I have a Hanns-G HW191D flat-panel monitor I got myself (for work) last Christmas. It’s beautiful – except that one of its critical settings for my viewing situation resets to the default of ‘off’ every time the monitor hibernates. I have to turn this feature back on 10 times per day, and that’s pretty irritating.

I wrote to Hanns-G explaining the problem, and (2 days later) someone wrote me back to explain that my monitor in fact doesn’t even have this feature.

Hmm.

I took photos of the menu where said nonexistent feature is turned on and off and sent them back to this tech. Hopefully he’ll believe me and I’ll get something done about this. The monitor’s great in every other way.

Yes, it’s starting off wonderfully. A support request to activeCollab resulted in a request to me to provide an admin-level account on my activeCollab install – but I can’t do that without an email address. Impediment to Being Productive #1.

My client who’s vacationing in Germany got his site in Minnesota back up this morning. I tried installing the CMS software, but because his host has some strange FTP setup going on, was unable to use the autoinstaller. I now have to wait for permission from the client (who’s still in Germany) to take extra time with a manual installation (the same thing happened with another client yesterday). Impediment to Being Productive #2.

I have to get out of the house for a few hours for some maintenance work, so I’m out of their way, but that’s Impediment to Being Productive #3 and it’s only 9:15 here. This does not bode well for the rest of the day.

Oh, lest I forget – the new TweetDeck update causes TD to always open off the bottom of the screen on my second monitor. That’s a real annoyance that’s got a lot of TD users irritated, but nothing’s been done about it yet. I suppose that could be Minor Impediment to Being Productive #1.

You never know when a competitor might become an ally or even a partner – so it’s a good idea not to alienate the like-minded professionals in your own community.

I just read a post in a local web design company’s blog in which they described themselves as ‘the leading web design company in Fort Collins and the Front Range’ and referred to the rest of us as the ‘nearly 100 companies in Northern Colorado claiming to do web development.’

That’s pretty arrogant. Certainly not claims that my own studio would ever feel comfortable making.

There are plenty of professional web designers and developers in our region who do not fall into the ‘kid just out of school’ camp. Many of them do excellent work, and some even go to great lengths to educate their clients on how to make good decisions about their websites.

For the most part, I’ve found my competitors to be excellent colleagues when I’ve had the opportunity to work with them. As design pros in a smaller market, I think banding together can be more important for us – and more beneficial for clients – than standing apart and making claims that are actually pretty hard to substantiate.

I’ve been using the free, old version of activeCollab for years and was pretty happy with it, except for one major problem – there’s no way to save a project template. So every time I created a new project, I would spend 1-2 hours setting up all the milestones and tasks.

That was getting very time-consuming, so I started looking for other solutions. Basecamp was pretty good but seemed expensive with its monthly payments – $24 to $49 per month depending on how busy things were. Then I looked at the paid version of activeCollab.

It looked good -very similar to what I had, but quite enhanced from that level. I bought a $10 hosted demo that was fully functional for 30 days, and used it for three projects. I loved the fact that I could now create a project template (or as many as I wanted) – that was the biggest thing for me.

So my demo expired and I was ready to buy. activeCollab comes in two versions – Small Biz ($199)  and Corporate ($399). Two of the main differences were that the Corp had both the calendar and time tracking. I could live without those, so I bought Small Biz.

Today they sent me my hosted demo database so I could import my projects into my new install. That worked flawlessly, but when I logged in and started working on one, I kept getting an error.

I went back to their site and discovered that managing tasks, which I would consider to be a crucial, default-level function in any project management applications, apparently  is not important for small business users.

I spent quite a lot of time researching my options, then actually using this software in the last month. I like AC a lot – but if I’d read the list of differences more carefully I would probably have not even considered this product.

Now I’m not sure what I’m going to do.  Should I fork over the additional $200? That really rubs me the wrong way, paying for something that IMO should be included as a very basic feature. But if I spend more time going out and looking for something else, would I just be better off giving in and buying this upgrade? Ack ack ack.

February started off with a bang – I attended several days of Web Directions North in Denver the first week (I still need to blog about some of that), which was great – I’ll go again if they come here in the future. You can view/listen to many of the presentations here.

So I was already behind and worked that first weekend, and got mostly caught up. Tuesday night was camera club – and I really intended to go, but it started snowing about 45 minutes beforehand and I had a bit of a sore throat, so I decided not to go.

Good thing too – the next morning I woke up feeling rather blah, stayed in and got caught up on the rest of my most pressing work, and went to the store for some meds in case I actually had something unpleasant.

Thursday morning I woke up feeling like I’d been run over by a large truck. Zycam did not help (it usually does if it’s a cold, so we assumed it was the flu). My husband was about 1/2 day ahead of me with symptoms, and that was bad because there was no sympathy in the house. The dogs were very unhappy about being inside for so many days in a row.

The only time I ventured out between Thursday and Sunday was for an interview on Friday morning that I had no business attending. The clients put me at one end of the table and gave me hot tea, and I suppose I earned brownie points for coming because I got the job – a pretty nice-sized Joomla site.

I got virtually no work done between that Thursday afternoon and Sunday, but we did level our mains to 80 in WoW. So that’s something!

The next week I had two meetings on Tuesday, was feeling a bit better and then found out I had a sinus infection on Wednesday.

It was just not a very good 10 days for me.

The rest of the month I was productive – I pulled in about 3 new jobs, launched one site and did a lot of maintenance work on several others.  Things are pretty much back to normal and I’m looking forward to a less exciting March.