A Prayer

When I was in high school, a youth choir I participated in did a piece of music that was, in many ways, quite transcendent.

It comes to mind from time to time. Today, as I was thinking about the very idea of prayer and the many ways that the concept has evolved in my thinking over the years, it came up again.

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Wherever there's despair, hope
Where there's darkness, light
Where there is sadness, joy.

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace

Oh Lord, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace

For it is in giving, that we receive
For it is by faith that we believe
For in forgiving we are forgiven
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life

Make me an instrument of Thy peace

The arrangement we sang was this one, set to music by Mary McDonald. She attributed the lyrics—as many do—to St. Francis of Assisi, but there appears to be little evidence that they are any older than the early 20th Century.

Regardless of their origins, these words are resonating with me today. I hope they provide something meaningful to you.

Zapier: Add a Timestamp to any Zap

So you're building a Zap and you need to add a timestamp to an Action, but your Trigger doesn't include a timestamp. You're in luck! Zapier has a handy-dandy built-in method for doing this:

{{zap_meta_human_now}}

For example, I just connected up a Webhooks subscription using Zapier's built-in "Catch Hooks" Trigger.

The REST API I connected to it supplies several data fields, but there's no record of when the Webhook fires (there's no date, time, or timestamp in the incoming webhook).

As I had already connected the Trigger to a Google Sheets action ("create a new row"), it occurred to me that there should be a way to just add a timestamp column in Google Sheets and then automate a timestamp when the new row gets created.

Enter Zapier's fantastic documentation. I thought I might have to use one of Zapier's nifty built-in "Filter" apps, but actually, all it required was copying and pasting the value above into the Zap Action's field that correlates to the new column I added in Google Sheets!

Zapier documented this in the Advanced Tips –> Modifying Dates & Times section of their documentation.

As soon as you paste `{{zap_meta_human_now}}` into the field in your Zap, Zapier transforms it like this:

Zapier autogenerates a "Now" timestamp for you!

This automagically showed up in Google Sheets like this:

Google Sheets column with Zapier Timestamp in it

One "gotcha" that didn't occur to me until this Zap started running: I didn't have a timezone preference set in my Zapier account, so it defaulted to UTC time. Thankfully, this is configurable!

This is a small thing, but it's a big deal in a situation like the one I was in today. One more reason to love Zapier!

Lenovo USA Customer Service Saves the Day

Lenovo Customer Service Saves the Day

A few weeks ago, I did something I'd been planning to do for a long time: I ordered a Lenovo ThinkPad.

Having looked forward to this for years, I was refreshing the UPS tracking URL like a fiend, and I knew the moment it arrived. Imagine my shock when I opened the box and discovered that a completely different machine than the one I ordered was in the box.

What followed can only be described as a sequence of customer service SNAFUs that I can only hope were accidents.

Regardless, I'm happy to report that as of today, Lenovo USA has gone above and beyond and made everything right.

Some Important Thanks

There were a few key players who got involved when this situation was rapidly devolving into a disaster:

  • Kayle, who answered one of my phone calls and then really took ownership of the issue until it was resolved
  • Erica, who was one of the helpful folks staffing the @lenovohelp Twitter account, and who pushed a case through the necessary escalation to get it to Tonya
  • Tonya, who called me back in response to the case that was created after my Twitter outreach, and who emailed me her direct contact info in case Kayle's efforts were unsuccessful.

Perhaps the biggest hero of this whole story is a guy from Pennsylvania named Cameron. When I reached out to him because I'd received the machine he ordered, he responded and agreed to ship me my machine (which thankfully he had received) while I shipped his to him.

A Dream Machine

My Lenovo ThinkPad T570 is truly a fantastic piece of hardware. It lives up to the longstanding reputation of the ThinkPad family of laptops going back to the IBM days.

To give you some context: I hate spending money on laptops. There are a number of reasons for this, but the most significant one is probably the sheer amount of abuse that gets dealt out to any laptops I own. With frequent travel for consulting and speaking, my devices get a lot of miles.

