don’t have a list of apps to install on it. I know it ships with LibreOffice, but I’m going to try and restrict myself to the browser only.

Okay, I did cheat a bit and download 1 app: Google Chrome.

My working week entails project management, sales, client meetings, and general running-a-business tasks. I know first up that MYOB (our accounting software) is going to be a problem, but there’s a high likelihood we’ll be using Xero from July 1 so for the sake of the exercise we’ll assume that firing up Windows somewhere to open MYOB doesn’t count.

That’s the main thing I can think of at the moment. We use Google Apps for email etc and I usually use the browser for that; no problem.

Asana for tasks. Check. Toggl for time tracking. Check. I think I’ll be okay. We shall see…

Google Drive as a server backup

When Google Drive was first released I thought it could spell the end of the traditional office file server. Simply install Google Drive on each user’s computer, and then the files would be synchronised across each user’s own hard drive. No server required, and multiple backup copies across the office.

But alas, there’s no WAN synchronisation (like Dropbox) and so each file would need to be uploaded by the person who saved it, and then re-downloaded individually to each other user. Lots of wasted bandwidth. Not good. Continue reading

Outlook 2013 and Google Apps Sync

Installed Windows 8 and Office 2013 in a virtual machine yesterday – and I’m glad I chose to do it that way: it seems that the Google Apps sync tool isn’t working yet!

Issue One: the standard installer doesn’t work. “Please download and install the 64-bit version of Google Apps Sync”

If you search for the 64-bit installer you’ll find Google’s download page for the MSI file, but the standard link generates this error when trying to set things up. Not so helpful.

Issue Two: Failed to create profile.

After installing the 64-bit MSI and launching the tool manually, we still can’t create a new profile.

Interestingly, the import profile option is greyed out, so something is really not working there.

Hopefully Google addresses this soon, but in the meantime, stay with Office 2010 if you rely on this.

The only other option at this stage seems to be IMAP, which is fine for email but not other Outlook data.

UPDATE 9 June 2013: It’s now officially supported by Google. Tried it out last week and it works a treat on a clean installation.

The only difference to be aware of (that I’ve found) is that the screen that formerly asked for your username and password now only asks for your username, or email address. It then shoots you off in your broswer to Google, asking you to  authorise Outlook in much the same way as a 3rd party Twitter app requests authorisation. Authorise it, close the browser window and continue as previously.

Google Apps Outlook Sync – No Microsoft Outlook profiles have been created

Encountered this error during the week when trying to install Google Apps Outlook Sync for a client:

No Microsoft Outlook profiles have been created. In Microsoft Windows, click the Start button, and then click Control Panel. Click User Accounts, and then click Mail. Click Show Profiles, and then click Add.

Which of course, Google’s Sync tool should do automatically when you set it up. Continue reading

E-Commerce Usability

This is timely considering we’re working through the checkout and payment process of our own e-commerce plugin for WordPress.

Some interesting highlights:

  • We have to support 4 types of shoppers:
    1. known-item purchases;
    2. category research, where users identify and buy products that best match their needs;
    3. bargain-hunting; and
    4. browsing for inspiration.
  • We need to devote more time to search than I was initially considering

E-Commerce Usability Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox.