My COVID-19 Tech Stack: It’s all about Communications and Collaboration

During the pandemic, I’ve been fine-tuning my personal technology stack the whole time. My personal attitude about apps is that the application work for me, I don’t work for the application. So while I’m the first person to experiment with a new application, it needs to be easy to use.

Here’s how my current pandemic tech stack looks:

Continue reading “My COVID-19 Tech Stack: It’s all about Communications and Collaboration”

A case of the Mondays: COVID-19 edition

I wish I would have written down when my state shutdown because of COVID-19. While I remain thankful that I have a job and career that lets me work from home, It’s getting harder to track the days. I’m setting more reminders, referring to my calendar more, and at peace knowing that I can always ask Alexa what’s the date and time when I wake up.

Anyhow, I blew off this blog last week but for excellent reason. Work got busy. I also had a pitch hit in a new market and had to get writing. Then I had a TechTarget deadline for SearchCloudComputing. Writing is one thing that takes my mind off of being stuck at home because of COVID-19.

Here’s how my Monday went:

  • I woke up this morning and knew what day it was without having to ask Alexa, so I’ll take that as a win.
  • I had a productive Monday at work and made two deadlines.
  • I had the energy, and motivation to exercise before I ate dinner.
  • The governor of Virginia — a politician I can’t respect — alluded to the state might enter the first stage of opening up on May 15th and I hope to the heart of hearts he’s not playing around.

Along the way, my Pandemic beard is really growing in after a few weeks of not shaving. If only I could grow a man bun too, but I think that’s too much to hope for at my age. #JustKidding

How did Monday treat you?

Self-isolation status report: Finding a new pace

Photo by Mr.Autthaporn Pradidpong on Unsplash

As week 5 of self-isolation trudges on, I’m finding a new pace to get work done and to keep moving forward. Last night, I mustered up the motivation to work out with my new kettlebells and plan to up my exercise game yet again today.

Here’s what else I have going on:

  • I won the jackpot last night and was to get an Amazon Prime Fresh delivery through, which made me feel good.
  • I’m still washing my hands…a lot.
  • I’m trying to get better at eating again after the first few weeks of shutdown.
  • I did the author review on my latest article for Opensource.com which should be live soon. There should be another article following up right after that one.
  • My hope at the start of the current shutdown was to get some personal writing projects done and published and I’m moving forward on that plan. I’m still not happy with publishing articles on LinkedIn. In fact, so unhappy that I’m experimenting by publishing the same article to Medium (since it now supports canonical links).
  • I sent out some pitches to new markets and keeping my fingers crossed I can find some extra work.

Tonight, the plan includes getting back to writing for an upcoming TechTarget article and spending more time with my kettlebells.

How goes your self-isolation?

Week 2 ends with some lessons learned

Photo from Pexels by Pixabay

Friday normally represents a changing of gears for me. It’s the end of the workweek. It’s a day off from the gym so my evening is free to fun and other pursuits. I look forward to Saturday morning when I can go to the gym and then go work on personal projects. Well, my gym is still closed but I’ll be writing a new article for TechTarget tomorrow.

Lessons learned during the last two weeks:

  • Go to the grocery store first thing in the morning with a list of items. Be prepared that some of what I want won’t be in stock
  • Keep my airpods charged up at all times
  • Keep a to-do list, even if it’s overly ambitious, and prioritize personal projects
  • Keep to a schedule even for personal projects and tasks
  • Try to take some time for fun even if you have to put the time in your schedule

What are some things you’ve learned during the last two weeks?

Integrating Atlassian Confluence Cloud with Microsoft Teams

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

I’ve been following the rise of Microsoft Teams for some time now as the collaboration tools geek that I can sometimes be. The third-party integrations coming available in Microsoft Teams continue to get interesting — throwing away the old Microsoft rule of a 100% Microsoft stack — by enabling integration with third-party SaaS and other applications. I’m especially happy to see the Teams integration with Atlassian Confluence Cloud.

Confluence Cloud and the Teams Store

Microsoft Teams uses an app model for easy integration with Atlassian Confluence Cloud. The app store model is well known so while Teams doesn’t break any new ground here, I did find the store to be responsive and easy to use.

Microsoft Teams Store Landing Page

Microsoft Teams integration made easy

I’ve long been on record that collaboration and group chat applications need to be open to the end users instead of being locked down with service desk tickets being the only key to unlocking them. When administrators give users the appropriate Teams and Confluence privileges, it’s a real easy install and integration.

Click on Store from the sidebar of the Teams application. The Store appears. Search for Confluence and Confluence Cloud selection appears on your screen.

Confluence Cloud in the Teams Store

Select a Team in which to add Confluence Cloud integration from the Add to a Team: drop-down list. Click Install.


Now select the channel where you want to use Confluence Cloud. Click Setup. You only have to do the setup once for Confluence Cloud to be available to authorized users across your other Teams and Channels.


Next, follow the prompts from the Confluence Cloud dialog box. You can now add a reference to a Confluence page residing on your Confluence Cloud. Here’s an example:


When you click on View in Confluence, you are taken directly into Confluence to the page or File list.

Teams + Confluence Cloud

The integration between Teams and Confluence is a smart move. It shows a Microsoft that looks beyond its own technology stack by offering their enterprise customers the tools they need to get the job done. Confluence Cloud is a favorite of DevOps teams because it offers authoring tools that SharePoint just can’t touch.

I’m also a proponent of project teams choosing and managing their own collaboration platforms. Using Microsoft Teams makes that easy because while the company itself may use SharePoint as their standard collaboration platform, their DevOps team can still link to Atlassian Confluence — their preferred collaboration platform — to get their work done.

Personally, I like the thought of using this app to send links to documents or pages to busy executives and others who might shy away from using Confluence.

Why will you be integrating Confluence Cloud with Microsoft Teams?


I’m a technical writer and content development manager living and working in Northern Virginia. Over my career, I’ve written bylined articles for ITSearchOperations, DevOps Agenda, Mobile Business Insights, CNET TechRepublic, and others. My areas of interest include cloud computing, DevOps, enterprise mobility, and collaboration tools. Follow me on Twitter: @willkelly.