Consequently, years ago, I adopted a policy that I would buy the cheapest possible machines that I could find. This approach served me well. My last machine lasted me for over 6 years (a record by at least a factor of 2), and I originally paid less than $500 for it (including tax) at a local Best Buy.

Because I'm a geek and I like to tinker (another reason I don't enjoy laptops as much as the good old days of desktops that you could take apart and upgrade), I'd done a number of things to my last machine, including:

Like I said… I've been cheap where laptops were concerned.

But that last machine (a Gateway), was seriously on its last leg. And part of the reason I kept trying to stretch out its life was because I was avoiding Windows 10 at all cost, and was grateful that Windows 7 was still serving me reasonably well.

Since I'd proven I could make a cheap machine last so long, I decided to re-think my strategy a bit. What could I do with a high quality piece of hardware that was spec'd out with a super-fast SSD, a top-of-the-line processor, a decent GPU, and tons of RAM?

For high quality hardware in the laptop space, there's nothing better than Lenovo's ThinkPad line. And they tend to be built to be taken apart and upgraded, which adds an enormous benefit to me personally.

So I started watching the Lenovo Outlet (yes, even when I'm making a bigger investment, I can be a little cheap) for a ThinkPad with at least 32GB of RAM, an Intel I7 CPU, and a decent NVIDIA GPU video adapter. When I found this ThinkPad T570 that I'm writing this blog post on right now, I was elated. It was a great price, and had everything I was looking for (except the SSD capacity, which I planned to fix by adding another SSD).

Perhaps now you can see why I was so utterly disappointed when I got a completely different machine that didn't have anywhere near the specs that I had paid for.

I immediately opened a chat session with a support person on the Lenovo Outlet website, got lots of assurances, but ultimately no help. After a few days of giving plenty of time for people to work and swapping emails, I took to Twitter:

They responded, but initially they just investigated my existing case and weren't able to improve the situation.

A few days later, I was tired of waiting, so I placed a phone call and expressed significant displeasure with the entire support experience. I kept poor Kayle on the line for far longer than she wanted to be, while I tried to urge her to do the right thing for me.

Not confident that that would turn out well, I took to Twitter again:

That resulted in a call from Tonya, who checked into what was being done for me, and who also invited me to contact her directly if things didn't turn out well.

Ultimately, Lenovo paid for the shipping cost I incurred when I sent the laptop I initially received to its rightful owner. I'm sure that had my initial contacts with their support people worked out, they would have arranged for that to occur, but they were simply not responding fast enough nor appropriately.

It was an unusual situation, to be sure. When I compared the order numbers for my order and that of Pennsylvania Cameron's, they looked similar. It would be easy if you were working in a Lenovo warehouse full of nearly identical boxes to stick the wrong shipping labels on two boxes. Thankfully, the person who made this simple mistake managed to swap the shipping labels. It would have been a real disaster if multiple orders/shipments were affected.

In any event, I couldn't imagine having Pennsylvania Cameron ship my long-awaited machine back to Lenovo's warehouse, letting them sort out what happened, and then almost certainly be unable to ship it to me for one reason or another. (In fact, the first thing the customer support person I initially contacted via chat wanted to do was cancel and refund my order. I didn't want my money back, dangit. I wanted the machine I had watched the Lenovo Outlet for!)

In any event, I've managed to write one of my longest blog posts in recent history about a customer service issue. I'm going to wrap it up now by saying this:

Even though I initially had a poor experience, Lenovo USA has truly won my trust and turned a negative situation into a perfectly acceptable one.

Thank you, Lenovo. I love my ThinkPad.

FCC Comments “Researcher” Abusing Email Addresses Required to Be Public Record

Did you submit this comment to the FCC?

Today, I received this email an email purporting to be from someone named Courtney Pruitt, whose email address was courtney@fcccommentsresearch.org, with the subject line:

Did you submit this comment to the FCC?

