On 5th August 2004, I wrote:
"99% of what I see is forgotten. 99% of what I think remains locked inside me. 99% of my words are lost within a short while of them being spoken. "Silence is Golden" but there may be a few of those words that are worth sharing. Projects and lists and thoughts jotted down but incomplete; they could just be useful to someone. A thought - a trigger - a reminder. So I'm going to post them here. Hey - I might look back and they might be useful to me at some time!"
My first blog article - 9 years ago. And this is article number 4000!
Most of what I see is still forgotten. Most of what I think remains as just thoughts. And most of what I say quickly fades away. But over the years on a daily basis, I've found something that's not to be lost. A technical tip ... an amusing incident ... a pretty picture ... something of interest to the town of Melksham. So that's 4000 of what I think are the more useful thoughts and tips and pictures that haven't been completely lost.
Nine years ago ... things were very different. We were a "mom and pop" outfit, training from home that had opened up quietly on the outskirts of Melksham. Our involvement in things local was minimal, although we did (already) have delegates visiting the town, staying locally, and spending their money not only on our courses, but also at the hotels / B&Bs / pubs / restaurants.
Over the years, I've become involved in a number of local issues, and talked about them (more or less) here:
• There's the whole sorry business of Melksham loosing its trains in 2006 and the fight to get an appropriate service back - see [here]
for an archive of those articles.
• As we found the available rooms for our delegates in Melksham shrinking from flood to drought, we took over one of the acommodation providers and refurbished it as Well House Manor - see [here]
for project diary articles.
• Wiltshire Council is replacing some eight (time expired) local facilities with a new single site campus, and after letting myself get involved in some of the early activity / "persuading" them it should be in the town not on a field outside, I find myself on their advisory board - see [here]
for articles on that ongoing project.
• The local Federation of Small Businesses tore itself apart (see [here]
and still has minimal local activity); although I remain a member, Lisa and I are now very much involved with the Chamber of Commerce, and indeed I'm the President at the moment. The Chamber too is going through the pains of apathy and restucture, but coming out of those now, and the constitution is such that the Chamber can go from strength to strength in the town - see [here]
• Programming languages such as Lua and Ruby have been added to our range, and we continue to review what we offer. We've taken the decision to remove Java from the list of languages that we teach (too diverse in its uses for us to cover any of them well), and there's a feed of general information on our courses and organisation [here]
• A significant number of delegates now come to us never having programmed before
, and we've added an extra day on the front of all of our introduction to Xxxxx (where Xxxxx is a language) entitled "Learning to program in Xxxxx" to help and encourage such delegates. See [here]
for related articles.
• We're no longer just "Mom and Pop". We have the most fantastic team of staff at Well House Manor; I can't speak highly enough of them. Part of that's just good luck that we've found the right people, but part of it too is from learning, at times the hard way. Posting a lot about staff could impinge on their privacy, so lack of a lot of posts in this area isn't any lack of caring on my part - what I have
posted is [here]
• Again - privacy of children - few posts about becoming grandparents, or the forthcoming wedding ... but we're proud (grand)parents!
• There's no such issue about the cat (who we had in 2004) and the dogs (who have been with us for 3 years and one year) - see [here]
Looking forward, will I get to article number 8000? Somehow, I doubt it.
There will probably be some wobbles and diversions along the way, though the strategic direction and goals are clear.
The Blog has changed from a daily read for a group of people into a mechanism for feeding updated material onto the web site. It's proved its value many times over during courses as I can say "I've done that before / had that question before" during courses, and I can pull up the answer in my material on the screen, go through each group / individual's need. That started very early indeed - my 158th article MySQL - Join v Left Join
, and had carried right through 3999 - yesterday - Putting on a brave face when your backend is giving trouble
. And I'm sure that feed will continue. It's a useful mechanism for entering data, and we've now got a huge investment in catergorising it, which works reasonably well. But there will be scope for improvement. Continual logging - via Facebook, Twitter, have replaced the primary function of a blog - although tweeting / providing links below a headline helpd reach a more tuned audience.
