Remote connection to AWS bitnami lightsail LAMP Mysql

I’m using Sequal Pro here, but this should work for almost any connection. I’m also going to lock to a single IP for security. You could us ‘%’ for any IP, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you are on a static ip at home of at work.

Log into ssh for the relevant LAMP instance using the browser tool on the Lightsail dashboard.

cat bitnami_application_password to get your application password. Copy it somewhere as you’ll need it shortly.

Run nano /opt/bitnami/mysql/my.cnf
Comment out the line that starts with bind-address. So #bind-address...
Exit and save the file.

Update mysql permissions for root remote access with

/opt/bitnami/mysql/bin/mysql -u root -p -e "grant all privileges on *.* to 'root'@'1.2.3.4' identified by 'PASSWORD' with grant option";

Replace 1.2.3.4 with internet connection IP address. Replace PASSWORD with the password you copied above.

Restart mysql with sudo /opt/bitnami/ctlscript.sh restart mysql

Copy the IP address of your Lightsail instance. You may want to add a free static IP address, else the IP will change on restart and all this work will need doing again.

In Sequal Pro choose to add a new connection. Select the SSH tab. In both hosts, put the IP of your Lightsail server.

In mysql username put root and in password, put your password from above.

In ssh username put bitnami and in password, put your password from above.

Click to test your connection. All should connect as expected.

You’ll now need to add a database etc. Enjoy.

Android App URL Schemes

This is a functioning AndroidManifest.xml for linking via a local url scheme. In this case appname:// with any (*) following path

To test this you have to redirect to it. Chromium at this time does not understand or process app url schemes. So a 302 redirect from a trusted publicly available url is the best method for testing.

Note how the second intent-filter here is still inside the .MainActivity <activity>

Different categories and an additional <data> tag are used.

<manifest xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    package="com.appname">

    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.INTERNET" />
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE" /> 
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW"/>

    <application
      android:name=".MainApplication"
      android:label="@string/app_name"
      android:icon="@mipmap/ic_launcher"
      android:allowBackup="false"
      android:theme="@style/AppTheme">
      <activity
        android:name=".MainActivity"
        android:label="@string/app_name"
        android:configChanges="keyboard|keyboardHidden|orientation|screenSize"
        android:windowSoftInputMode="adjustResize">
        <intent-filter>
            <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" />
            <action android:name="android.intent.action.DOWNLOAD_COMPLETE"/>
            <category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER" />
        </intent-filter>
          <intent-filter android:label="@string/app_name">
              <action android:name="android.intent.action.VIEW" />
              <category android:name="android.intent.category.DEFAULT" />
              <category android:name="android.intent.category.BROWSABLE" />
              <data android:scheme="appname" android:host="*" />
          </intent-filter>
      </activity>
      <activity android:name="com.facebook.react.devsupport.DevSettingsActivity" />
    </application>

</manifest>

Moving into The Co-operative’s Federation House

Shared Desk Space

Although I spend a fair amount of time at client offices across the UK with individuals and teams, I’ve now been primarily working from home in South Manchester for twelve months. I have a work space which doubles as a spare bedroom. I have all the requirements of an office space; desk, power, wifi, tea making fascillities, but there is something missing when you work from home the majority of the week, human contact.

Working from home can be lonely. Yes, you’re answering emails to other people and you have phone or video calls to make. You might even see the postman more often. But what you don’t have, and many of us need, is face-to-face human contact.

Just being in the same space as others, even if you’re focused on completely different tasks is enough to support mental health and general wellbeing.

It’s why people work in coffee shops and bars, hot-desking spaces and hotel foyers. Many could easily stay in their rooms, or at home, but many who do will feel a growing desire to be somewhere they can see, and interact with other humans.


I’ve worked at home for long enough now to know that it works for me in the short term, but I can’t maintain the focus and feeling of success for more than a couple of days without needing to have a face-to-face conversation or some human interaction.

Thanks to new roles I’ve taken on recently (more on that soon), and previous relationships I already had in place, I’ve been lucky enough to have a desk at The Co-operatives Federation allocated to me.

The Federation is a large building in Manchester City Center, and one of the six floors is dedicated to perminent and hotdesk residents. They have access to the usually shared working space features, such as printing, kitchen, bike storage, showers wifi, etc. Thanks to the pledge everybody agrees to take when joining, and the desire for the residents to be making a difference in the world, they are also very similar in their outlook on life.

