MyChores logo contest

I have just launched a contest for a new logo for MyChores.

If you’re a creative type (unlike me – i do code, not graphics!) then please have a go. The logos submitted will be judged by MyChores members and the favourite one will be used on the site. It doesn’t matter whether you use MyChores or not.

Please help spread the word so that lots of people get to hear about it!

It's a project!

Reading the book, “Getting Things Done” by David Allen, has helped me to understand why “Clean kitchen cupboards” has been overdue on MyChores for over a year. The reason is: it’s not a task; it’s a project!

As a project, it cannot all be done in one go. You have to get everything out of the cupboard you want to clean, and leave it out preferably overnight to ensure the cupboard dries properly before you put things back in again. There isn’t space to have everything out of the cupboards at the same time – so you have to do just one or two at a time.

With this in mind i got some sticky notes and stuck them to the cupboards which most pressingly need cleaning!


We then set about to give each cupboard a name: “pots and pans cupboard”, “cups and glasses cupboard”, “crockery cupboard”, “dry ingredients cupboard” … it was quite fun analysing the contents of each cupboard and wondering how and why we had chosen each for its purpose.

We deleted the overdue task from MyChores and created 11 new tasks in its place. We then cleaned two of the cupboards together last week.

Cleaning the cupboards

We had planned to do two cupboards a day and get them all clean within the week. Unfortunately we’ve had such a busy week, it just didn’t happen. So now i have rescheduled them to do two a week and get them finished by the end of March. This also means that when the tasks recur on a 6-monthly basis, it will never feel like such a big job again.

I hope this post might encourage other people facing daunting tasks, to break them down into a smaller manageable size, and plan to do them at a schedule that you can reasonably manage.

New Week's Resolution

I don’t do new year’s resolutions. For me, a year is too long a time. I do, however, always try to do something for Lent, and occasionally i make new week’s resolutions, which usually last just from Monday to Friday.

This week i am following a resolution that i was inspired to make after reading Nye’s Top tips for a tidy home. It is full of many excellent tips, but the part i really liked was this:

You’ve had a really hard day at work and you’re tired. Wait! Don’t sit down on the sofa, no matter how tempting it is. Do a couple of chores first and then sit down. Give yourself a pat on the back!

It is true, when i come home from work i am only mentally tired. It seems to work really well to balance that with some physical exercise that doesn’t require much brain power. This week i have aimed to do two chores, but ended up doing more because i found i actually had quite a lot of energy to use up.

Contrast that with my previous technique which was to put things off until after washing up, forgetting that i often don’t get round to washing up until 10pm, and if there is a lot of washing up to do, i don’t feel like doing chores afterwards at all. Meaning that i ended up doing most of my chores on a Sunday afternoon!

So thank you, Nye, your advice really seems to work well, and i hope that this will become a habit that lasts for more than just a week! :)

In other news, i just lol’d at this picture found on urban dictionary … what’s the opposite of ‘pro’?

What's the opposite of 'pro'? Clearly 'n00b'!

The teacher is a total n00b not to know that the opposite of ‘pro’ is blatantly ‘n00b’!

Another lap around the Sun

Well done, Earth, you made it all the way round again! The Sinfest strip is a perfect reminder of the same time last year:

January 1st 2008
January 1st 2009

I do really like Sinfest! :)

Today i should probably do a few more chores. I did quite well yesterday considering i was very not in the mood for cleaning. Nye’s Top tips for a tidy home were very helpful to me, as was Songbird in finding me some high-energy techno, combined with the MyChores lucky dip feature, and bribing myself with the promise of chocolate biscuits!

I look forward to seeing what happens on MyChores today. In past years, January 1st has been one of the busiest days of the year!

So long, 2008

Approximately a year ago, you may have wished me a happy 2008. If you did, thank you! I had a pretty awesome year!

Reading back in my blog, it feels like a long year. In fact, i noticed a stark contrast between the two halves of the year, pivoting on the moment i got my new job. I was amazed by how much of a difference it made in my perception: the first half of the year feels much longer than a year ago, but everything since my new job feels very recent. Yet the two halves are separated by just one weekend! I also noticed how many more blog posts i made in the earlier half of the year compared to the latter.

