Happy New Year 2015!

Happy New Year 2015

A happy new year to all the readers of my blog. May 2015 be a successful and happy year bringing you and your family good health and a lot of happiness!

2014 – Year in Review

A year ago, I posted my 2013 year in review. Back then I set some personal goals and I must admit that I managed to miss most of them! (Note to self: Revisit year in review posts during the year).

However, I am glad that I managed to keep at least a few of them and progressed on several of them.

Although we didn’t visit the US and Canada this year due to a sudden change in plans, Ashwina and I made a visit to Cornwall and Ireland as well as another visit to the Tower of London. Both visits remained undocumented on this blog because I was never able to find the time to do so. I believe that I’ve also managed to eat a bit healthier in spite of my crazy work hours. Although, I still need to get down to some serious exercising! At least, that’s what the doctor advised…

On the WordPress front, I had hoped to release premium versions of both Contextual Related Posts and Top 10. However, with my day job as an investment banker stealing most of my time over the past 12 months, this wish remained unfulfilled.

On the positive side, I successfully managed to release Contextual Related Posts v2 and Top 10 v2 as well as updates to my other WordPress plugins. v2 of my two most popular plugins heralds the possibility for paid and free addons. There is a lot of work that remains on my plugins and I will continue developing them. In addition, I am also building a new site dedicated for the addons.

Amongst other things, I did manage to get a bit of reading and also spent a lot of time playing the piano this past year. Am glad that this spark is still there!

Before I sign off…

Ashwina, since I know you’re my biggest fan and definitely reading this post… Thank you for always being there by my side these past three years. I am, without doubt, the happiest man in the universe!

And, to all my readers and followers: Thank you for reading Ajay – On the Road called Life. I look forward to hearing from you over the next year.

A year older… and a lot wiser…

It’s my birthday today! With that, I edge just one year away from three-tenths of a century.

And, as a gift to met, I’ve spent a good portion of the night working on a new theme for this blog, one which was long pending.

After a lot of searching I came across Paperpunch Theme by The Theme Foundry which I fell in love with almost instantly.

Paperpunch

Paperpunch is a clean and easy to use theme, yet comes packed with some decent free features. You can upgrade to the Pro version which makes life a lot easier!

My plugin Add to Footer definitely made life a bit easier, since I didn’t need to add in a lot of code for my analytics.
However, the theme required a good amount of modification to capture my header and sidebar, pages, comments and other features that I have maintained across themes across several years. Not to forget the ads that help sustain this blog.

Lastly, SexyBookmarks WordPress Plugin does deserve a major mention for it is extremely feature rich and with minimal interference allows you to share content of this blog with your friends through the most popular social networking sites. You are recommending these posts, aren’t you?

I’ve also included a neat little array of buttons at the top of each post, you can quickly share our posts on Facebook and Google Plus.

Until next time… do keep reading and do comment below and tell me if you like this new theme. If not, what can I do to improve it?

And, have you hit the like button at the bottom of this post to add Ajay – On the Road called Life to your Facebook favourites?

AjayDSouza.com is now on Facebook

It was about time… I have finally created a Facebook page for this blog. Up until now my profile has been one of the promotion media for the blog. Now, I hope to increase the number of persons following this blog via Facebook.

If you have been reading this blog, do hit the like button on the Facebook page.

Ajay - On the Road called Life on Facebook

I still can’t create a specific username for the page. I believe it is just a matter of time before I can do so. If you have become a fan of this page, do comment below and let me know.

I am using RSS Graffiti to add posts from this blog on Facebook. Extremely powerful and definitely an alternative to Facebook’s Notes application (especially since it doesn’t work too well)

Happy New Year 2010 & 2009 in Review

Wishing all my dedicated readers a Very Very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2010! How did you bring in the new year? I spent it quietly at home.

Looking back at 2009, I must say that it has been a rather successful year for me on all fronts. While I may not have achieved most of the goals I set for Techtites, it was definitely a lot better than 2008.

I have refrained from setting any goals for this blog, primarily because it serves as a personal blog.

At this time of the year, I normally make a very detailed post about my activities during the year. This year, I’ll refrain from a very detailed post and just make a short and sweet summary.

I began the year knowing that I had a good job in hand. I spent the first three months of the year completing my MBA. I joined the bank in early April and have slogged patiently and diligently over the last nine successful months.