It’s great to be part of a community where the residents are broad in their backgrounds, businesses, needs and stage of growth, but without exception are approachable, supportive and open minded.

Although I won’t be at The Federation every day, it’s great to be able to cycling the four miles into the city centre, make a brew, say hello to some familiar faces and do a full day of focused work surrounded by others who are doing the same.

There is a secondary benefit to working at The Federation; an unavoidable break between work life and home life while I commute between the two.

As anybody who works in their house and only has the time it takes to walk down the stairs to defrag and switch modes between their work and their family will know, it can be very helpful to be more punctuated about that change.

I’ve previously used a short walk around the block, or nipping to the shops to help with the change, but more often than not I would take my work brain to the dining table, and nobody benefits from that.

So The Federation is a great option for me. I was in the building at least once a week anyway for an event, or to record the Tech for Good Live podcast, so making it official and seeing work and home as separate again, at least most of the time, can only be beneficial.


Do you work from home? How do you deal with lack of human interaction? What about the separation of work and home life? I’d love to hear your thoughts on Twitter.

Pressure and pragmatism lead to more progress

There are reasons that tight deadlines and huge pressure often get results.

The first is that people get immediately more pragmatic about what the actual requirements are, and agree to do less. Less can be done more quickly, and completed items are less likely to be subjected to a full loop of subjective tinkering.

The second is that when faced with a deadline, and some pressure to achieve it, people focus on just the single most important task.

The single most important thing to do right now is abundantly clear in these high pressure situations.

In many teams, and in most software teams, that single most important thing is often lacking.

Meetings, emails, taps on the shoulder, emergencies, can-u-justs. They all fog the clarity required to get that next thing done.

Add to that the general lack of team or project deadline, deadlines which are set more than a couple of days away, tasks which are large and poorly defined and cannot be completed within a couple of days, and you make the right thing to do right now a choice rather than a certainty.

Setting small achievable tasks which are attached to short deadlines will get a team doing less, but creating more value. Even if that’s within the container of a project, release, sprint or phase.

As a nice side effect, it will also lead to feelings of progress and success for those involved.

Supporting Manchester Metropolitan University

In 2007, when I was still pondering over what to do with the rest of my life, I was encouraged by family to become a resident of Manchester Metropolitan University’s business incubator.

At the time it was called Innospace and based near the coach station in the centre of the city centre. Although the space was pretty basic, the support was great, networking with other small exciting businesses was unavoidable and the rent was almost zero.

Fast forward ten years and after occasionally keeping in touch with the team who kept Innospace ticking over, I decided it was time to give something back for all the support I was given when first finding my feet in business.


So for a few years now I’ve been speaking to MMU business school students about my story and how I’ve managed to enjoy working for myself and running my own companies for so long. The first couple of years of talks I stuck to my own experiences and failings. In the last couple of years I’ve broadened my presentations to be about specific learnings or recommendations. Life skills and awareness. What a student’s expectations should be and what abilities they should nurture to support their own journey.

This year I’ve stepped my support up again. I’ve squeezed in two talks to students and also taken part in the yearly dragons’ den event.

My first talk was called “Doing Less”. As the title suggests it is about creating a successful business without burning yourself out. Retirement in its current form is unlikely to exist when these people reach retirement age, and a more balanced life, with flexibility, quality of life, and treating money as a tool rather than a target is required.

The second was on bootstrapping a business. Only a small percentage of new businesses are funded by banks and investors. This talk is about the opportunities, limitations, pitfalls and benefits of starting with nothing and building a business yourself.

The dragons’ den final was a pleasure to be a part of. Hosted at BManchester—a new banking concept from the group which includes Yorkshire Bank—on Market Street Manchester, it was a modern and relaxed feeling with various experienced and insightful judges at my side.

The 7 teams offered a range of business ideas. The quality of business strategy and presentation was high, and the judging was tough.

We finally agreed upon two highly commended businesses and a winner. We also commended three individuals on various aspects of their approach to the process.


I’ve enjoyed all aspects of the support I’ve been able to offer MMU in 2019. I see it as a personal responsibility to give back to those who’ve supported me, and to offer insight and knowledge which helps Manchester to continue to encourage small businesses to be founded and thrive.

I’m looking forward to supporting MMU again next year, and other institutions and organisations in the near future.