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Planning and control tools – Remember the milk

Category: Website Reviews January 5th, 2012 by mbc

I don’t really talk about project management on this blog. I prefer to focus on my fumbling attempts at labouring, carpentry, landscape gardening and so on. But having decided against an architect and / or project manager way back at the start of converting the barn I’ve taken on the project management (above and beyond co-ordination of the original building work) myself. I don’t especially enjoy project management, it’s a part of what I do when in my day job and so isn’t new or challenging, more a necessary evil than anything else. However, I have used some tools that have assisted me and I thought it might be worth writing about them and perhaps making a recommendation or two.

Remember the Milk
I avoided to-do lists for a long time, but as the small, easily forgotten details began to mount up during the final phase of the project they became essential. I needed a solution that would be available pretty much wherever I was and whatever I was doing, I’m prone to leaving notebooks just where I don’t want them to be (in the ‘other’ room, in my ‘other’ jacket…) so a technology based solution accessible from my phone or any PC was what I wanted. After a pretty broad sweep of the available options I settled on Remember the Milk (RTM):

  • RTM allows access to to-do lists via the web,
  • via dedicated apps (as in the case of the iPad/iPhone application),
  • or via interfaces with third party applications such as the Blackberry Task application, Twitter and email

…so ticks all the boxes for me. I can access my lists from any of the various computers I use via the web (with a quick and easy to use Google account based login so no need to remember another password). I use the iPad app for heavy duty planning, updating and editing. I use my Blackberry Task list for checking the to-do list when I’m out and about, ticking items off or adding items in ‘real-time’. All my bases are covered!

You can create multiple lists – I keep separate lists for each project I’m involved in (one for the Barn, one for software projects etc.) and general lists such as my Shoppinglist to which I post all items to be bought which can be quickly referred to when in B&Q or wherever. All items can have text tags added and URL’s or locations associated with them. I use the prioritisation feature to ensure that the most pressing items always rise to the top of the list (& my attention).

You’ll need to buy a $25 per year Pro account to make use of the smartphone / iPad apps, but I think that’s money well spent – certainly carries my recommendation.

RememberTheMilk.com

www.rememberthemilk.com

In their own words: Remember The Milk is the popular to-do list that’s everywhere you are: from your phone, to the web, to your Google apps, and more. Used by millions worldwide.

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Woodworking Plans

Category: Website Reviews July 5th, 2011 by mbc

When it comes to the barn, at the moment, the skill about which I know very little, but with which I plan to achieve much is woodworking.

I have the following on my to-do list to be built: shelves under the stairs, book cases along the landing, a cabin bed and boxing-in in the second bedroom, a woodstore, a garden gate, some garden storage, planters and a shelter for the gas bottles. Each of these projects will require some pretty skillful woodworking if I’m to get the level of finish I aim for. In reality, I’ll probably need to buy some of these in, but at the moment I like to think I can do them myself (except perhaps the garden gate, I think that’s probably one for the professionals).

For some obscure reason, there seem to be lots of wood-working plans freely available on the internet (is woodworking big in America?), but most I’ve seen are pretty poor quality. Then the other day I came across the California Redwood Association website and some great woodworking plans. The measurements are in feet and inches so won’t suit the modern British builder and they suggest the use of redwood, which is pretty tricky to get at B&Q(!), but I really like these clear, concise and very usable plans. So far I’ve go my eye on the Petaluma Planters and Garden Tool Shed plans and there are more on the Project Plans page.

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Welsh Slate

Category: Website Reviews December 22nd, 2010 by mbc

I have a very small amount of slate roofing to do and I was very pleased to come across a website that contains some great data-sheets on how to go about roofing with slates >>

Welsh Slate.com
StoneWorks Ltd

In their own words: “Welsh//Slate based in North Wales is the worlds leading manufacturer of high quality roofing slate, architectural and aggregate slate products. Welsh//Slate roofing products have an unparalleled reputation for durability and quality.”

The link will take you to the sites Design & Installation (Technical) page from where you can find plenty of related and well laid out data-sheets.

Informative and Welsh… what more could you want?

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Maintenance [really does] matter

Category: Website Reviews July 22nd, 2010 by mbc

I discovered a great source of information on the maintenance and restoration of old buildings on the new Maintenance Matters website. The site has been produced by Cadw, the ‘official guardian of the built heritage of Wales’. Short publications on such subjects as lime-washing, repointing and replacing sash cords are freely available and well worth a read if you’re looking for heritage building advice.

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Stoneworks

Category: Website Reviews February 22nd, 2010 by mbc

One thing I realised from my recent post on the downstairs travertine floor was that I haven’t recommended Stoneworks who are the company I bought the travertine flooring from and I’ve subsequently ordered mosiac tiles from for the splashbacks. I’ve always received great service from them and wouldn’t hesitate to use them again.

It’s also worth contacting them for any advice you may need related to tiling with natural stone wall or floor tiles.

StoneWorks Ltd
StoneWorks Ltd

In their own words: "Stoneworks supplies high quality natural stone wall and floor products at competitive prices."

Thanks StoneWorks!

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Progress

Autumn 2013

Right that’s the summer over with, now I can get on with some real work without the distractions of other things (like holidays and playing with children, all that enjoyable stuff that gets in the way of progress)… With few major jobs (painting, boxing in – nasty stuff!) left inside, mainly fiddly things that need […]

I’m having a moan on twitter… https://twitter.com/barnconversion/status/368427314868396032

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Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part B Fire safety

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Architecture

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