Words of Wisdom: How to Change the World

Don't like what you see in the world? Here is how you can change it.

"We don't see things as they are. We see them as we are."
--- Anaïs Nin

Try it. This actually works!

Words of Wisdom: Not Enough Time in the Day

Today I have a special quote to share with anyone who thinks there are not enough hours in the day:

"Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein." ~H. Jackson Brown Jr

If you are truly being honest with yourself, what is really the problem? Could it be that you are conflicted about your priorities? What is most important to you? Your kids, your relationship, your career, a second career, your friends? Then allocate enough time to work on it. You can have it all, but it may take longer than if you just wanted one thing.

If you truly have more work than you can handle and are feeling overwhelmed, perhaps you need to consider getting someone to help you out. If you want more out of life, refocus your efforts on the things that will make the biggest difference. Start by making a list of everything that you need or want to get done.

Then identify the three things in the list that will make the biggest difference for you. Then take some action right away that will get you on your way to achieving each of those 3 things. Finally, carve out some time in your schedule, even if it is just 10-15 minutes a day, to take some action that will get you closer to achieving those goals and getting you closer to the results you truly want.

It is ok to want anything. Write a book, do art, talk, learn, declutter, meditate, develop a new app, look for a new job. Whatever you want to do, you may not have hours to spend working towards but 15 minutes each day will get you a little closer to the results you want over time. If you don't feel like you are making progress, break down the goal into smaller chunks and celebrate your progress as each one is competed.

Don't worry about making mistakes when setting your goals. It is very common to re-evaluate and refine your goals as you make progress. What will make the biggest difference is to get a vision of where you want to go and then start actively working towards it -- today!

Words of Wisdom: Barriers in Your Life

Throughout life, we often put up barriers around the good person inside us to protect it.
Does that really work out best for you?

Words of Wisdom: Make a Positive Difference in the World

If you can write, if you can talk, if you can take action, if you can do any of these, YOU have the power to make a positive difference in the world.

Should I upgrade Moodle? (applies to WordPress, Drupal and Joomla too)

Moodle LMS maintenance upgrades is indeed something that needs to be done every once in a while. But how often should you upgrade? This article discusses the the lifecycle of software and what to watch out for when considering upgrading. Though their development cycles may differ, a lot of the same information and strategies could be applied to the maintenance and upgrading of CMS websites such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla.

When it comes to Moodle, there are actually several reasons why you might want to consider limiting upgrading your system to every 3 to 6 months. When considering a major version upgrades, the recommended cycle can be as much as 2 years.

If you are experiencing a specific issue, need (not just want) a new feature, or need a security fix, naturally these would need to be addressed as soon as possible and would therefore fall outside of regularly scheduled maintenance windows.

Here is how Moodle's release cycle works:

Weekly Moodle releases

Although there are new plus (+) releases of Moodle that comes out each week, and that changes to Moodle are put through excellent quality assurance practices before they are released, plus releases are not necessarily completely tested and should not considered if stability is paramount unless they actually address a specific issue you are experiencing. With that said, I've only ever seen one or two + releases that were truly problematic over the last 5 years… but it does happen.

Minor Moodle releases

There are new minor release of Moodle that come out every 2 months in January, March, May, July, September and November. You would not necessarily want to upgrade Moodle to these right away. Best practice is to wait a few weekly releases to see what issues are being reported by the community and hopefully fixed before upgrading your website. Because minor releases typically only include bug and security fixes, they are often compatible with installed 3rd party Moodle plugins and theme you might be using.

Major Moodle releases

Major releases of Moodle only come out every 6 months in May and November. This is to accommodate schedules of educational institutions that often only have a window of opportunity to upgrade systems over the summer months, be it on the American or the Australian side of the world. It is therefore only expected that organizations will upgrade Moodle to the next major release only once every year or so.

Long Term Supported (LTS) releases

LTS releases are a special version of Moodle that come out in May every 2 years. If you are looking to reduce your maintenance costs, these are the releases that I recommend to my ongoing clients. What is special about them? They receive security fixes for 36 months compared to regular major releases that only receive these fixes for 18 months. By going with LTS releases, you can stay with the same version of Moodle for almost 2 years, just applying minor release updates. The next LTS release of Moodle will be coming out in May of even numbered years. If you are using an LTS release of Moodle, I only recommend minor release updates unless there is a specific new feature that you need.

It is important to note that you would never want to rush out and update Moodle as soon as a new major release comes out. If your Moodle site makes use of any 3rd party plugins/add-ons or theme, these are not always available at the time of new major Moodle releases. In fact, it can sometimes take several months before they become available.

When a new major release of Moodle first comes out, despite best quality assurance by hundreds of volunteers around the world, the introduction of new features often also introduces issues which get addressed over the coming months. You would therefore want to wait at least one or two minor releases before upgrading your instance of Moodle. This would hopefully give 3rd party developers time to catch up and give you time to ensure that the update doesn't break anything on your Moodle site.

Moodle performs its own self-maintenance several times a day when it is set-up appropriately for the maximum number of concurrent users and courses. If it isn't, that's when you start running into problems and no amount of upgrading Moodle will solve that.

