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Asking Great Questions and Diagnostics – New Pluralsight Course with Jon Skeet

In a traditional software development education process you’ll learn about PC architecture, algorithm design, language constructs, mathematics and more programming specific skills. What you don’t learn, is how to ask great questions and creating a resource for future developers. Being able to articulate and explain a problem in its simplest form is a crucial skill in not only getting a resolution to your problem, but also assisting the current community to be even better.

I will be the first to admit that I am not a “forum guy”. I don’t trawl user forums and developer community sites to see where my expertise can be used to solve someones query. I choose to spend my time in other places, such as online courses, user groups, presentations, webinars and many other things. However, like almost any other developer I use the knowledge of Stack Overflow all the time. I am very appreciative of that resource and the system it provides to filter out the best (and worst) questions and answers. And when it comes to Stack Overflow royalty it doesn’t get much higher than Jon skeet. Jon has the highest ranked profile on the site BY A MILE! So it made complete sense to me to team up with Jon to create a course with Pluralsight on how to ask questions in a developer world.

This is an unusual course that focuses on a very technical issue in a very non-technical context. I get to pick Jon’s brain on how to create a great question, right from the worst incarnation of one. We go through the process of doing as much as possible to find the best way to ask a question, including how to word it, how to do your own diagnostics and different ways to ask the same question depending on context. Jon’s enthusiasm and passion for this topic comes through as a flood of positive energy.

This course is a must watch for all software developers. If we could all aim to be at Jon’s level when it comes to creating and answering great questions for the greater good of the community, we would all win.

Check out the Play by Play: Problem Solving in a Developer World today.


ngrx Handles Managed State in Angular – New Pluralsight Course

Way back in June I had the privilege of sitting down with Duncan Hunter in Oslo and talk about ngrx for Angular. At the time I had very little knowledge of the topic, but Duncan assured me it was the latest little black dress for Angular. While at NDC Oslo we recorded a Play by Play course for Pluralsight on just this topic.

In short, ngrx is state management for you Angular application, something that is very difficult to handle on the web, which is by definition stateless. However, ngrx is merely a library for Angular so you aren’t learning a whole new framework or setting up projects you aren’t familiar with. The ngrx library gives you a managed store, which is handled by using reducers and effects. The following diagram gives you an idea of the new flow you get with ngrx.

We are immensely proud of this course and in the first week it has gone to number 22 of all courses on Pluralsight in terms of viewers, so we must have done something right! If you want to learn more about ngrx, please do watch this course. It is currently the only one on the topic in the Pluralsight library.


7 Tips to Making Your Niche a Career

Knowing what you are good at, and knowing what you can make a living out of, are not always the same thing. In my opinion though, if you don’t do something you love, eventually you become bored or even worse, numb. Most people will have specific interests that excites them and keeps them awake way past their bedtime. These passions and interests are what we should nurture and grow. This article first published on gooroo.io

Finding your true calling in life is not always easy to do, and often gets overshadowed by having to get an education, find a job and then get on with paying bills and living your life. A lot of people will get a degree, certificate, diploma or other evidence of having completed some form of education and hopefully it will be in a field they are interested in. However, a few years on and I very often hear that people are either bored in their current job, realized they aren’t as interested in what they studied as they thought they’d be, or just doing something completely different.

Often, we don’t know exactly what we will be doing for the rest of our working life. I know, I certainly didn’t. I genuinely believe finding your niche and nurturing it will be a possible career path, and below I give 10 tips to doing just that.

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No Excuses: HTTPS is Dead Easy to Implement – New Pluralsight Course

Ever since I have been involved in any kind of web development and web technologies, having a secure website running over HTTPS (which is nowadays actually TLS) was a really difficult task. It required very specific knowledge about web servers, about certificate creation and installation, a very specific sequence of steps and a lot of money to renew the certificate(s) every year.

Having a web site served securely was something for the big sites, and the ones who’s services required it (such as banks). However, the last few years have seen a ton of data leaked and services breached. It has almost become an accepted reality that your online data will be sold, leaked or otherwise distributed around the net. These leaks mean that the data you share on the Internet should ideally be secure from end to end, to at least minimise some of the risk.

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Using Happiness as a Career Path

Happiness is a very lose term and it means something different to each person. Pretty much everyone can agree that happiness is something we want in our life and we often strive to achieve. In this article I first published for gooroo.io I explore how you can make it part of your every day work routine and how you can make a living out of being happy.

I would imagine most people aren’t sure what they want to do as a career for the rest of their lives when they come out of high school, university or whatever their last educational step might be. You can’t know every possibility that is available to you, and you probably never will. I worked as an accountant, a teacher, a cinema usher, customer support and fruit & vegetable sales person. And those were all before I started my computer science degree. My point is that you won’t always know what you are good at, what you find exciting or what you want to do for years and years, until you do it.

In this article I’ll share some tips on finding your passion and making a living from it. Tips that have worked for me and that I still live by. Tips for using happiness as a career path, and not just as an occasional state of mind.

Do what you love

It is a cliche and you have probably heard the same advice from a hundred different people. “Do what you love and you will never hate your job”. It isn’t always as easy as that of course and I have had a number of jobs including fruit and vegetable sales person, accountants assistant, consultant, customer support and billing systems engineer, before I found what I really loved doing. Although I didn’t love all those jobs on their own, I now acknowledge that they were all part of my journey to find the right work for me. Without those jobs, some more fun and interesting than others, I wouldn’t have been where I am today.