I have also ensured that I continued making regular posts both at this blog and at Techtites during this duration. It’s a hobby that I have ensured that I have not given up, despite the long work hours.

On the coding front, I took over the development of Ajax Edit Comments in March from Ronald. Honestly, I didn’t make much progress on that front and a few months later, Ronald returned to continue the development of the best comment editing plugin for WordPress!

In December, Ajax Edit Comments became a premium plugin available to all users on a paid subscription basis. And, for a limited period you can get the basic subscription for only $10/year.

The downloads of my other plugins have also increased over the last year. I have released several updates to my plugins and my theme. I also plan on quite a few updates on both these fronts. I have had a few themes that I hoped to develop just lying around, so am hoping to finalise and release some of these.

Looking forward, I hope and pray that 2010 turns out to be an even more successful year than 2009!

I’ve been busy!

The last month reminds me of 2007 when I just entered SCMHRD as a budding MBA student. Life was totally crazy then since I just didn’t have the time to blog or even check my email.

That is something that I have been feeling off late. Well, blame it on my exhausting job. In my line of work, the only thing that keeps us going is the level of enjoyment we have at work. Otherwise, I am sure I wouldn’t have survived! On the work front, I’ve been working non-stop on a good number of weekends!

I had an extra day off in which I tried really hard to complete a new version of Better Search. However, I wasn’t very successful, since I had to scrap much of the changes.

I also realised that the feature rich Media Temple wasn’t the best solution for this blog. I’m really surprised at the kind of resources this consumes, but I almost shot way over the 1,000 GPU cycles. Had to move my blog out of there in a hurry. By my estimates, I would have easily had to pay $20-30 more.

So, I finally took the plunge into a VPS yet again. This time I decided to give ServInt a shot, since it had a really good plan.

Spent a good portion of the week after that optimising the server. Am pleased with the results so far.

On the fun angle, to bid farewell to one of our colleagues, we went off to Purple Haze on Friday. It’s a nice pub in Koramangala. It was a good break after the crazy work life.

And, in another six days, I’ll be in Mumbai!

ajaydsouza.com has a new look. Still need your suggestions

If you’re reading this in your feed reader, then hit this link now.

I mentioned earlier that I moved this blog to Media Temple yesterday. However, on monitoring the same, I have realized that I am still not at optimum levels. I’m not really sure what the reason for the super high resource usage is, but it is usually the themes and the plugins. So, as a test, I have decided to change the theme in an attempt to find a really light one.

One of my most read blogs is Weblog Tools Collection, and in a recent post, I stumbled upon Swift. This is a three column theme from Sadish. Sadish has known to churn out really good themes and I decided to use Swift.

As you can see, it still needs a crazy amount of work. For starters, the header needs to be fixed, as does the footer. I still need to replicate some of my old menu system. However, most of all I’m going to monitor the load on the server to see if switching the theme actually helped!

As usual, I’m throwing open this post to suggestions from you. I’m looking to improve this theme. What would you like to see?

So what is ajaydsouza.com all about?

This blog has been called lots of things: excellent, good, fun, enjoyable, and even boring, monotonous, horrendous (ok not this one). The most recent comment has been “boring”.

So, why was it called boring. Because, it has been a while since I made a personal post.

This blog sees two types of visitors, viz. those who visit my blog for the personal posts and those who visit my blog for the WordPress related posts, plugins and the theme.

When I started ajaydsouza.com in October 2003, I had only one thing in mind, blogging about my life. In fact, even till today, most of my posts are still filed under Personal.

Over time, things evolved. I got into WordPress plugin development, released my first and only theme and then started blogging professionally. So, little surprise that this blog moved away from the traditional personal blog to a blog that targets multiple audiences, those who read my personal blog posts, those who come for my plugins, those who read my reviews and those who come for the jokes.

And, I try my best to please them all.

So, what determines my blog posts?

It’s always been the life that I lead. When I was in engineering college, a lot of this was visiting restaurants, watching movies and trying to pass engineering.

When I got into work life, it revolved around visiting restaurants, watching movies and working my heart out.

When I got into MBA, I stopped blogging that frequently. This was primarily because MBA life didn’t give me a minute to blog.

In the second year of MBA, life eased out a bit. I was able to take up blogging professionally again. I also revived Techtites, which was dead for nearly a year before that. In fact a lot of my “free” time today is spent on planning posts on it.