Where will be be in another 9 years? I don't know. I would not have predicted much of what I've written about above 9 years ago. And I suspect Lisa didn't expect 4000 articles when she suggested a blog. There will be more twists and turns along the way, but we love it here in Melksham, we're committed to the town, and we look forward to many more happy years here. It's in my nature to get involved in things I'm interested in - sometimes to the degree of obsession and leaving other things that I'm supposed to be doing more alone than I should, to the frustration of those around me. But that's probably not a story for article 4000.
In the immediate future, I have what looks like a busy schedule - courses to give (booked or confirmations expected) up to May, a hotel with good occupany each week through February, the PHP Zend framework to carry on learning, and the "micro" and "spectrum" environments too for a major customer. Rail meetings all over the place (where I now have more knowledge than most rail users, even though I don't commute every day) ... Keep watching, keep following, keep finding us crop up in all sorts of places. We're here to stay, and we'll still be here - developed and in some form - in 2022. And - an invite to old friends from however far back - do come and stay. [hotel web site]
- with past delegates getting delegate rate. And bring your technical questions - I'll always be happy to talk tech if I'm around!
Illustrations - Well House Manor, and a part of our team - apologies to Heather, Phil and Lisa who weren't in shot here! (written 2013-02-09)
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articlesG905 - Well House Consultants - Blogging and Blog Administration 
First Jottings - (2004-08-05) 
Blog v Forum - (2004-08-07) 
Wanted: More hours in the day - (2004-08-18) 
Too technical? - (2004-12-05) 
A comment on comments - (2004-12-09) 
Blogs come of age - (2005-01-14) 
Who am I? - (2005-01-21) 
The confidence to allow public comments - (2005-02-06) 
Feedback as lifeblood - (2005-02-28) 
I'm not blogging it - (2005-03-14) 
Chicken soup without the religion - (2005-06-26) 
Moderating wiki, blog, and forum contributions - (2005-07-26) 
Horse's Mouth is a year old - (2005-08-07) 
Reading a news or blog feed (RSS) in your PHP page - (2005-08-12) 
Caching an XML feed - (2005-08-26) 
Comment, please! - (2005-11-28) 
Both ends of the animal - (2006-04-05) 
Making pages clearer - easy Disability Discrimination Act Compliance - (2006-09-23) 
One Thousand Posts and still going strong - (2006-12-18) 
In answer to 'am I glad I started a blog' ... - (2007-02-12) 
A Fresh horse - (2007-05-24) 
From spam to mod_alias - finding resources - (2009-01-05) 
2000th article - Remember the background and basics - (2009-01-18) 
Copy writing - allowing for the cut - (2009-05-21) 
Four aspects - Chamber, Transport, Courses and Hotel - (2009-10-11) 
Blogging accuracy - open invitation for any corrections - (2009-11-29) 
Microblogging services - Plurk, Twitter, Jaiku and more - (2010-01-05) 
Going off at a tangent, for a ramble - (2010-05-04) 
Where have all the bloggers gone? - (2010-06-24) 
The legal considerations of your web presence - revisited - (2010-10-26) 
Twitter - the special use of @ # and http: in tweets - (2011-02-09) 
How to add a customised twitter feed to your site - (2011-02-27) 
Links for social media, microblogs and business networking - (2011-03-20) 
Microblogging - what I should have tweeted in the last 48 hours - (2011-11-10) 
The five oldest blogs and the horses mouth - (2012-06-09) 
Has your Twitter feed stopped working? Switching to their new API - (2013-06-23) 
The Horse is back! - (2014-09-15) 
Moderation - and the tendency to over-moderate - (2015-11-02) 
The technical article feed continues - personal updates more proactive on Facebook now! - (2016-10-30)
Some other Articles
Annual Accounts - a big job for a small businessWeb and console - same principle, same code - Ruby exampleImages of Melksham you havent seen beforeHelping search engines with appropriate 400 error codes9 years, and 4000 articles onHandling failures / absences of your backend server nicelyTravelogue - from the Netherlands to London via Hook and HarwichServlet v JSP (Java Server Page). What is the difference?Tips on Tomcat - moving applications around Onward from Brussels