Category Archives: business

Internet archive and my old Sun blog.

Because I am working on my websites and my marketing these days (see previous blog) and since I want to do some freelance writing, I was looking for my old blog at Sun. This was effectively the precursor to this independent self-hosted blog in the we-can-do-anythin-Sun-days. Amazingly it survived with me the transition to Oracle… But having left in 2012 they took it down. I guess my musings were not that interesting… I had fun with that blog though. It even once earned me an interesting exchange with our legal council. I cannot remember his name but he dressed up on “dress as a pirate day” – remember this was Sun – and is great guy. The entry was around acquisition rumours….. And if you want to find that blog you can! read on!

I wrote before about one of the greatest things on the information super highway, namely the Internet Archive. Their Wayback Machine has been indexing and storing snapshots of websites for many, many years. Look and behold they ran a few snapshots of my Oracle/Sun blog! You can see it here with all the entries…. We need to support archive.org!

New company site Futurica.be

As I have been a contractor for 3 years, but operating more independently now from companies, I felt the need to upgrade my marketing game! I had a logo designed and just launched a separate website for my company!

My new logo

For logo design I can recommend 48hourslogo.com. You can start a contest there where graphic designers send in proposals. I got more than 100! After some tweaking above you can see the result!

I played around to build a WordPress site like this one, but I decided I only needed a one page landing at the moment. I want to keep my blog here since I think the Bitstream has a small reputation now and I do not want to migrate everything and keep multiple blog sites. Keep it simple… Which WP is definitively not! I had a layout in mind with a menu that sticks to the top, but I could not find a simple, good template. I am also getting paranoid about things like Jetpack collecting user data and using data when I don’t want that!

Browsing the Mac app store I came across Sparkle. A lot of good reviews, reasonable in price and they claim to be the successor to iWeb! And made in Europe! Now that resonates with me. I had a lot of fun with iWeb and never understood why Apple discontinued the product. OK it is Mac-dependant, but my site took me less than 2 days…

Have a look at futurica.be and let me know what you think! I also published there a mind map I am using at the moment to track new tech I am interested in! And if you want to talk business let me know!

Tips on public speaking

At the VMware User Group NL conference we just had a vExpert lunch with Amy Lewis (@commsninja). She gave a great talk with tips on public speaking. One of the problems we touched upon is “imposter syndrome”. Joep Piscaer gave a separate talk about this, which I will link to when the video is published.

As I really love presenting, learned not to be nervous and do not suffer from imposter syndrome I felt it would be a good idea to list here the tips I mentioned during the discussion. These are really things I use daily and that are fundamental to me for public speaking, presenting, podcasting or whatever. I should probably put these golden nuggets in a presentation and sell it, but here you go for free:

  • Tell a story. This is something I twittered about at cloud expo last week and is very dear to me. Whatever it is you are presenting about, tell a story. A personal experience, a user story, even a complete analogy. I once attended a presentation about tech evolution where the speaker told a story about a medieval monastery! I still remember it today some odd 20 years later… I do not remember all the presentations where people where just going over all the bullet points on their slides… Note that obviously you do not just present slides made by your marketing department…
  • Be yourself. Be authentic. I think this also helps with imposter syndrome. If you are a techie, introvert guy, do not imitate Elvis on stage. Present from your strengths. Use whiteboard, explain (tell a story…). People will connect. I used the example of a company I used to work for (yes Novell, no one remembers…) where we would have US-based tech evangelists come over to present. They did great sessions – shows almost – that were welll received. When some European colleagues started imitating them it bumped. Because we do not have the same culture, so it was not accepted from a local. And the local guys were not the “guys from HQ”.
  • Present as if you are in the audience. This is the most important one for me. This is what helped me a ton. Unfortunately I do not remember where I picked it up. If you have to do a presentation, imagine that you are in the audience. Do you want to be entertained or do you want someone struggling through his speech? It will even help you feel empathy for yourself, which is very important because there are some very good chances that the audience exists of normal people like you that are also nervous about presenting sometimes! (Unless you are presenting to managers or vc… just kidding).

And as mentioned by Amy: practice, practice. I was lucky that through my hobby (astronomy) I started working as a volunteer in an observatory where they dropped me in front of groups visiting with every different background imaginable. So I was already presenting long before I got into tech.

Oh and most important, even for life itself… Use a little humour….

Let me know what you think and go out and present to the world!

Upgrading The Bitstream to use ssl.

It was long overdue, but now that I have to recertify as vExpert for 2019 and since I will be looking for new business opportunities, an upgrade to use ssl was long overdue. I host my blog at UnixSolutions, simply the best hoster I know in Belgium with the great support and options. Disclosure: I have a reseller account… so if you want to host there let me know … 😉

First the WordPress application I use for this blog itself: Unix Solutions uses a powerful, yet simple software management tool: Installatron. It includes a great portfolio of web apps, including ecommerce – ready websites! Once installed it is also very simple to take backups – even automatic ones. This came in handy later and it means my blog is safe without buying one of the professional plans from WordPress/Jetpack.

The Installatron management interface.

Unix Solutions supports a number of options for SSL configuration. I am not going into theory here, there are a lot of great resources for that. By default you can use a self-signed certificate, but that is obviously not going to roll for SSL encryption… When I asked they quickly reactivated support for Let’s Encrypt. I cannot give enough praise for an initiative like Let’s Encrypt. It is a free Certificate Authority. Where in the past you had to pay a lot of money to a CA like RSA, anyone can now secure their comms with their own certificate, free! The DirectAdmin interface at Unix Solutions makes it so simple, just fill out some fields, domain and subdomains and save! Presto and you get your certificate. You can even check automatic recertification!

The SSL config options.

After setting up SSL I applied the changes to my WordPress site as detailed here. I choose the second option of course, not to use a plugin but to edit config files to force rewrites from http to https and also for the admin interface. And then panic set in because my site would not load… I will spare you the details of everything I tried…. In the end I am not to proud to admit I went for a backup restore… I noticed that I could restore to the https version of the bitstream… and after a few minutes everything was working! You can see my second copy running in the first screenshot. And in good old IT fashion I am not exactly sure why! The backup option sure is great because you can configure it to make a backup before any WordPress upgrade, even plugin or theme updates.

And now the Bitstream is up and running again, ready for new blog posts…

Great new profile QR code in Linkedin app

Linkedin published a new version of their iOS app today and it has a feature that I am going to use *a lot* at meetings, VMUGs, conferences… I think it might even revitalise my use of Linkedin. It’s profile QR codes. I heard about it through Engadget.

Basically if you click the QR icon in the search bar in the main screen, it allows you to display a QR code with link to your profile that others can scan. Or you can scan other QR codes. Since Apple now has easy QR scanning in the camera app (just point camera at any QR code), this is a great tool that is going to save me a lot of business cards and scanning in other cards.

My Linkedin profile QR code

My Linkedin profile QR code

Of course you want to make sure to update your contact details and visibility, I added for instance Blue Medora’s product matrix….