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What are Digital Realities? – New Pluralsight Course

Just yesterday I did another interview about HoloLens, what it is and how it fits into the world of virtual and augmented reality. It is a question I get a lot at conferences, user groups, client meetings and of course on social media. Had you asked me two years ago it was a reasonably straight forward answer, with three distinct categories of digital realities.

However, as the technologies evolve, and especially with the introduction of Apple’s AR Kit and Google’s AR Core, the lines are blurring. The once firm definitions are becoming more gray so much so that fellow HoloDeveloper Rene Schulte the other day did a 12min video to explain where mixed reality belong. It will likely end up being all the same definition, whether it is virtual, augmented, mixed or something else entirely. It is both exciting and frustrating at the same time.

Back in June 2017 I was presenting at NDC Oslo and while there I recorded a number of play by play courses for Pluralsight. One of those was with my good mate Stephen Haunts (who has glorious hair) on exactly this topic: digital realities. If you don’t know what a play by play is, go read Steve’s post about it in detail.

Pluralsight Play by Play Recordings at NDC Oslo

The course is now live and is a great insight into how you can get started building apps for mixed reality and HoloLens. Go watch the trailer now!


Introduction to Google ARCore Development

I have been experimenting with augmented reality on various platforms for a while, and this article describes how to get started with Google’s AR Core platform. First published on gooroo.io.

In the past couple of years, if not more, the technology of virtual, augmented and, lately, mixed realities have taken a huge leap forward both for consumers as well as enterprise. Initially augmented reality (AR) almost entirely consisted of overlaying data on the real world, triggered by a shape, a logo, a QR code, or something else that could be easily recognised. Most of all it was very similar to a heads up display. Not really interacting with the real world, not really being part of your reality.

In January 2015 Microsoft announced the HoloLens Mixed Reality headset, which was released a year later. The HoloLens took augmented reality to an entirely new level, and Microsoft called this “mixed reality” (MR). The groundbreaking aspect of it is the environmental scanning and spatial mapping capabilities, which means the device knows the physical layout of your surroundings to an amazing degree of details.

3D model of my living room captured with HoloLens

This detailed awareness of the environment means that digital assets, or holograms, knows where their surroundings are and can act accordingly. You can have people sitting next to you on a chair or couch, place digital flowers on top of a real table, have characters navigate your actual living room and much much more. This spatial mapping and tracking capability essentially left other augmented reality implementations for dead.

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Pluralsight Course – Emerging Threats in IoT

The fact is that more and more things are being connected to the Internet. We have the obvious things like TVs, game consoles, cars and smartphones. But have you considered your hair brush, your dog feeder or even your special items for the bedroom? Yes, we are making everything connected and with this comes a lot of questions about privacy, safety and not least security. How do you update your light bulbs, and do you know if your dishwasher is also a web server? These are real questions in the world that we are creating.

In this fourth play by play course with my good mate Troy Hunt, we dive into what devices are making this world so difficult and what the real problems are with these. We look at precedents for where it all went wrong and what happened. We discuss the worst examples that Troy has come across in recent years and how the incidents impacted the industry.

Of course, we also discuss solutions to securing your IoT devices, both as a consumer and as a developer. Developers need to take ownership of all the vulnerabilities that are constantly exposed, fix them, and then document the solutions for the entire industry to learn from.

Join us for this very relevant, entertaining and very educational course on Pluralsight. See you there.

Watch the course trailer here


Using Geo-Location in Your Web App

I am currently building a new web product that relies on client location to a large extent. During the development I had to learn about the geo-location API for use within HTML5 compatible browsers, and thought I’d share how simple it is to use. Article first published on gooroo.io.

The use of GPS data has become second nature for most everyday tasks. The most common scenario of finding your way from A to B using GPS is obvious, but there are a lot of other uses as well. When you ask to find the nearest store on a company website, GPS is used. When you log into Facebook in a foreign country and you subsequently get ads for all of the Swedish natural foods you can eat, GPS is used. When you ask Google to remember where you parked your car, GPS is used. And many more ways.

Using GPS in your web app is not difficult, but there are a few points to note and some pit falls to avoid. This article will show you how to use the GPS hardware on the user’s device, and then take that one step further to use Google’s Map API to reverse geo-code the result and make it some kind of useful.

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6 Ways to Add More Hours to Your Day

Mentoring is a very broad term in my vocabulary, but it covers all the things that make people better at being people. I tend to focus on peoples’ strengths and not their deficiencies. Doing that means you get more positivity in your life and the sense of achievement and momentum increases dramatically. This article focuses on some of the things you can do to create more time to do what you are good at. First published on gooroo.io.

Over the last year I have started doing a lot of mentoring of mainly technical people. Based on almost 20 years of experience in the technology industry I found that I have formed routines and procedures that can be beneficial to lots of other people. Especially within the tech-community there are a large number of people who, in my opinion, could benefit immensely from having a mentor in their life to help them move forward, set goals, achieve more and be more.

I find it highly satisfying to help people be more than they thought they could be, and lead them on a path of success and achievement. The one thing I hear from all of them consistently is “how do I find more time in my day to do more?”

 

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