The surprisingly easy way anyone can start an art collection

If you love art, but believe you have to have tons of money or an art history degree to have an art collection, then take a few minutes and watch the above videos from the good people at art interiors (two of whom are in the video). After watching it, you’ll feel it’s something you can achieve, I’m sure.

Next step? I recommend a visit to their site and store to see what they have that suits you.

Good luck!

Sixteen ways to think about and improve your life

Over the last year or so, I’ve found these worthwhile pieces on how to think about life and how to improve it. If you find one of these worthwhile and it improves your life as a result of you reading it, then I think collecting and writing about these is worthwhile.

  1. If you are feeling lonely and want to understand and deal with it better, consider this: The Science of Loneliness: How Isolation Can Kill You – New Republic
  2. One idea you can consider: talk to strangers. Hello, Stranger – NYTimes.com
  3. If you need new ways to live a better life, courtesy of a famous person….7 Steps to Living a Bill Murray Life – Vulture
  4. Or if you like to write, try to improve your life via writing: Writing Your Way to Happiness – NYTimes.com (I am guessing some writers would not agree with it)
  5. If you struggle to be happy, this could help: Everyone wants to be happy. Almost everyone is going about it wrong. – Vox
  6. If you want to be more optimistic, consider the big picture, presented here: A Cockeyed Optimist – NYTimes.com
  7. If you think you are working too much and are often thinking of cutting back, this could help you: Keynes’ 15 Hour Work Week Is Here Right Now
  8. Lots of good ideas via a collected stream of tweets, here: Things @GhostfaceKnitta Learned in 2015 (with tweets) · valerieinto · Storify
  9. Why should you give away money and be happier: Giving money away makes us happy. Then why do so few of us do it? – Vox
  10. Don’t hesitate when it comes to improving your life. You have less time than you think. See this to see why: These graphics will make you rethink your life – Tech Insider
  11. Being laid off will happen to everyone. If that’s you now,  and you are struggling with it, consider: Advice For the Recently Laid Off – Medium
  12. Self Confidence makes for a better life. Here’s how to become that way and more so: The Truth On How To Become Self Confident
  13. Change your mind, change your life. How? One way: Rewire your brain: Why Practice Makes Perfect: How to Rewire Your Brain for Performance
  14. If you struggle with your thoughts (e.g., worry too much), read : BBC – Future – Why we should stop worrying about our wandering minds
  15. Sometimes the way to improve our lives is not to have more, but to seek less and not be caught up in the trappings of status. To live a simpler life, like this: Here’s why one of the world’s richest men wears hand-me-down clothes – The Washington Post
  16. More on how to live with less. Living With Less. A Lot Less. – The New York Times

(Image from one of the articles linked to on NYTimes.com)

40,000 home decor links to make your place more attractive

Ok, not quite 40,000, but quite a lot. Some are very practical, some are inspirational, and some may even have you building your own furniture (as I did).

First, here are a bushel of links from the Apartment Therapy web site. They have lots and lots and lots of pages filled with ideas for people who rent apartments that can be used by anyone, renter or owner. Very practical, low cost, smart ideas and approaches to home decor. Good stuff.

Not so how to oriented, but this handful of links might give you some ideas and inspiration to improve your place:

Now that you are inspired, here are some good links I found for buying furniture:

Or if you want to build vs buy furniture, you might want these links:

Finally, if you are not so much into furnishing your place but more into painting it, then consider these few links:

(The lovely entrance at the top of the post is from a link to How to Make a Small Apartment Feel Huge | A Cup of Jo)

My favorite place to go for technical tutorials is DigitalOcean

If you want tutorials that are clear and understandable and work, then I recommend the Tutorials at DigitalOcean. You might think it is obvious, but I can’t count the number of how to technical guides on the Web that don’t work are hard to understand and confusing.  All the ones I’ve used from DigitalOcean have worked well. Plus they are a pleasure to read.

Now when I am searching on for a technical topic, I put in “DigitalOcean” as part of the search terms.

Installing and configuring and using IT is hard enough: make getting started that much easier by using their tutorials.

What makes McMansions bad? The opposite of what makes other houses appealing

This piece, Worst of McMansions — McMansions 101: What Makes a McMansion Bad…, not only clearly explains why McMansions are so ugly, but it shows why other houses are appealing. A good primer for anyone interested in buildings and architecture, especially for someone looking to build a new home. I

Thoughts on using JMeter to do web performance testing

There are many tools to use for web performance testing, but if you want a good tool that does the job, I recommend Jmeter. The good and bad thing about JMeter is that there are alot of different options and features. To make it simpler for you, the good folks at Digital Ocean have a good tutorial on getting it set up, here: How To Use Apache JMeter To Perform Load Testing on a Web Server | DigitalOcean. While this is fine for testing one page, there are test scenarios where you want to have the user perform multiple steps (e.g. go to the home page, login to their account, check their account balance, then logout). If that is the case for you, too, then you want to read this next: How To Use JMeter To Record Test Scenarios | DigitalOcean (I used Firefox for this: if you are going to use JMeter to develop your performance test cases, then download Firefox too.) For any performance testing that follows a sequence, you really want to use the recording feature of JMeter.

Some other thoughts….

On my thread group, I added the following listeners:

  • Response time graph
  • Graph results
  • Aggregate report
  • View results tree (with scroll automatically on)

I also login to the web server and tail -f  the access log (and sometimes the error log).

I do all this because it is easy to run have a lot of errors when you first (and even later) run your test. For example, if you are testing a sequence, you might see good performance, but you might also see 404s in the access log, or you might see other anomalies in the aggregate report (e.g. good response 90% of the time, but bad response on average). Having more data is better and it insures you don’t have false positives (e.g., you think performance is good, but it really isn’t because the application is failing).

As soon as your developers have some code in place, have someone run Jmeter against it. Don’t wait until towards the end of the project. Jmeter is free and anyone can use it.

Back up your test plans often. It is easy to change your test plan, have it go from a successful one to an unsuccessful one because of the change, and then find it hard to go back because you changed a number of variables.

For your test plan, have multiple thread groups. This will allow you to test different test scenarios for different test groups. You can have different test plans too: it’s up to you how you manage it. For example, I recorded a long sequence for one test group, then I copied it and made a simple test group with less steps by removing them.

On being great and still having to deal with rejection from employers

Is this you: despite having a great resume and being really good at your job, you aren’t appreciated at your current workplace or you are struggling to find a new place to work? If so, I encourage you to read this: The Life of a Free Agent Kicker | The Players’ Tribune

It doesn’t matter if you love or hate football, it is a great example of how you need to think in order to stay positive and maintain perspective when your work situation gets tough.

You can be great at your job, you can have a record of success, and you can still be rejected by employers. It can happen to anyone. You have to stay ready, stay focused, and do your best when the next opportunity comes along. Read the article and grab some perspective.