The Most Productive Change I’ve Made to My Schedule in Years

When the pandemic and subsequent lockdown began, finding long stretches of uninterrupted time for programming was the biggest challenge I faced in trying to schedule my day around having a 3-year old at home and both of us parents needing to also work from home. Other tasks, such as answering emails, taking phone calls, reviewing reports, and analyzing data, are possible to get done in those random pockets of time that pop up throughout the day when my daughter just happens to be entertaining herself…. Continue reading

9/18/20

PageSpeed vs reCAPTCHA and YouTube: Will Google Ever Get on the Same Page?

With the Core Web Vitals Report now in Google Search Console, and an impending algorithm update coming, I decided it was time to revisit Detailed Image to see if there were some relatively easy “wins” when it came to improving our Google PageSpeed. With about 10 days of tweaks and changes, I was able to get most of our important pages to score 90 or above on mobile. Most of those pages were in the 20 – 70 range to start. A simple page like… Continue reading

9/2/20

Comments Disabled & Rethinking WordPress

This morning I received the email notification that WordPress had auto-upgraded. Lately, each upgrade has caused issues. This time my AMP pages were throwing 500 errors. In the process of debugging, I deactivated all of my plugins. Upon reactivation Akismet no longer works (you need to upgrade to a paid plan) and some of my other plugins appeared to have lost their settings. This was the last straw for me with WordPress. It’s wonderful software, and I’m committed to continuing using it as a publishing… Continue reading

9/2/20

Why We Don’t Use Video On Our Meeting Calls

From the NY Times article Why Zoom is Terrible: The problem is that the way the video images are digitally encoded and decoded, altered and adjusted, patched and synthesized introduces all kinds of artifacts: blocking, freezing, blurring, jerkiness and out-of-sync audio. These disruptions, some below our conscious awareness, confound perception and scramble subtle social cues. Our brains strain to fill in the gaps and make sense of the disorder, which makes us feel vaguely disturbed, uneasy and tired without quite knowing why. In the race… Continue reading

7/21/20

PHP Localbox – an easy way to test email on WampServer or XAMPP

A few weeks ago we automated a portion of our inventory management system involving kits that contain several individual items. For example, one of the things that now happens is that when a product goes out of stock, all of the kits that contain that item now also go out of stock. Previously we managed this manually. Sometimes we’d mark the kit out of stock, sometimes we’d substitute a different product in, other times we’d ship a portion of the kit to customers and then… Continue reading

7/14/20

Our Socially Distanced Office Space

When this pandemic began, one of the first things that we did was to require that all non-warehouse staff work from home. As time went on, and as New York has loosened its restrictions, we’ve moved all of the staff back to the warehouse and us owners have resumed our regular rotating schedule. Even with our rotating schedule, our office wasn’t quite spaced out well enough to provide everyone a socially distanced 6 ft between desks. Part of the problem is that when we built… Continue reading

7/7/20

Our Warehouse Package Cutoff System Wasn’t Designed For This, But It Is Saving Us Right Now

Every once in a while you win one by accident. About a year and a half ago I wrote a post A New Tool for Managing Busy Warehouse Days where I described a system that we built for handling volume spikes in our warehouse, both planned and unplanned. From that post: On our back-end we’re able to set a package cutoff for any upcoming shipping day. We use historical data along with staffing information to aid us in picking the number. Once our shipping queue… Continue reading

5/28/20

One Surprising Thing I Didn’t Anticipate When This Pandemic Began

Over the years we’ve built strong relationships with the manufacturers of the products that we carry. We work with a lot of great companies. So I guess it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that many of them pivoted to manufacturing PPE, or that as one of their better customers we’d be on the short list of companies to get first access to these products. The end result has been that we’ve been able to have a steady stock of gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, and… Continue reading

5/22/20

Good Remote Work Habits Start in the Office

Much of the world has been forced into unexpectedly working from home over the past month. Unsurprisingly, there’s no shortage of stories about how difficult it is. There’s also no shortage of articles about the tools and techniques that you need to use to make it work. “You just need Zoom and Slack and everything will work out great!” We’re no stranger to remote work. We set our company up as a hybrid from the start, with each of us having the ability to work… Continue reading

4/21/20

Five Books I’m Reading During This Pandemic

As soon as the magnitude of this crisis became clear, my reading interests seemed to change. There were books that I had read (or started to read in one case), that I thought could help shed some light on what we’re going through. Because as much as we think of this time as unique, crisis and pandemic have been a constant throughout history. I also think that there’s a healthy limit to how much news one can consume before it becomes detrimental. Rather than refreshing… Continue reading

4/15/20