About Time

A recent survey found that the biggest barrier to candidates wanting to study IT certifications (and I would image a similar statistic was found in other areas of academia) was time. I struggled with this issue myself recently. Having to find time for a full-time job, family, friends and then to slot in time to study something was a real problem.

It also leads to procrastination. I’m not behind with my certifications as such. I’m an MCSA in Server 2012 and Windows 8 but the move to Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 meant that the hill to climb for upgrading certifications was so steep and the time I had was so little it was daunting to know where to start so I ended up avoiding it.

The best advice I could give is to split things down as much as possible and set aside a daily study target when you can dedicate yourself. If it’s hard to find an hour a day to study then do 30mins. If it’s hard to find 30mins then do 10. The key here is to do something, anything to move you forward. The hill may still seem steep but you’ll find that making short sharp steps will get you going and it’s much easier to keep going once you’ve set off.

Personally, I started with 30mins per day on a main certification, exam or topic. I then have 20 mins or so per day to split into secondary topics or exams. This is just a minimum though. I try to keep to at least this minimum. What I often find is that once I’m into a particular section or topic I often go over my minimum without realising.

Things like this take time to embed into a habit. Taking time to study seems like such a huge task and so it often takes a back seat. Commit to something small, anything, to get you going.

Free Azure Credit for Students

Microsoft have recently launched their Azure for Students programme. Students can head over to azure.microsoft.com/education to verify their student status and gain access to $100 of Azure credit. The credit includes virtual machines, AI, databases and more. It’s super simple to register so if you’re studying any cloud certification or computer science qualification then there’s no reason not to claim your free credit.


There’s also an option for educational institutions and educators to enrol so if you’re not a student but work in academia there’s something for you too.

Head over to azure.microsoft.com/education to get going.

Mac Power Users Podcast


One of my favourite podcasts lately is Mac Power Users. The show, hosted by David Sparks and Katie Floyd, takes an in depth look at Mac workflows highlighting specific software and hardware. They occasionally interview key people who are known to the show to explore their setups and explain a bit about how they use their Apple gear and what they use it for. Episode 418 on 19th February was an excellent episode. Interviewing Rose Orchard the two hosts go through her role, hardware and software in detail. Rose was excellent. Very clearly spoken and to the point. Above all her setup and workflows were inspirational and gave me some food for thought about my own setup. You can find her interview on episode 418 of Mac Power Users right here. The show notes also include the extensive list of hardware and software talked about in the show. Each of the episodes are really good but this one stood out for me. Have a listen.

Goole & Howdenshire Business Excellence Awards 2018

Friday 16th February saw the eighth annual Goole & Howdenshire Business Excellence Awards. I am proud to be an awards committee member and, as artistic technology, provide all the audio-visual services for the event.


The highly successful event sees businesses from the Goole and Howdenshire Area come together to celebrate their hard work and find out who are this year’s category winners.

From an AV perspective the event requires an opening video and a category video which are all produced in Adobe After Effects. The opening video this year had a ‘looking back theme using the Matchbox Twenty song – How far we’ve come. Each category opens with a slideshow video showcasing the best of the businesses shortlisted in that category. The presentation itself is run from Keynote with supporting sponsor presentations produced in Microsoft PowerPoint.


The production is delivered from one Apple MacBook Pro and a standard Windows laptop with audio provided by a first-generation Apple iPad Mini. Video is switched using a Kramer VP720 video switcher which feeds two 50-inch digital signage displays and a large cinema style Epson projector.

As well as audio visual content there's also a printed brochure for each attendee and certificates for the winners. This material as you would expect, is produced with Adobe Photoshop and InDesign.


The event was a huge success and it’s a privilege to be part of it. You can find out more about the awards themselves by heading over to www.goolebusinessawards.co.uk.

What's it all about?

I setup this site not simply as a commercial venture but to provide an online space to share digital art, branding and technology ideas.

I’ve worked as an IT Systems Manager in education for over 10 years and digital art has featured heavily in the IT systems I’ve designed and managed. I’m excited to now offer these services to others.

As well as the design packages I'll also be offering various resources for IT training and systems management, showing a creative side to these sometimes complex and mundane subjects.

This is not a marketing company or even a design company. This is simply about providing cost effective digital art services and a place to showcase creativity and technology coming together.

If you find something you like please feel free to take inspiration from it. If you're interested in some of the design work on show and would like some for yourself, please get in touch.

Gareth Harle