Words of Wisdom: Gratitude is More Than Just Thank You

With regular practice, gratitude -- expressing appreciation for everything you have, where you are, the people in your life, what you do, and much more -- can change your relationships with people and your life. Accelerate your progress by writing your gratitudes down in a journal (not electronics) and, most of all, expressing it to others every day, especially to those you care about the most.

Keep doing this and watch your life transform in less than 30 days.

Productivity Tip: Copy and Paste without Junk

Have you ever tried to copy information from a web page or a MS Word document and got more than you bargained for when you pasted it into another Word document or web page? Text often comes with unwanted junk in the form of extra formatting codes.

The solution is usually to use Paste Special and then choose to paste as Plain Text or Unformatted text. Word actually gives you an opportunity to also choose whether you want to paste using the sources formatting -- where you got the content from, target formatting -- uses the formatting in the current document, or Unformatted Text where it will only keep the text and discard all formatting.

This isn't always a convenient option when all you want to keep is the text without the formatting. First, it requires extra steps. Some applications don't even have a Paste Special option.

Copy and Paste Plain Unformatted Text

Did you know that you can actually paste just the plain text into most applications by simply pressing Ctrl-Alt-V (instead of just Ctrl-v). In fact, this works not only on Microsoft Windows but you can press Command-Shift-Option-V in Apple's Mac OS X.

This works in almost all applications. One glaring exception is Microsoft Word. However you can simply press ALT-E and then S to bring up the Paste Special dialogue box.

A more universal solution is to give a tool called PureText for Windows a try. When you first run it, it will create a new keyboard shortcut, Win-V.

You can of course change this to almost anything you like. As long as PureText is running, you will be able to press Win-V to paste as plain text into any application. Note that, unlike Ctrl-Alt-V which preserves both the rich and plain versions of the text on your clipboard, PureText will convert the content on your clipboard to plain text as you paste.

Copy and Paste Clean HTML

But what if you don't want to get rid of everything? For example, you might want to keep links, bold, italic, lists, etc?

Haven't found a tool to allow you to paste clean HTML yet directly but there are online tools available that will make the job a whole lot easier. HTML Cleaner is an excellent tool for copying text from a Word document, PDF, email, Web page and more and turning it into nice clean HTML.

Tip: You can paste to the editor or the source code window and click Clean HTML to clean up the source code.

Once you've converted your code into clean HTML, copy it to the clipboard and head on over to FreeFormatter. I find it does an excellent job of formatting HTML, complete with well indented markup.

After using HTML Cleaner and FreeFormatter, it is rare that I need to adjust the resulting junk free HTML, except to add things that I wanted to include and takes only a few seconds.

Words of Wisdom: Taking Action Successfully

  1. Decide to take action today.
  2. Didn't work? Pay attention.
  3. You now have an education.
  4. Use what you learned and go back to step 1.

Words of Wisdom: Have a problem?

Do you have a problem?

  • No => then don’t worry
  • Yes => can you do something about it?
    • No => then don’t worry
    • Yes => then don’t worry

Yep. It really is just that simple.

Looking for a good man?

What is a good man anyway?

A very common problem when searching for your ideal partner is that most people haven't gone through the process of figuring out what they want. While this is the purpose of dating, most people go on a date, and see how they feel. There is nothing wrong with that approach but if you never learn from the experience when it doesn't work out, you will very likely just keep attracting the same kind of people and making the same kinds of mistakes.

One thing you can do to improve your chances of finding someone you want to spend the rest of your life with is to take a little time to create a list of what you MUST and MUST NOT have in your ideal partner. This strategy will help you learn what is important to you in your ideal mate.

Spit a page into two columns and title one MUST and the other MUST NOT.

In the MUST column, make a list of all the attributes your ideal partner should have. Be honest with yourself about what is really important to you. Don't worry, nobody is going to see this document but you. Things like values, honesty, likes to travel, likes the outdoors, has a job, intelligence, how they express love to you, etc. Just keep in mind that this is NOT a NICE TO HAVE wish list. It is a list of what attributes this person MUST absolutely have in order to be even be considered suitable.

In the next column, create a list of the things that are show stoppers. Things about a person that you will absolutely not consider. For example, if they can't live without their dog or cat and you have allergies, it is probably not going to work out. Would you put up with someone who is verbally or physically abusive? That's an easy NO WAY and should be included in this list.

When you first create the list, you may not realize what is actually important to you. I've known people who put Must be Rich on their MUST list and eventually realized that someone who is kind, caring and supportive was more important to them.

This list is not carved in stone. It is a living document that you should update whenever you feel the need. Write it up and put it away. Review it from time to time but don't carry it around like a checklist. Your subconscious will do that for you. One day, you will find someone special and realize that they are an amazing match for you were looking for.

So what about all the attributes you hope the person has, but are not necessarily a MUST? Don't worry, we got you covered. On the back of the page, create a NICE TO HAVE list. This is your wish list. It's sole purpose is to give you a place to write down your wishes. It MUST NOT be used to evaluate potential partners. If you feel that anything on this list is a MUST, put it on your MUST list instead.

If more women start to raise their expectations of what they consider a good man, men would have to step up and become better people if they want a good woman. If you are a parent, teach and expect these values to your children. You will be contributing to a better world in a significant way as they go through life being a role model for others.

Best regards,

Michael Milette