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Just rambling

Pretty Press gives you that Ghost-like feel

PrettyPress is cool, if you’re like me and really like that Ghost blog editor but can’t or don’t want to run that software on your server.

It has all the typical niceties associated with Markdown and the split-view live preview. It’s not quite as fast, but it’s perfectly serviceable. While there is, of course, nothing wrong with using Markdown via the Jetpack implementation, in a standard text screen, it’s rather satisfying to have the immediate feedback of your formatting visually available to you.

The split view editor is an immediately intuitive view

Ultimately though, it hasn’t been updated since 2014, Markdown purists are likely to dislike the overblown editor, in favor of a nice, clean, blank, text area. It also lacks any kind of image upload that doesn’t involve leaving the Markdown editor, and no (apparent) way to add tags, categories, featured images, or other WordPress metadata/features.

And with the inline Front-end Editor making it’s way into core (and available now if you want it), which is even simpler for those looking for a live preview, I don’t really see this going far. Still cool tho.

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justaleafPretty Press gives you that Ghost-like feel

WordPress development is dying thanks to Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and other DIY site tools


I’ve been encountering this a lot the last few years, and for this past year I was even rather demoralized by it. But upon further thinking, I’ve realized just how silly this idea is.

When I started out as an independent consultant, at the ripe old age of 18, people hired me to turn their iPhoto collections into slideshows. In some cases, they hired me only because they didn’t know how to choose music and burn the slideshow to a DVD.

This is an Apple product. It doesn’t get simpler than this. And people were paying me money to do it.

So it’s time for a reality check. There are still a lot of people out there that don’t have time, nor desire, to figure this out:


And that’s not going to change.


Am I saying people are stupid? No, not by a long shot. I’m saying they don’t want to learn how to do things that don’t pertain to their immediate life’s goals and needs. A website is “another thing” that they don’t want to have to learn to master. Even in the context of these simpler tools. This still represents hours and days of headache for them because they don’t have a foundation for which to understand how to properly build a website in the first place.


I’m going to back up for a second and say that no, this is not going to steal away your work. Because the people who need your work, aren’t from the DIY camp!


So we should just keep building in WordPress, right?

Only if that’s what you feel is best.


I have delivered multiple sites now in Weebly and Wix (though I’m honestly not too impressed with Squarespace) despite being a fully capable WordPress developer (with 12 years of experience). Why would I do this? Well, surprise, Weebly and Wix are easy to use! And I can make simple, low-end websites, that look beautiful, and are still custom, with much less time investment.

Not only that, but some users will find that the publishing workflow in these services is far more to their liking that WordPress. Why go through the trouble of teaching a client how to use WordPress, hacking roles with plugins to limit their backend options for sanity, and constantly responding to fires when users try to upgrade their installations without telling you… when you could avoid most or all of that hassle with one of these services? It’s easier for everyone.


Conclusion: Use the right tool for the job. The DIY site builders are tools.

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justaleafWordPress development is dying thanks to Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and other DIY site tools

Progress update –, Google Keep, and Workflowy

My new system is definitely working, but it will take some tweaking before I know if I can keep this particularly configuration of tools.



Right now, I’m working with a dual-screen setup, so I put the above tools on my secondary screen, and my current work/task on my main screen. My information flow and control goes something like:

  • Incoming calls, emails, texts, or my own ideas/chores go directly in to Any.Do if they do not require any thought to process or if they are tasks I can complete quickly. Everything else, goes into Google Keep to be sorted and processed.
  • Next, I configure my task list for each day on Any.Do, decide when to do my Combos, and review my more detailed project overview in Workflowy.
  • Throughout the day, as I approach my tasks, anything that I cannot do in one stroke is broken down into smaller tasks and any relevant information over in Workflowy to keep my Task Manager free of clutter.
  • And to prevent my personal progress on goals from falling by the wayside, I’ve adopted my own version of Seinfeld’s “Don’t Break the Chain” philosophy on daily recurring tasks called “Combos”. More on this in another post.

