“Distributed” ER#4 now available!

Book Cover for DistributedTo start off the new year on a good note, “Distributed” Early Release #4 is now publicly available.

Early Release #4 (ER#4) adds five (yes, five!) new chapters:
* Ch.3 disaster planning
* Ch.5 physical setup
* Ch.6 video etiquette
* Ch.19 career path (around choosing the right employers)
* Ch.20 feed your soul (around mental sanity for long term “remoties”)
…as well as many tweaks/fixes to pre-existing Chapters.

You can buy ER#4 by clicking here, or clicking on the thumbnail of the book cover. ER#4 comes just over one month after ER#3. Anyone who already has ER#1, ER#2 or ER#3 should get prompted with a free update to ER#4 – if you don’t please let me know! And yes, you’ll get updated when ER#5 comes out at the end of the month.

As always, please let me know what you think of the book so far. Is there anything you found worked for you, as a “remotie” or person in a distributed team, which you wish you knew when you were starting? If you knew someone about to setup a distributed team, what would you like them to know before they started?

Thank you to everyone who’s already sent me feedback/opinions/corrections – I track all of them and review/edit/merge as fast as I can. To make sure that any feedback doesn’t get lost or caught in spam filters, please email comments to feedback at oduinn dot com.

Thanks again to everyone for their ongoing encouragement, proof-reading help and feedback so far.

Happy New Year!
ps: For the curious, here is the current list of chapters and their status:

Chapter 1: Remoties trend – AVAILABLE
Chapter 2: The real cost of an office – AVAILABLE
Chapter 3: Disaster Planning – AVAILABLE
Chapter 4: Mindset – AVAILABLE
Chapter 5: Physical Setup – AVAILABLE
Chapter 6: Video Etiquette – AVAILABLE
Chapter 7: Own your calendar – AVAILABLE
Chapter 8: Meetings – AVAILABLE
Chapter 9: Meeting Moderator – AVAILABLE
Chapter 10: Single Source of Truth
Chapter 11: Email Etiquette – AVAILABLE
Chapter 12: Group Chat Etiquette
Chapter 13: Culture, Trust and Conflict
Chapter 14: One-on-Ones and Reviews – AVAILABLE
Chapter 15: Joining and Leaving
Chapter 16: Bring Humans Together – AVAILABLE
Chapter 17: Career path – AVAILABLE
Chapter 18: Feed your soul – AVAILABLE
Chapter 19: Final Chapter

HOWTO fix Skype hang during login on OSX 10.10.5

A few days ago, my Skype stopped working. Specifically, every time I started Skype, it would hang while logging into the Skype network. It took a while to debug this, so here are the details of how I fixed it, in case it helps others – or I have to do this again!

What am I running:

  • MacBookPro running OSX 10.10.5
  • Skype-for-Mac v7.18.342

When starting Skype, I saw the usual blue Skype window with the white blob moving in a circular pattern to show progress… and after literally one second or maybe two seconds, that blue window would disappear, leaving the Skype icon grayed out on the Mac taskbar. If I tab-switched to the Skype application, the mouse cursor would instantly pinwheel and the Skype menus would not respond to any mouse clicks. If I pressed command-option-escape to view all running applications, the Skype application was listed as “Not responding”. At first, I dismissed it as some odd intermittent problem, then killed and restarted Skype. Only to have it hang again, exactly the same way. This hang happened 100% of the time.

It had been almost a week since I last used Skype, so I wasn’t *certain* what I had changed since my last Skype call. I knew there were no hardware changes, OS patch changes. If anything changed at all, it is possible that Skype auto-updated or that Adobe Flash prompted me to manually update since my last Skype call, but I am not 100% certain.

Here’s some things I tried first, unsuccessfully:

  • Force-quit Skype. Double-click on Skype to restart it. Hang.
  • Force-quite Skype. Reboot mac. Double-click on Skype to restart it. Hang.
  • To verify that my Skype account was ok, the Skype servers were up-and-running, and my wifi router was not misbehaving, I started Skype on my phone and also on my tablet. Both logged in fine, using wifi and both worked first time.
  • Download the latest version of Skype (which was the same 7.18.342 version) from Skype.com download page. Installed new download of Skype 7.18.342 over existing installation of Skype 7.18.342. Reboot mac. Double-click on Skype to restart it. Hang.
  • All to no success.

Frustrated, I spent some time googling the internet, tried lots of variations on the above steps – all without success. Finding old unanswered pleas for help in customer forums from others with the same problem is never encouraging. Now it was serious. I finally stumbled across this post about Skype crashing a computer which helped – even though my skype was not crashing, and certainly not crashing my computer!

Here’s the steps that fixed it:

  • Kill Skype. Out of paranoia, I rebooted my mac.
  • Using Chooser, rename the directory “/Users/[your-user-name]/Library/Application Support/Skype” to “/Users/[your-user-name]/Library/Application Support/Skype.broken_yyyy_mm_dd” (I find this helps me later figure out when I last had to fix this problem!)
  • Change skype on Dock to not auto-start on login.
  • Download new installation Skype dmg from Skype.com download page. At time of writing, the latest version was v7.18.342 v7.19.407. v7.21.350
  • Install new Skype 7.19.407 over existing installation of Skype.
  • Reboot mac.
  • Double-click on Skype icon on Mac Dock or in Application folder. (Do *not* double-click on skype.app located in the “Application Support” folder – that will not work.)
  • Success!
  • On first login, my contacts and previous messages were all missing. However, over the next minute or so, all my previous contacts as well as all previous messages showed up again. When all settled down, the only thing that was missing all was my “starred contacts” list, which was easy to manually re-create.

Hope that helps.
(Updated to include new version of Skype, and to note that after several weeks of Skype running just fine, Skype hung again this morning. If this happens again with Skype v7.19.407, I’ll update this post. joduinn 27jan2016)

(Updated to include new version of Skype, and to note that after several weeks of Skype running just fine, Skype hung again just now after reboot. Unclear if caused by reboot or by upgrade to xcode, which caused me to reboot. Lets see if this new version v7.21.350 works better. joduinn 27feb2016)