The email is the first that I’m aware of receiving in connection with my public comments to the FCC on the net neutrality issue.

My first thought was, “Hey! The FCC hired a research firm to verify which comments were from legitimate senders by emailing the commenters and asking them to verify their comment.”

On closer inspection, however, there is nothing official about this email at all. In fact, there are some suspicious details:

  • The domain name, fcccommentsresearch.org, was registered via Namecheap on August 9, 2017.
  • The domain name was registered with privacy turned on, which means that the public WHOIS shows proxy information rather than the details of the actual registrant.
  • The statement, “We are investigating comments submitted to the FCC website on a public filing about net neutrality.” could be true of the email’s sender. It doesn’t actually even imply that the FCC has anything to do with the research nor the sending of the email message I received.
  • This statement, “Responding to this email with help us verify real comments so that we can discover how the public truly feels about net neutrality.” is even more telling. Whoever “we” refers to, “they” want to know how the public truly feels.
  • The message was sent via Mandrill, a bulk email service provider owned The Rocket Science Group, parent company of MailChimp.

The Mandrill platform allows for open tracking, and although I haven’t actually done a thorough analysis, I suspect this message contains a beacon for the purposes of open tracking. Thus, the sender knows that I’ve looked at the message.

I did not, however, click any links, nor did I take the action requested, which was to reply with a “yes” or “no” to the question of whether or not I actually submitted the comment that they quoted.

The message began:

Dear David Johnson,

According to the FCC website, you wrote a comment on 2017-07-14 10:37:46 about Net Neutrality.

Could you confirm that you submitted it by replying “Yes” to this email? If you did not submit this comment, please reply “No.”

The text of the message attributed to you is:

I’m redacting my comment here, although the email message I received did appear to have something I wrote (I didn’t actually check it thoroughly).

Then the email was signed as follows:

Thank you,

Courtney Pruitt
Data Analyst with Ragtag

Why you are receiving this email:

We are investigating comments submitted to the FCC website on a public filing about net neutrality.
Your name/email is attached to a duplicate comment, and we just want to make sure it was you who submitted it. You can see the comment on the FCC website here: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filing/XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX [redacted]
Responding to this email with help us verify real comments so that we can discover how the public truly feels about net neutrality.

refid:XXXXXXXXXXX [redacted]

The refid at the bottom of the message is presumably a unique identifier which could be used by the receiving system to automate the analysis of replies.

I’ve always been mildly alarmed by the need to put my email address into information that will be displayed, unredacted, to the public. This makes my information susceptible to scraping. Whether or not this is actually a good idea is open to debate, as far as I’m concerned.

But since this is the first time that I’m actually becoming aware that my publicly-displayed email address has actually been used to contact me (and I’m only aware of this occurrence because it makes reference to my actual comment), this is my chance to voice my concern publicly.

Who is it that has scraped my comment and my email address? 

Why do they take significant steps to mask their identity?
No Google search for “Ragtag” with phrases including “data analyst,” “data analysis,” or even “Courtney Pruitt” turned up anything useful. And I refuse to click the link for the word “Ragtag.” It’s destination URL is being masked by the Mandrill bulk email process in order to allow for click tracking by the sender.

Who has the resources to pay for this kind of research?
My concern on the net neutrality issue is that the big ISPs like Comcast, Verizon, etc. are the ones who would conduct research like this so that they could manipulate the outcomes of the research. Am I jaded and cynical? Probably.

If you’re a legitimate researcher, why not be more open about this research?
Will the data be shared publicly? If so, by whom? When? Where?

I don’t normally take the time to write about phishing emails. Maybe this is legitimate research, and maybe it isn’t.

Whatever it is, it rubbed me the wrong way.

 

Why Even Conservatives Want to Save the Celery Fields

Why Even Conservatives Want to Save the Celery Fields in Sarasota

The past seven or eight months have been quite a learning experience for me.