Thankfully, Any.Do and Google Keep both allow me to set reminders that will pop up on my various devices throughout the day and week. While this proves helpful, I admit that receiving reminders from Keep, Any.Do, and Google Calendar every day is not the most coherent way I could be processing information.


What next?

I’m looking for ways to streamline my process, reduce actions against my organization system so I can put more time into important tasks. I’ll be looking for the best way to handle reminders, detailed project tasks and delegations, and tasks that involve slow communication methods (like email) that don’t butt in to my flow while trying to be productive.

Workflowy, while very impressive, remains my most cumbersome piece in the system (rightfully so, as it is handling the most cumbersome type of data).

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justaleafProgress update –, Google Keep, and Workflowy


I got an email today from the innovative team working on, a multiplatform task/reminder system that has been around for a few years now. And since their Android debut, they’ve had my attention.

But since then we grew apart, and until today, I hadn’t even pondered what they were up to. But with the skillful administration of puppy faces, you can compel even hardened nerds to spin your software again, so I thought I’d put together a quick blog for why I haven’t been using, and why I’m not going to switch right now.



First off: is looking great on the desktop, which is where I’m going to be offering these criticisms from. My Phone (Android, Moto X) and my tablet (iPad Air 2) are amazing platforms that keep me productive in every environment my daily life leads me through, but most of my productivity occurs on my Desktop or Chromebook. So for me, would need to be compelling for this lifestyle, and extend to be a productive satellite when I’m away from my workhorses… not the other way around.



Natural language scheduling is, by far, my most used feature on any planning system I have used. When I type, or speak, “at 5pm” or “tomorrow afternoon”, I expect the task to be committed to a scheduled reminder. Or else I’m needing to take more than one action to enter a task item.





I was twice disappointed to find that simple URLs were not made live in my task item text, and even long-form URLs with http:// were not converted in the notes. For us productivity nerds, clickable links are a life-blood that tie things together! I can link to emails, calendar items, client comments on a website, and more… and without this feature, my productivity system loses a limb.


But on the other-hand






Yes! #hashtags are a big deal to my workflow, and many task search implementations simply ignore the crunch sign! I love that this search let’s me include symbols so I can include text-based labeling for future searches.



2015-05-08 13_47_57-Any.doDrag, and Drive, and Dropbox support, oh my! You really are plucking at my heart strings with those. You would be amazed to see that this feature isn’t even available in some competing (or similar) software solutions that may or may not be made by the same brands behind these storage services :).


First (Second?) blush thoughts

I love and it’s features. The quick-add feature on my other devices is great, it’s always been beautiful and simple to use, and the underlying support for GTD styled planning is a gem for those who have to force this philosophy on other planning apps/services.

Really what it comes down to me, when I stopped using, and why I can’t return now, is speed and efficiency.

If you want to win me over turn this:

Pick up the kids at 5:30pm and go shopping





Enter once, profit!


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How I quit smoking with no cravings for 66 days

On February 11th, 2015, I quit smoking and had a most unusual experience. Despite many other failed quit attempts, this time, I had no cigarette cravings at all.

Normally, when I tried to quit smoking, the withdrawal symptoms went something like this:

  • Day 1-3
    • Irritable
    • Craving caffeine and nicotine
  • Day 3-5
    • Starting to say things I don’t mean, bargaining for cigarettes
    • Voracious appetite begins (eating 3x or greater my usual diet)
    • Extreme dependence on caffeine (usually coke or coffee)
    • BMs suffer, highly irregular
  • Day 4-10
    • Frantic attempts to acquire smokes, including searching cars and couches for change and walking to a store in the middle of the night
    • Migraines
    • Claustrophobia / Nausea
    • Constant Anxiety and Nervousness
    • Depression / Despair

However, when I quit this time, on February 11th, 2015, I experienced no cravings at all from day 1, onwards. The experience was not pleasant, of course, I did have withdrawals. But they were different.

  • Day 2-5
    • Mild Nausea / Vertigo
    • Feelings of overwhelm / anxiety
    • Anti-social
    • Headaches

My withdrawals came on quickly. And they were over quickly. I did not experience my most dreaded symptoms (voracious eating and weight gain, Claustrophobia, agitation / anger).

