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How to Be a (Great) Software Developer

[This article was first published on gooroo.io]

I didn’t always know I wanted to be a software developer, and I certainly didn’t know that I was going to end up inspiring and teaching other developers how to be awesome and even better at what they do. I didn’t set out from school with a great vision of taking over the bits and bytes of all your computers, but I have always been interested in computers and technology. In this article I will share some of the top tips I have found over the years that can launch you into a software career.

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7 Reasons Why the Universal Windows Platform is a Big Deal

I have been doing a few talks lately on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), and there are several more to come. Often though, I’m asked “Why is it such a big deal?” or “Why should I care?” Completely reasonable and relevant questions, especially given my public fascination and fanboy-ism of Windows Phone. However, there is a lot more to UAP than merely Windows Phone.

Microsoft has a vision of “One Windows”, which in essence means that your apps can run on a single platform that spans all of the different form factors running Windows, whether that is Raspberry Pi or tablet, or even Xbox. I have decided to try and spell out why it is so important, not just for the Microsoft stack and developers, but for tech in general. Here are my top 7 reasons.

Windows10 One Platform

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Windows 10 and Cross Platform Development

[This article was first published on gooroo.io]

Windows 10 is looming and already details of new features and new components are emerging. In this series of articles I will cover the new features of Windows, both as an IT Professional as well as a developer. The amount of work and investment made by Microsoft into the Windows eco-system means that this is not a small update, but a key to the future success of the platform. One of the new features is a cross platform capability of apps that is unmatched anywhere. In the not too distant future you will be able to run your Windows 10 apps on phone, tablet, desktop, Xbox, Internet of Things (such as a Raspberry Pi), HoloLens and many many more devices.

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Continuum for Windows and Universal Windows Apps

There was soooo many cool things announced at //build and a lot of them I knew about with the rest of the Microsoft geek community. HoloLens is awesome and I want one, but we kinda know what it is and what it can do. And as a developer there is still a lot of unknowns on how I get my code onto it. I will touch on HoloLens in a separate post.

There was also the massive surprise that iOS and Android now have SDKs for Visual Studio so you can take your existing app and port it relatively smoothly across to the Windows platform.

What is it?

One of the announcements that was kinda brushed aside a bit and was given the “that’s cool, but what is next” treatment was Continuum. If you haven’t heard of it, it is basically new hardware inside mobile devices that allows you to use your phone as desktop computer. Attached a screen via HDMI or Miracast, mouse and keyboard via Bluetooth, and you have a desktop experience out of your pocket. To get a better feel for what I mean watch Joe Belfiore below introducing Continuum.

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Xamarin Hackday – Melbourne

Last year I organised a successful Xamarin Hackday in conjunction with SSW, and now it is on again! On the last Saturday of May, I have assembled a great group of expert speakers and helpers for a day of geeking and knowledge sharing around the cross platform of choice. It is free to attend and if you show up on time, I will even make sure there is a bite to eat and some coffee for you. Yep, that is my plan to get you started on the right foot.

To sign up go here.

Speakers

Clinton Rocksmith

Clinton Rocksmith

Kym Philpotts

Kym Phillpotts

Filip Ekberg

Filip Ekberg

Michael Ridland

Michael Ridland

Adam Cogan

Adam Cogan [SSW]


Windows 10 & Cortana – Personal Assistance Everywhere

[This article was first published on gooroo.io]

Most people are familiar with Siri on iOS and Google Now on Android, but the much more personal and arguably more helpful Cortana on the Windows platform is not as well known. And that is a shame. In terms of contextual assistance and personalised service, Cortana is more advanced and more adaptive than her competitors. Yes, “her”.

Getting Up to Speed

Before I get into Cortana’s great promise, let’s have a quick look at how she currently helps out. Whereas Siri is a bit robotic and feels automated, Cortana understands almost natural language (I say “almost, as there are some quirks, especially with non-American English). You can for example tell Cortana “Remind me to pick up kittens next time I’m at the supermarker” and she will know when you are in a supermarket and then pop up a reminder on your phone. Continue Reading


Gooroo Ambassador Program

In conjunction with last year’s DDD Melbourne event, we were approached by MS Gooroo wanting to be a sponsor. We had never heard of them, but Jaq, Carl and Terence were keen to be involved and we gladly invited them to be part of our little developer event. It was a great success, and the guys at Gooroo (as it is now called, “MS’ is dropped) delivered a great presentation as well as sponsored great prizes.

After the event I was asked to be a part of the Gooroo Ambassador Program, a platform to write and publish articles. I happily accepted as the company is a great start-up and the things they do are awesome. I will from time to time publish articles on Gooroo Think and link to them from here as well.

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Getting the Troy Hunt Treatment – New Pluralsight Course

About a month ago I was in Salt Lake City for the annual Pluralsight Authors’ Summit. It was a weekend of incredible learnings regarding authoring and publishing, invaluable networking with fellow authors and of course having some fun in the snow as well.

I haven’t authored a course for some months and that is due to cloning myself, moving house, changing jobs and many other things happening, but when Pluralsight asked if Troy Hunt and I wanted to do a Play By Play course on website security I jumped on it. So while we were in Salt Lake City, we sat down for a couple of hours to record a live session with Troy casting his hacker eyes on a product called Sugar Learning built by SSW, the company I work for.

The course will show some of the most common areas of website security that you can relatively easily fix yourself by following the steps and using the tools we show you. A small sample can be seen below, and you watch the whole thing right now on Pluralsight.

 


Hello Microsoft Band. Goodbye Fitbit and Pebble.

For the last few weeks I have been sporting a Microsoft Band, a fitness tracker and wearable gadget from the software giant. It isn’t the first time that Microsoft has made hardware. In the past we have seen peripheral PC hardware such as mice and keyboards, and of course there is the Xbox franchise just to name a few. But this is the first time that Microsoft has created an almost Apple like interest in a product. The first batch of Bands that was released back on 29 October 2014 sold out in a matter of days. It is also the first time that software has been released for iOS, Android and Windows Phone to accommodate all three major platforms and allow non-microsoft users to pick up a Band.

It is in more ways than one a turning point for Microsoft.

Band Box

 

First Impressions

First impression of the Band is mostly praise. It feels like quality, it feels well-built and it has a nice finish to it. Having used a FitBit for about a year the Band does come across as a little bulky. It isn’t particular flexible and it takes a little practise to put it on without feeling like you are pulling it beyond what the strap can do.

The touch screen is small, but it works. It is a bit strange getting used to a tiny touch screen of 320 by 106 pixels when we are just getting used to touch devices growing in size all the time. But then again, I wouldn’t want a Lumia 1520 on my wrist. Continue Reading


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