OmniPlan released

As much as it’s possible to love people you’ve never met, I love the folks at “The Omni Group”:http://www.omnigroup.com. They make quite simply the best, most elegant software for my mac. I spend a good portion of my day working in OmniGraffle Pro, their amazingly powerful and flexible diagramming program. Calling it a diagramming program is selling it very short, mind you; I do all my initial layout and design work in it too.

Anyhoo, the fine folks responsible for OmniOutliner, and OmniGraffle have seen fit to fill the one major hole left for mac users: project management. There are of course a number of decent PM packages available for the mac; “daylite”:http://www.marketcircle.com/daylite/index.html looks particularly adept. But it requires a substantial change to my working habits. If I’ve learned anything in running my business, it’s that I’m better off finding tools that adapt to me, vs the other way round.

That’s why I’m so stoked about OmniPlan. It’s a very familiar interface. Everything seems to be just where I expect it to be.

Of course, it’s a brand new release, so there are a number of caveats. Not the least of which is that there’s no help material to speak of. It’s up to you to figure out how this thing works. Which to me and my ever decreasing attention span says “wait until someone else figures it out and posts some examples”. Still, I’m suitably stoked.

RELIEF! The Blog Studio redesigned (again)

I’ve redesigned “theblogstudio.com”:http://www.theblogstudio.com again. That may have been the shortest lived design of my career!

In this case, I’ve stripped the design back to its very essense. It’s an exercise in raw minimalism. And it will continue to evolve.

Like Darth Vader, I knew this design had some good in it. But I had to dig right down to the heart of it to find that good. Now that I have, I’ll continue to build on it as necessary to meet our ever changing goals.

I’ll make short posts like this when the design has been updated, so that those of you reading this via RSS can check in to see what’s up.

My 'Hey I'm back!' post, version 2234

So! I’m back. I’m not going to give any of the lame ass excuses you’ve heard so many times before. Suffice it to say, lots happening. Almost all of it good, but some of it also painful.

Here’s a point form update

*The Blog Studio redesign finally launched last week.* Getting this thing up was like pulling teeth. Designing for yourself is always hard. This time felt particularly difficult. I had a number of ideas I wanted to explore, and that was the motivating factor in the decision to redesign. Our previous site was very well received; having been featured on most of the gallery sites. So I put that design aside with some trepidation.

It’s important to me that The Blog Studio site be a testing ground for ideas. I want to know whether a particular way of highlighting content or displaying comments or what-have-you is going to work before trying it on a client’s site. So this version of the site is set up to allow for greater experimentation.

We’ve also moved from Textpattern to Expression Engine. I love EE. It’s power and flexibility is achieved in a way that’s both elegant and logical. It’s a treat to use.

From a visual standpoint, the site is a big departure from our previous design. It’s closer in spirit to the site that predated the last generation (that site used a close up of a painting for the header). I’ll be honest, I’m not fully satisfied with it, and will be making changes here and there, probably until I just redo the thing. But maybe that’s a good thing; it will keep me involved in trying new things, experimenting, and otherwise messing things up.

*The business itself is going quite strongly.* We’ve done a whole lot of learning, and are a lot wiser (and just a little battle scarred). I’ll write up what I’ve learned to date in later posts.

It feels like the business is getting ready to go to another level; things are coming together internally. I’m learning to wear different hats with a bit more ease – it’s still a fairly horrid, grinding lurch to switch from marketing, strategy and management to design or code – but I’m getting better at it.

*My mind has been very full* for some time now. I’ve been trying various things to keep it from overflowing. I find that nothing beats simply being present in the moment to bring a sense of peace and well-being, even in dark times.

That fullness has been the reason for my recent retreat from blogging. I simply haven’t wanted to let any new ideas in. I’ve had nothing to say. I’d have been terrible to have a party, these past few months. I’ve been spending a lot of brain cycles on more inward facing stuff.

After a few months of that though, I’m craving ideas and discourse. I’m excited to do some blogging again – a feeling I haven’t had in months. I’m looking forward to sharing some of the lessons I’ve learned so far running a design firm, and possibly share some more insights into what’s going on inside as well as outside. It’s an interesting trip; one I’m sure I’m not taking alone.