So, what can I say accounted for this change? The only change in lifestyle, started the previous late September when I started taking Plexus Slim, daily, without exception. I had taken, and enjoyed, the product previously, which had resulted in some very positive changes in my health, but I had not been consistent.

After a couple months, cigarettes literally started tasting bad to me. Why would this happen? I don’t know… but I do know that the Plexus Slim product “… helps keep blood sugar, cholesterol and lipids at healthy levels”, according to the product’s description.

Apparently, this balance in blood sugar had an impact on the way my body was doing things. My other addiction, caffeine (Coke and Coffee), also shifted. While I still enjoy those, I don’t consume them in the same quantities I used to. Nor can I… most of the time, a single glass, or less, is all I feel the need to consume.

How I supported my body during the quitting phase:

Please note, I am not a doctor and I have no authority to suggest that you take these products for any other reason than they are advertised for. Further, you may wish to ask your doctor before consuming them if you are concerned about their effect on your body. Do not contact me for health/medical advice.

Week 1:
I chose to increase my intake of Plexus Slim, by double (2 packets), the first week that I was quitting. Since my body would be reacting, likely harshly, to the difference in chemical balance, I wanted to make as much effort to balance that swing as possible.

In addition, I took the X Factor multivitamin from Plexus during this time as well (2 per day), to further insure that my body had as many nutrients as I could afford it.

Week 2:
During the second week (and onward), I reduced my intake of the Plexus Slim back down to 1 packet per day, continued the X Factor at the recommended dosage, and added ProBio 5 and Bio Cleanse to my regiment.

I did this because, historically, I have relied on cigarettes to keep me “regular”, and while quitting, I frequently would get very backed up. And although I did get backed up during Week 1, I found that the ProBio 5 and Bio Cleanse really augmented my body’s natural healing process, as I felt better and became completely regular without requiring Caffeine or Nicotine to “make things happen”.


So here I am, on Day 66, typing this all up, in the hopes that someone out there, who was struggling like I did, might be inspired to try again. To aid their body’s effort to heal itself and recover from the addiction of smoking, for their sake, and for the sake of their loved ones.

As you can imagine, everyone is very glad that I quit smoking… not the least of which, my gorgeous girlfriend!

Please send this page/video to anyone who you think could benefit. You can contact me on Facebook if you have questions (but don’t ask me to convince someone to try this! It has to be their decision), and all the products mentioned in this post are available at my storefront for Plexus, with a 60 Day Money-back guarantee. I greatly recommend purchasing as “preferred”. It’s not hard to deactivate your subscription, and after the first few months, the price goes all the way down to near wholesale prices!

If you are unable to take the product for longer than the guaranteed 60 days, I suggest taking the Slim for at least 2 weeks prior to quitting, to give your body time to adjust. I took it for about 3-4 months prior.

To the smokers, I say this: If in 60 days, you aren’t happily smoke free, get your money back and buy two months of cigarettes instead. You can’t lose anything, by trying this out.

Click here to try Plexus Slim


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justaleafHow I quit smoking with no cravings for 66 days

2 Weeks with Chrome OS

In continuing with my experience report, regarding Chrome OS, I’m making an update with a general impression 2 weeks later.

It’s actually been a bit longer than two weeks since I first booted up my Chromebook. To be perfectly honest, in that time I have had no occasion to boot up my Windows Desktop, and my iPad usage and dropped significantly as well. I find my Android Phone and Chromebook to be my two most used tools, at present.


I have been relying primarily on Google Hangouts and Gmail, as I always have, so this part is easy. I get my SMS messages through Hangouts as well, so everything is quite centralized for me.

Screenshot 2015-02-06 at 9.19.51 AM

I have done video Hangouts with several people, including multiple Hangouts on Air sessions and have not experienced any lag on the $260 ASUS Chromebook. At this pricepoint, such performance in live video is fairly impressive, as my Mother’s All-in-One Windows HP demonstrated a worse experience, with (of course), much more generous computing power available to it.

