Progress on the book

Photograph of my desk
A nice clear desk, set up for writing about Mahjong, with a library of Mahjong books to my left, and the two monitors: book text on the left screen, update log on the right screen.

This morning I made good progress on the edits for the Teach Yourself Mahjong book that I’m revising. I hate doing things in bits and pieces — 30 minutes here, 30 minutes there — so it was good to have a good few hours run with the edits. At the moment it looks like I’ll have around 55 revisions, which includes writing two new chapters.

Rather frustratingly, we’re off to Edinburgh again now. Since starting my job I’ve not spent a single weekend in Cellardyke: there has always been something to attend in Edinburgh. I’m quite exhausted, to be honest, and physically quite weary from all the travelling.

However, since it’s for Jane’s birthday party with family and friends it will be great fun. My sister Jenni and her son Benjamin will be coming up for it too, which is great. I’d better go, there are roadworks on the Forth Bridge this weekend … joy!!

I am writing … just not here!

A pen lying on a pad of paper.

The general absence from blogging isn’t because I don’t believe in blogging any more, or because now that I’m working as an IT professional, working with websites all day I have no interest in blogging in the evening. It’s nothing like that.

The simple reason is that I’m working to a deadline on revising and updating the Teach Yourself Mahjong book for Hodder Education.

Last night I went through the book again and counted that I have nearly 45 updates to make, including writing two new chapters: one of the Chinese Official International Rules and one on Mahjong on the internet and computers.

More writing tonight … and then tomorrow I’m off to Edinburgh for the www2006 conference.

Out of the website into the book

A sign saying End, against a deep blue sky

This last week I’ve been loving my new job, but I’ll write more about that soon. Each evening, sometimes into the small hours, I’ve been locking myself away in my nice, cozy study and working on finishing the documentation for the SEC website.

I’m pleased to announce that this afternoon I finished it all, having had an early start yesterday (06:00) and having had to re-burn the accompanying CD-ROM today as I’d missed a whole load of vital data off it. There are now two heavy packages sitting in my “To Post” tray behind me awaiting posting on Monday morning. Sadly they were each over 5 Kg, which is the limit on my own postal scales, so I couldn’t use SmartStamp to print my own stamps.

The problem — that necessitated yesterday’s early start — was that while compiling the CD-ROM of software, plugins and backups last night I discovered that the newly updated WP-DBManager plugin was having problems.

The WP-DBManager plugin as the name might suggest is for WordPress (WP) database (DB) management. It allows you easily, from within the WordPress administration panels, to not only backup your MySQL database, but also download it, restore it, e-mail to someone, or delete it. There are also new options for dropping or emptying a database table, as well as a space to make standard SQL queries of the database. All in all it’s a great plugin.

Except that when I ungraded from version 2.00 to version 2.03 I lost the ability to download the selected backup. I now get a headers-related error. A quick post to the author’s support forum and he managed to replicate the error and is working on a fix. You’ve got to love the internet sometimes.

Now I can relax … for a few minutes, at least. Next up I have a Teach Yourself Mahjong book to update.

New year revolutions

Close-up of a bicycle chainset
Bicycle Gear by donjolley at Stock.xchng.

Today was the first day in weeks that I’ve not woken up with a sore throat. So to celebrate Jane and I cycled down to her aunt’s to deliver a card.

I read the other day “a quarter of all car journeys are under two miles”, and that “cycling for fifteen minutes a day halves your rish of a heart attack”. I really need to cycle more.

Gosh it felt good to be back out on our bikes: new year revolutions, indeed. I just need to keep it up. Here are some of the other things I’d like to achieve this year:

  1. Spend more time with God in prayer
  2. Spend more time with Jane
  3. Exercise regularly: cycling and free weights
  4. Eat more sensibly, and cook more often
  5. Get a new job (for those who don’t know my current post ends in April 2006)
  6. Keep in touch with friends more faithfully, and not just by email
  7. Read more
  8. Play guitar more (maybe even start a band?)
  9. Be more environmentally aware and friendly
  10. Play more Mah Jong
  11. Finish the backlog of websites that I’ve promised people
  12. Learn PHP and MySQL more thoroughly; learn how to setup and administer an Apache server under Linux; improve my CSS knowledge

What am I doing still sitting here?! I’d better get on and start doing these things!