Now, in my current day job, it seems a lot similar to MBA life when I didn’t have time to dedicate to my hobbies. However, if you’re tracking me on Facebook, you’ll realize that I do my best to do something besides work.

So, to wrap up this post, here’s what I have been up to recently:

Vincent and me when shopping for a new laptop he needed to buy. We ended up picking up the Gateway ID series laptop.

Gateway ID Series

It is a really beautiful high-end laptop at just about 50K. As for me, I’m a Dell person. This December, my beautiful, but now old, Inspiron 6400 should get a much needed cleanup. I hope Dell support is as good as it was a year back!

We also attempted to visit the Pizza Hut in Forum, but they are under renovation. So, we ate at the Sahib Singh Sultan, which in my opinion is really out of place in a mall like forum. The restaurant was really delightful.

The restaurant is a tribute to a bygone era and everything from the interiors to the culinary experience is reminiscent of a mix of the traditions of Indian royalty and the British Raj.

The restaurant will transport you to the year 1853, when the first Indian train made its run from Bori Bunder to Thane. Much care has been taken to recreate the feeling, with the tastefully done décor, silk tapestry, and exquisite silver ware.

From one end of the wall to the other, there is a Pullman-style carriageway which makes you feel like you’re dining inside an actual train.

On the technical front, I have moved this blog to Media Temple. I’m not sure if this is the best option! In my bid to cut costs, due to limited income, this seems to be a compromise. I also need to work on optimising this blog, which is painfully heavy for some strange reasons. If anybody knows why please do let me know!

Now, it’s time to hit the sack. I begin a new week in a few hours. But, I promise to blog really really soon!

Off to Bengaluru

If you?re reading this post, I?m already on the plane or maybe even in Bangalore. If you?ve been following this blog for a while, you?d know that I got placed through my college last November. As required by the job, I have to relocate to the city of Bangalore and the time has finally come for it.

This is in fact the first time I?ve ventured out of the safety of Mumbai into the unknown. Two years back when I set out to do my MBA in SCMHRD, Pune, I knew that I had everything planned and fixed with no need to worry about food, clothing or shelter. This time, it?s a question of shelter. So, if any of you reading this in Bangalore, know of a good 1BHK in Koramangala area at reasonable rates, please do drop me an email.

My office is located in Bellandur, so any suggestions regarding where to stay are also welcome.

Another purpose of making this post is regarding support for my WordPress plugins and themes. I?ll be tied down at least for the next two weeks and I?m pretty sure for two weeks after that as I hunt for a place to stay, get accustomed to the new city and job and get all the basic connectivity, which includes a decent internet connection. I do have my Airtel GPRS connection and a Reliance data card, but I hope I get a good signal to ensure I don?t get too frustrated to stay online.

Hence, for the next month, I won?t be able to fully and completely provide the support at the speed I have that I have for so long. Please do post your support requests in the forum. I?ll try to check in once a day or at least once every two days and respond to queries. Sending me an email won?t help. Read why.

So until then, do wish me luck. I?ll try to stay active on Twitter as well as Facebook (at least in the nights).

A Week went by with some New Lookers

What better way for a blogger and a developer to pass his time than to blog and develop 🙂

That’s exactly what I have been up to this past week or so.

New Plugins

So, the past week has seen a new plugin added to my already growing list of plugins. Over, the next week I intend to continue work on the plugins. I plan on scrapping a few ones which have long since served their purpose as well as reworking others. The latest ones could also do with many feature additions. So stay tuned for a few releases 🙂

New look for Techtites

I’ve also been working on a brand new look for Techtites. With the help of Moin, I’ve been able to revamp the entire site to a much better template. Have spent a good portion of the week working on the template. The first and major step was making the theme ready for WordPress 2.7 commenting system.

There’s still much to be done, especially the sidebar. Better ad placements has also meant a better click thru and so a wee bit more income. Continue reading “A Week went by with some New Lookers”

Thinking of redesign. Suggestions?

This site has retained this template for a long long time now. Well, it’s time for a change and I’m keen to do so asap.

And, who best to ask that all my loyal readers. So, what would you like to see. What color combination would you prefer? A dark font on light background or a light font on dark background?

What about colors? Greys, blues, greens or…?

Do you have any themes in mind that I may use as a base?

What features would you like to see on this blog?

Am open to all kinds of suggestions. So please keep them coming. I hope to get the changes in place over the course of the next month.