I do frequently find myself on Facebook for Messaging as well, which has proven lag free on the Chromebook. Overall, my communication habits have been unaffected, and if anything, slightly more pleasant.

Note: The state of Skype on Chromebook is still pending proper resolution. There are options, but I assume this will take care of itself in time. I don’t care much for Skype, so it’s not impacting me much.


Screenshot 2015-02-06 at 8.40.38 AMThis can be a tricky one, as some folks rely particularly strongly, on specific apps for Office, Collaboration, and Task Management. As long as you are willing to modify your habits, this is not a problem on a Chromebook, but don’t expect to be able to do things the way you’ve always done, on a Chrome OS device, if you were not accustomed to doing everything in the Chrome browser in the first place.

Personally, I rely on a combination of Google Calendar, Keep, Now, Trello, and Drive. I find that this approach suits my lifestyle and does not slow me down in any way. It is consistent across my 3 primary devices (Android Phone, Chromebook, and iPad), so it is very holistic and accessible.

Other productivity apps like Workflowy, Evernote, Wunderlist, and more provide a wide variety of options for your lifestyle. Essentially, this is one of the strongest aspects of the mobile experience right now, across all devices.


For me, work entails Graphic Design, Programming, file management, training videos, and occasionally creating videos.

Screenshot 2015-02-06 at 8.53.39 AM

On the Graphic Design front, things are workable, but not really up to snuff. This will change when Streaming Photoshop becomes available for public consumption, but for the time being I am limited to a few apps. Pixlr, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to work on my Chromebook, which is my preferred web photo editor. Gimp runs, via rollApp, and performs reasonably. It’s good in a pinch, but lackluster for heavy use as it can be a bit laggy and interferes with the Chromebook’s normal keyboard shortcuts. DeviantArt’s Muro, and PicMonkey are also fairly decent tools.

Programming is quickly coming to speed, at least for Web Development, thanks to the ever increasing functionality of Web-IDE solutions like,,, and more. is my favorite of the bunch at present, providing me with configurable VPS options (including free boxes for sandbox coding), a working and quick terminal (that isn’t very limited), and easy configuration for collaboration and instant environment setups (Ruby on Rails, good to go!) It’s difficult to say whether or not these solutions are ready for the professional web developer at large, but I think they are certainly contender worthy at this point, and eventually, I agree with Codenvy’s founder, that they will surpass Desktop solutions in pretty much every regard.

File Management is the easy one. Of course efficiency of moving large files is based largely on your internet speed, but the easy of sharing and organizing through Google Drive and Dropbox is just a joy at this point. Having well over a terabyte of space at my disposal, I have no worries when it comes to storing data or sharing it with others. Drive allows me to link people to files, collaborate with them, or attach massive files to emails far more quickly than I could do any of these things on a Desktop machine (presuming Drive is not being used there).

Video Editing and Training Videos. This is a mixed bag that is mostly rough. When it comes to video recording and editing, Youtube is really the best thing happening, but it is minimally effective in regards to video professionalism. You can get basic recording, editing, and screencasting happening here, but don’t expect the out of programs like Camtasia. Chromebook just isn’t there. And due to limited space, when working with video, you are streaming that data constantly, so the process isn’t very fluid (yet). Honestly, for the time being, I am still recording and editing my videos on my iPad, which as far as a mobile device is concerned, performs quite well for my purposes.


That’s it for this round of Chromebook impressions. So far I’m quite happy with my low-power, high-battery-life solution. I feel more mobile, less cluttered, and generally enjoy using it. And I still don’t regret selling my Windows laptop!

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justaleaf2 Weeks with Chrome OS

Chrome OS and Why You’re Wrong About It

Ok, admittedly that title might sound aggressive… but I meant it sincerely. I have been surprised to see just how many people are staring down the Chrome OS “shortcomings” without being able to recognize it’s boons.

Chrome OS

I think it takes a moment to realize what a Chrome OS device is, and what it is not.

