Mid-Year Review: 2013 Goals

My goals for 2013 were posted at the end of last year. Instead of waiting until the end of this year, I wanted to share the progress towards meeting those goals. Some are going better than others to say the least. With a few course corrections, hopefully I can get back on track.

Blog Redesign

As mentioned back in February (Thoughts from the CyberScorpion.com Redesign), this blog was redesigned. I wanted to go beyond using / modifying pre-made themes. Creating my own theme helped me further understand how WordPress functions.

Additional time also went into customizing other aspects of the blog. The Tag Cloud feature, for example, was replaced with the "Filter Posts by Keyword" link. I think this change makes the website look cleaner. Plus visitors can now see all the tags used. The filter by keyword page also provided the chance to experiment with Page Templates.

About Page

Another goal was to update the blog's About page. A draft was written a while back, I just couldn't find the time to complete the editing process. It's finally done, but I want to include more. You want to hear more about me right? That's why I'm adding another section or perhaps a separate page dedicated to the options for contacting me.

Of course, you can already contact me about a blog post in that post's comments section. Plus my Twitter account is referenced near the top of the page. However, I wanted to expand a little on how to best reach me.

Database and Coding Practices

Since mysql_ functions have been officially depreciated, I needed to select a different database API. After exploring alternates and comparing differences, I've switched to MySQLi. Note that I don't really have any good reasons for choosing MySQLi over PDO.

I'm also working through a PHP / MySQL book that was purchased a while back. My goal is to learn as much as I can about the languages. The problem is that it's difficult to find time to read with all of my other commitments.

To supplement my knowledge of PHP, MySQL, and other development topics, I've spent more time on the PHPFreaks discussion forum. My goal is to spend a half hour to an hour per day looking through posts and helping where I can.

As an added bonus of being more involved with PHPFreaks, I was recently promoted to Guru on the forum. It was quite the happy surprise. :-)

Website Articles

Now my goals related to reading more articles isn't going so well. I've scanned through an extra article here and there. But, for the most part, I've fallen into the same old habit of looking for articles when I need something. That doesn't mean I want to stop trying. There's value in knowing something before the knowledge is actually needed. So I'm going to continue working online research into my schedule.

Next Steps

Now, I've already mentioned the difficulty of getting some things done. It can be a struggle finding time to enhance the blog, research new solutions, etc. I'm still trying to strike that balance of having a full-time job, maintaining the blog, and fulfilling my personal responsibilities.

I've been writing blog posts on a weekly basis for nearly three years. Weekly posts have been perfect for the most part. It gives me a few days to write the post, a few days to edit, and a few days to edit some more. However, there have been times where one week doesn't cut it. This is especially true when there's a holiday or some personal commitment.

To help remove some of the pressure, I'm planning to post something every other week. This will hopefully provide the necessary time off to build new features for the blog, finish some personal projects that I've put off, etc. Having an extra week also increases the chance I'll write some of those more complicated topics in my to-do list.

Hopefully you understand my need to cut back. If you have any thoughts, please let me know in the comments section below.

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