We hadn’t made it far into 2017 when I first heard of the plan to construct what amounts to a dump at the Celery Fields in Sarasota.

Now I am not what you would call an “activist.” Prior to 2017, you could count one hand the number of times you’d have spotted me holding a sign in a crowd. Some people enjoy it and would find a reason to do it every week if they could. I just don’t happen to be one of them.

Nor am I what you would call an “environmentalist.” This issue has become one of the growing number of issues for which I consider both sides of the argument to be less than honest and certainly not aboveboard.

Nor am I someone who believes in giving government even more control over our private lives. I regard the increasing incursion of the State into our individual liberties as a dangerous menace—one that was foreseen by the Founders and Framers, whose counsel on the issue we ignore to our own peril.

In other words, I’m not what you would call a “liberal,” at least not according to any modern definition of the word.

And yet, in 2017, I’ve signed petitions, gone to rallies, attended public hearings, and spoken out in a number of ways to ask Sarasota County to deny petitions to build on Celery Fields lands.

Knowing this, many casual observers might assume that they could accurately guess my political leanings.

And yet, over the last number of months, I’ve worked alongside card-carrying members of both of the major political parties, and many others who are harder to classify, politically speaking. Lifelong Republicans, tree-hugging environmentalist Democrats, frustrated independents, and members of other parties have aligned themselves to oppose these projects, most notably the one proposed by local developer turned public official, James Gabbert.

And this is how I have learned so much this year. Never before have I seen so many people willing to lay aside their cherished ideologies and work together with people who, in other circumstances, they’d probably vehemently oppose.

There’s an old saying about nothing being stronger than the heart of a volunteer, and that is what I’ve observed—and been humbled by—throughout this process.

I’ve watched people give up hundreds of hours of their time, sacrifice business opportunities, and risk embarrassment (or worse) to protect the Celery Fields. Business owners, former journalists, retirees, birders and wildlife enthusiasts of all ages, and—yes—people whose interest in activism has risen to levels deserving of the word, “professional,” have linked up with one another in a shocking display of heart.

Why?

It can only be because they care.

They care about beauty. They care about nature. They care about what sort of society we are creating. They care about what we do with Publicly-owned land. They care about our water supply and the health of estuaries and aquatic wildlife. They care about the birds and the beautiful habitat that’s been created over the last twenty-plus years, by accident or not. They care about preserving the peaceful serenity of the Palmer corridor, which only looks “industrial” on maps created during the Reagan Administration. They care about the two thousand homes—soon to exceed 2,600 with new developments going in—and the neighborhoods that have grown up around them. They care about Tatum Ridge Elementary School and the 700 students, not to mention the hardworking faculty and staff, just down the street.

And it’s been my honor to work alongside such caring people. Maybe in other circumstances and on other questions, the things we care about would find us disagreeing.

But after months of working alongside people of this quality, I must say I’m more inclined than ever to really listen and to try to understand where they’re coming from and to see if perhaps there aren’t better ways to solve our problems than the bitter public thrashings that seem to be the order of the day.

In other words, I care too—about the Celery Fields, sure—but more importantly, about the people I’ve come to know through this unique experience.

Tomorrow, we’ll hear from the County Commissioners. That means today we’re all busy making our final preparations. Regardless of the outcome, I want all of you to know how much I have grown to deeply respect and appreciate you. Thank you for the honor of working with you.

Congratulations to Jo Hagan, CPA

A huge congratulations to our longtime accountant, CPA, and all-around business adviser, Jo Hagan, on the rebranding of her accounting practice from Hagan CPA, Inc to Barefoot Accounting, PA.

In the process of re-branding, Jo recently launched an all new Barefoot Accounting website.

Jo and I met at a networking event in 2001, not long after 9/11. I had just gone full-time in my business, and she had decided she wanted to sacrifice some of the security and stability of a corporate job in favor of working from home and being there for her two young daughters.