Obviously, it is not a Windows, OS X, or desktop Linux deployment (practically speaking), and so we can obviously remove the expectations that we have about those technologies from our assessment. Don’t buy a pear and be insulted that doesn’t taste like an Orange.

It is also not “just a Chrome session”, strictly speaking. That is the core, but you also have the excellent notification center (which is making it’s way onto other operating systems now thankfully), more offline support for web apps, Google Goodies like bonus storage or LTE connectivity, a great Google Drive file browser (which is benefiting from a powerful new API that could make it one of the coolest storage browsers out there), and the wonderful low-power high-performance philosophy that makes these devices even marketable.

It sells Chrome, and Google’s vision of computing, short when you isolate a Chromebook to what’s actually, physically, on that device. While that may seem objectively reasonable to most of us, it’s really not.

I sold my powerful ROG ASUS Gaming  Laptop and bought a Chromebook for $275.


I am a web developer, computer enthusiasts, musician, and hobbyist gamer and artist. And I just sold my strongest computer for the weakest laptop I’ve purchased (comparatively).

Am I stupid? Maybe.

I’m admittedly impulsive and make decisions very quickly and sometimes destructively. So let me be clear: I did not sell my laptop and buy a Chromebook because the latter is a better computer.

I did it because I wanted to make a lifestyle change. Objections like “You can’t run Office or the Adobe Suites”, “There are no strong video or audio editors”, “You can’t play AAA video games” etc… these are statements about how you like to compute. They are not criticisms of the Chrome OS technology.

Similarly, “Make sure to check if you can run Linux on the Chromebook you’re looking at”, “Remote Desktop to a Windows Machine so you can actually be functional”, “Use Crouton to get Ubuntu running so it’s not useless” are workarounds to make a Chromebook something it’s not (go right ahead, install Linux. This is good cheap hardware to use how you wish. But don’t use that in a discussion about Chromebooks and their place in the market).

There is a core change in how we are using computers as it relates to the cloud infrastructure (placing power on the server side, instead of the userside) that are making Tablets, Phones, and Chromebooks increasingly more practical and capable by the day. Soon, the mighty Photoshop will be available on most devices, for instance.

Low-cost machines, long battery-life, with rapid boot times, that do not store your private data directly and are easily replaceable. This fits the mobile lifestyle while not being financially prohibitive. My data is never at risk to being stolen (I can even remove access from a Chromebook to my account, remotely), it’s accessible on my Phone, Chromebook, Desktop, or iPad, and I no longer have to modify my habits between devices since apps like Google Drive are largely becoming accessible across all of them.

I still have a Windows Desktop in my room, and I do use Remote Desktop with it for some things (mostly just the convenience of not going up to my room, lately), and I’m planning to grab a flexible VPS to SSH into for more serious development, once I need it.

Anyway… enough theory. I plan to blog every so often about my change in computing habits. So if you’ve been eyeballing the Chromebooks, but aren’t sure about how to practically live with one… stay tuned!

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justaleafChrome OS and Why You’re Wrong About It

My SMS contacts are numbers with no names!

I recently picked up the new Moto X from my local AT&T store, and so far, I’m extremely happy with the phone. But one troubling thing I found upon the first week of use was that none of my SMS messages had Names/contacts along with them. As a result, I didn’t know who was texting me!

This may not fix it for everyone, but in my own case, the problem was solved with a simple check box. By default, I found, that my Moto X on the latest Android version (KitKat) was not actually syncing all of my contact information.

To fix the problem I did the following (after much fumbling around on my Phone and Google Search):

First go to your “Settings” app, in the App Browser, and scroll down to “Accounts”. Tap on your google account(s) and then (here is the sneaky bit) tap on the account again on the next screen.


Then scroll down and find “Contacts” and turn on Sync. Why this isn’t on by default is beyond me, but I’ve seen a number of people complaining about it online.



Lastly, make sure that you sign out of your google account and SMS app (or just restart the phone after the sync is complete. This solved the problem for me… Hopefully this information will help someone else.

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justaleafMy SMS contacts are numbers with no names!