So it’s new year’s eve again, the time when i get all retrospective and nostalgic. I actually quite like staying in on new year’s eve and blogging. Here is a summary of the year.

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The day before Caturday

Tomorrow we travel to Belgium, so tonight is my last chance to connect to the Internet, unless my trusty netbook can happen upon somebody’s unsecured wireless when we’re away. In a fishing cottage on the north coast of Belgium, i should say chances will be slim.

We’ve had a great time here in Germany. We visited a friend in Cologne yesterday and had a good look at the Christmas market there. Today we made some delicious mince pies.

MyChores is missing all its user-uploaded pictures and there is nothing i can do about it until i get back home. This makes me sad. HostingRails are being supremely unhelpful and i am regretting entering a 2-year arrangement with them. I think they were the best at the time, but a lot has changed this year, and i am sure that when the time is up there will be lots of better options for me to pursue.

Somebody is translating one of my CouchDB articles into Portuguese for Brazil. I feel honoured! :)

Since FireStats tells me that most people come to my blog searching for Caturday, have a cat for tomorrow! :)

more animals

Happy solstice, Chanukah, Christmas and new year.

Rails on a netbook?

I am here today to ask a question and then answer it. The question is: Can you run Ruby on Rails on a netbook? Specifically, an Acer Aspire One. My motivation is … since buying my netbook, i have completely fallen in love with it, and much prefer it to the desktop computer. I want to do as much as possible on the netbook. I don’t think i’d spend a whole day coding on it, but just for quick little things it could be wonderful!

Now that MyChores is open source i really like this idea of code anywhere. Wherever i have my netbook and an internet connection, i can code! If there’s an emergency bug needs fixing on MyChores, i could make the fix and push it. Or if i’m feeling lazy one Saturday morning there can surely be nothing better than a cup of coffee and coding in bed! ;)

So without further ado, let’s see if you can put Rails on a netbook …

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Ask and you will receive

For those who may not have seen it on the MyChores journal, i started a MyChores pledge campaign last night. I kind of stumbled into it by accident, via github, but i thought i may as well publicise it a little bit.

Click here to lend your support to: mychores and make a donation at !

Already we’ve had one confirmed pledge of $10 and another $10 waiting to be cleared! I am making people site supporters on MyChores, so if you pledge and you have an account, please let me know your login ID so i can give you the additional features.

These are exciting times for MyChores. The code has gone open source and there are some people expressing a serious interest in helping to improve the codebase. We are going to make the site more reliable, faster, more intuitive. One of my colleagues is hopefully coming for a weekend code-a-thon sometime soon! So i think this is a very worthy cause to support! :)


Originally uploaded by

I’ve been sent home. I’m too ill. I’m not *that* ill … i managed to get a decent bit of work done this morning, but it made me very tired. So i’ve come home with a fascinating book to put me to sleep keep me occupied: Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software by Gamma, Helm, Johnson and Vlissides. Nearly 400 pages – yikes!

I like cucumbers. Sometimes i think a nice fresh cold, crisp and juicy cucumber tastes almost like a watermelon! Depending on my mood i might prefer slices, chunks or strips. I like cucumber grated in salad, and it makes a tasty and refreshing juice. Wow, cucumbers are great!

Today i discovered another Cucumber that i like – the feature runner that supports behaviour driven development. We switched over to Cucumber at work today. Just like that! We converted two of our projects to Cucumber and already gained the benefit of having ambiguous steps pointed out, and enjoyed the pretty colours and helpful information in the output.

One thing i like about Cucumber is it is multilingual. I have been thinking about writing my features for MyChores in LOLCAT! I’m not quite sure how it’s going to work, but i think it would be pretty funny[0] to pretend i have a team of cats testing the code! Maybe it’s a bit impractical, i don’t know. Perhaps i’ll give it a try this afternoon.

[0] My interpretation of the word ‘funny’ may not be the same as everybody else’s!

Ajax me up, baby!

Just a little demo of what i have managed to achieve tonight on MyChores:

Gosh, i love Prototype! :)

If you don’t understand why that’s so thrilling, don’t worry! I get a little bit excitable by little things sometimes! The important thing is that i did this by intention, rather than just copy-pasting other people’s code until it worked by accident! ;)