One of the benefits of working from home, of course, is that you can go barefoot if you’d like! Today, Jo’s daughters are off in college, and Jo is taking advantage of the opportunity to help others like her who might be Moms or would otherwise prefer to work from home.

Jo’s new brand represents a fantastic new direction as she helps other CPAs and bookkeepers develop a stable livelihood while simultaneously refocusing her own efforts on providing top-shelf business advisory services that go way beyond filing taxes and producing reports. We couldn’t be happier for Jo!

How to Communicate with Me

How to Communicate with Me

TL;DR: Email me.

This post has been on my mind for a very long time. I’ve formulated 20 or 30 different versions of it in my head, but I’ve never made the commitment to just go ahead and write one of them.

Mostly, I think I’ve avoided it because I haven’t imagined a scenario in which what I have to say here doesn’t come across as obnoxious, rude, or otherwise disagreeable.

However, reality is reality.

If you’re a client of our digital marketing agency, you’ve no doubt already had a moment where you said, “that guy is hard to reach.” (OK… you might have used stronger language. But you know what I mean.)

And so… the time has come to just spell it out.

Unscheduled Contact

I used to tell people right up front that I’m unable to take unscheduled phone calls. For a while, I even used a nearly rude voicemail greeting that instructed callers to please not leave a voicemail and just email me instead.

But in 2017, it seems that most people don’t default to the phone call anyway these days. Instead, it’s the text message.

And unfortunately, you don’t get my voicemail when you send me a text. So I don’t have a good context to have you hear my cheery “radio voice” explain that in order to get the fastest response, your best bet is to email me.

And let’s face it. Auto-replies to SMS messages are terrible. Even if I came up with polite wording, unless you know for certain that it’s an autoresponder, you get the impression that I took the time to write you a response that said, “I can’t respond right now,” instead of actually responding.

Why Unscheduled Contact Doesn’t Work

The nature of the work that I personally do revolves around two things:

  1. Lengthy (paid) consulting sessions.
  2. Creative work that requires long uninterrupted periods of focus.

If you’ve ever been in a meeting with me, you know that I don’t look at my phone when we’re meeting. This is a habit that I developed long ago. Being paid for your time trains you in unusual ways to think about clients’ expectations and how to be effective.

But it’s more than just time that gets sucked away by the phone when you’re in the middle of something.

Imagine paying your attorney $500/hour to discuss a complex legal issue and having her take a phone call every 5 or 6 minutes.

The first time it happens, you may think, “Wow, that must be important for her to interrupt our $500/hour meeting to take a call.”

And you’d probably think nothing of it, dismissing it as an unusual occurrence.

The second time it happened, you’d start wondering, “Am I going to get billed for the time she spends on these calls?”

The third time, you’d note the start and end time of the call just to compare it to your bill later and make darn sure you aren’t paying $8.33/minute for her to talk to someone else!

But there’s something else you’d notice. Each time your conversation with your attorney was interrupted, you’d find that it takes a moment or two to settle back in to the conversation. Maybe the train of thought got lost. Perhaps a complex chain of reasoning had lost a link or two and needed to be rebuilt from the beginning.

In other words, it’s not just the time that gets sacrificed by an interruption, it’s the attention.

Some years ago, when I first read The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, I was struck by a concept he laid out in the midst of all of his productivity hacks. Put simply:

Attention is more important than time.

I won’t elaborate too much on this concept here, but this blog post does a fantastic job of concisely explaining the thinking behind Tim’s statement.

Here’s what it boils down to in practical terms for me: in order for me to do my part in delivering the results to our clients that we deliver, I have to engage in attention management more than time management.

This means that the way my schedule works forces me to schedule phone calls and meetings so that I can be effective—not just in those meetings, but in the blocks of time when I’m not in meetings and am working insead.

The Tyranny of the Follow-Up

The other side of this coin, then, is that inbound communications are especially difficult. We are all bombarded by incoming notifications, these days. I am certainly not alone in this. You have too many emails to read, too many text messages, Skype calls, Facebook Messenger contacts, WhatsApp notifications, Snaps, Twitter DMs, and any number of other little “pings and dings” demanding your attention as well.

But if you try to handle them in a more or less “real-time” fashion, as I imagine most people try to do, then you know what it is to have an attention deficit. It doesn’t have to be a disorder, it’s a lifestyle for most of us these days.

My phone is no different from yours… often, when I leave a meeting and have a moment to see what’s going on, my notifications list is endless.

And therein lies the rub.

Maybe other people have found a way to do this, but for me, follow-up from notifications on my phone is not possible.

What is manageable—or at the very least usually possible—is email follow-up.

Maybe it’s because email, of all these seemingly endless inboxes, is the one that’s been around the longest, and so I’ve had the most time and experience to develop a system for at least attempting to follow-up on it.

Or maybe I’m just backwards.

Either way, it’s what I do.

In other words, if you email me, I’m much more likely to follow up with you. Even if it’s not immediately (which it almost never will be).

Your text message? I might see it. I might even see it soon after you send it. But it will quickly get lost in the sea of other notifications that came in on my phone, and it will never be seen again.

This Will Only Take a Second!

Maybe it’s the technical nature of what we do… maybe it’s because I have a knack for finding a long answer to a short question.

In other words, I’m sure it’s me, not you.

But most of the inbound communications I receive that are business related are impossible to answer quickly. Perhaps they require investigation or research. Perhaps that involves logging in to 3 or 4 systems to dig up the answer. Or maybe you’re not going to understand the short answer that I might give to one of my team, and out of politeness to you, I’ll spend the extra 10 minutes explaining whatever it is.

But, in my experience, the “this will only take a second” questions are often the ones that take the longest.

I’m Sure This is Frustrating

The practitioner of customer service in me—the one that drives me to think about every interaction we develop for our clients that either creates or nurtures relationships that lead to sales for them—is a constant voice in my head that screams, “you must communicate with people in the way they prefer to be communicated with.”

And somewhere there’s an idealist in me that is working on this in the background. A little hamster on a wheel that one day will come up with a magical solution to the whole problem that makes everyone happy.

In the meantime, let me just say that if you’re working with me, I apologize for any inconvenience or frustration that this creates.

Perhaps someday I’ll hire someone to help me with this. A person is probably the right answer.

But of course that means that I’ll have to increase our fees.

This may happen at some point. In the meantime, you’re welcome to let me know if you’d pay more to have a better experience.

In the meantime, I’ve made a commitment that I will do my darndest to respond to your email within one business day.

And in case you’re wondering, here’s a quick summary for how to communicate with me:

Need a quick answer? Email me.

Need to talk on the phone? Email me some possible times that work well for you.

Need some training? Email me to schedule a session.

Need to change the scope of a project? Email me.

Have something you’d like to text me? Email me instead.

Need something done in a hurry? Mention that in your email.

You haven’t gotten an answer to your email? Please accept my apologies, and email me.

Learn How to Drive Through a Diverging Diamond

Learn How to Drive Through a Diverging Diamond

UPDATE (5/17/2017): FDOT has announced that the new traffic pattern will be implemented this Sunday, May 21, 2017. This does not mean the end of construction at the interchange, but we will begin using the “Diverging Diamond” pattern at that time.

 UPDATE (4/5/2017): FDOT has made the slides from the public workshop available for anyone to review who couldn’t make it in person. (Did you go? How was it? Let us know in the comments below!)

Late spring or early summer. That’s when we’ll all start using the new “diverging diamond” interchange at University Parkway & I-75.

But since a lot of people are still wondering how to drive through a diverging diamond, the Florida Department of Transportation has scheduled a couple of workshops for Tuesday, April 4th to explain how it works.

When: Tuesday, April 4 at either 2pm or 5pm

What: 90-minute workshop: “Navigating the Diverging Diamond Interchange”

Where: Everglades University, 6001 Lake Osprey Drive (map)

Why: To show us all how to drive through a diverging diamond.

File this under “mildly alarming,” but I’ve got a nagging question:

Why the Heck Will it Take 90 Minutes to Teach Us How to Drive Through a Diverging Diamond?

OK OK… the flyer says that first the first half hour, everyone will have a chance to review some exhibits and speak with FDOT staff (you’ve been itching to do that, haven’t you?!). Then there will be an “informative presentation,” followed by a Q&A session, which in my imagination will be filled with elderly people who don’t know how to use roundabouts asking the same question over and over in different ways.

So… maybe it won’t take that long to actually explain it.

After all, this nifty video does it in just under 8 minutes:

Hopefully it won’t take 8 minutes to get through this darned interchange once the construction finally ends!

But I’m not holding my breath…

Testing Out Collaborative Editing in Google Docs for WordPress

WordPress - Google Docs Integration

OK it’s not every day that I get super excited about new WordPress features. But today, Matt announced something that made me jump out of my chair and yell for joy.

What is it?

Google Docs integration for WordPress

The idea is that you create your content in Google Docs, using all of the lovely collaborative features like multiple (even simultaneous!) authors, commenting, great editing tools, cloud-based storage, and so forth.

Then… once it’s ready to go, push a button and voila! — the content shows up in your WordPress site.

The magic happens thanks to Jetpack, which we users of the WordPress software use to connect up our self-hosted sites to Automattic’s WordPress.com infrastructure.

So… you need to have the Jetpack plugin enabled and your site connected.

Then you need to use the WordPress.com for Google Docs add-in (that link goes to the Google Web Store page for the add-in, but you can also get it by going to “Add-ons” inside a Google Doc).

As much as I love the WordPress editor, this is a game changer. I live in Google Docs, especially since I acquired my first Chromebook about a year ago.

There’s one more hiccup. The authentication passes through multiple layers (after all, you wouldn’t want just anyone editing a Google Doc to be able to push content to your website, would you?):

  1. Your Google Account (make sure you’re signed in to the one you want)
  2. Your WordPress.com account — meaning the account that you used to connect your self-hosted WordPress site up to the Jetpack/WordPress.com infrastructure. (Here again: make you’re signed in to the right one!)
  3. Your local WordPress account (meaning the account that you sign in to your actual WordPress site with)

It was at that last authentication step that I hit a snag:

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I had never activated the Jetpack JSON API on this site. So… I had to go through the Authorization process one more time after fixing that.

But hey! Needing to screenshot an error message gave me a chance to see how images work in this whole process. I’ll let you know once this content gets pushed to my WordPress site!

Update

After hitting the “Save Draft” button, my content got magically pushed to this site. (If you hadn’t figured it out, I wrote the first draft of this in Google Docs!)

The image came along with it!

But…. my cropping didn’t. The image above is the full screenshot. In Google Docs, I had cropped it to get rid of the 37 Chrome tabs and so forth (hyperbole, I know, but that’s only one of my 3 current Chrome windows!).

All in all, this is a fantastic experience. There’s even a button in Google Docs to “Preview” the post on the live site, and of course a way to update the draft from Google Docs.

I’m guessing you’ll have to manage your own workflow for which version is the latest. I assume if I make changes on my site, but then hit the “Update Draft” button in Google Docs, that version will overwrite whatever is on the site. But this is to be expected. (And I haven’t tested it yet, so… who knows?)

Way to go, team WordPress!!

Sarasota: The Best Place to Live in Florida

US News & World Report ranked Sarasota #21 on its list of the Best Places to Live in the United States. Citing our climate, beaches, and culture, the index placed Sarasota higher than the other Florida cities on the top 100 list, with Tampa coming in at 35 and Orlando at 40.

While it’s great to see publications recognize our “little big city” in this way, maybe it would be better to keep us a secret? Already, our “net migration” is at a 10. We’re feeling it in the traffic!