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A Year With My Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme

Disclaimer: The below laptop was provided by the Lenovo INsiders program. No payment nor incentive was received to write this article, nor was is approved nor vetted by Lenovo.

In December 2018 I received a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme, and since then I have used it as my daily machine both in my office, on the road and for everything else. This post expresses some of my thoughts, good and bad, about the device collected through 12 months.

The Hardware

I’ll start with what comes out of the box. The actual machine and its physical form. If you are familiar with ThinkPad, the X1 Extreme is both an old friend, and a new slightly different cousin. If you want all of the tech spec, which I won’t go through, check them out on the official Lenovo page.

The device is unmistakable ThinkPad with the sturdy and time proven keyboard, the red trackpoint adorning the center of the keyboard and the matte black finish. Personally I have never got used to the trackpoint. I am a touchpad kinda person. But for many many ThinkPad users that trackpoint is the most efficient way to control their pointer.

ThinkPad X1 Extreme Keyboard

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Azure Community Live – A New Online Meetup

From this January 2020 I am part of a small team that will start up a new kind of community meetup. Together with Geert van der Cluijsen and Esteban “Steve” Garcia (more on those lovely people below), Azure Community Live is a way to offer Microsoft Azure knowledge to even more people. Because a few people has asked questions about what it is and why, both on social media and in person, I thought I’d answer them here. But first:

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Five Reasons to Choose Cloud Computing

I have been working with some form of cloud computing for the better part of 10 years. As a developer I used Azure worker roles and virtual machines many years ago, and now, working for A Cloud Guru, I spend my working week teaching over a million students how to use Azure and get those skills certified.

And while I interact mainly with people who are already in the clouds of computing, I was thinking. What make people choose a cloud computing platform, like Azure, in the first place. I have five main reasons I normally share with people asking why choose cloud computing.

Watch below to get a free virtual kitten.


Creating Content with Impact

It has been over a year since I posted on this site. Wow. Time flies. In that time I have created a ton of video and course content for A Cloud Guru, which has taught me a lot about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to creating content.

At the same time I have set up a new home office, and decided to try out my new lights, magical blue wall and new space in general. Hence the video below on creating content with impact.

I know that the audio is still a bit off, and I need a proper teleprompter. All that is to come over the next little while.


A New Chapter – Full Time Authoring

Today marks a new chapter in my professional career. It isn’t a new start. It isn’t a career change. It isn’t a new book in the life of Lars. However, it is tremendously exciting, and even more so as I haven’t been able to talk about it until now.

From today I am a full-time author with Melbourne based A Cloud Guru (ACG). Some of you might have heard of them especially in the AWS world. They are an up and coming online learning content provider, that has a focus on not only high quality content, but also entertaining material that won’t make you fall asleep.

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Enterprise Angular Apps – Simplifying Complexity

If there is one thing I have learnt about Angular and the programming paradigm it dictates, it is that you either hate it or love it. Developers seems to be very much one way or the other. And ex-boss of mine has even told me that “I am making a mistake by not doing everything Angular”. I don’t agree. I have always been about “the right tool for the right job”. Which is why I am very happy that my mate Duncan Hunter can guide me through the jungle of Angular and associated libraries. A little while back we released a Pluralsight Play by Play on using the ngrx library with Angular, and it has been extremely popular.

And now we are back! Duncan put it to me that enterprises are struggling to use Angular in any meaningful way, as their code base is often complex and has a ton of inter-dependencies. And of course he didn’t bring a problem without a solution. In this brand new course we go through the steps of building enterprise grade applications with the Nx library for Angular. We look at managing multiple repositories, creating a new Nx workspace, creating new apps and libraries, and how we can use it with ngrx as well.

The course is available right now on Pluralsight.


Finding Motivation to Rise Above

Motivation is something that can’t be bought, can’t be measured and can’t be passed on if you have a surplus. Yet, it is such an important part of getting our tasks done and if we are particularly motivated, we can truly excel. But motivation is often hiding. It is sitting under the bed refusing to come out. I have been exploring ways to get motivated and stay motivated for years, and this article shares some of the ways that work for me. First published on gooroo.io.

Last month my good friend Stephen Haunts released his new book on beating procrastination and getting focused. My first thought was “I definitely need to read this”, because I often struggle with getting enough done in the day. Part of it is the constant distractions from messages, people, other things to do, snacks to eat and many other things. Part of it is just finding the motivation to finish the next Pluralsight course, chase the lead for that new client, read that article on technical subject X and get through the day’s to-do list.

My second thought was that this is probably how a lot of people feel and react. Finding that motivation to take our lives one step further and create something new and useful is difficult at the best of times. As humans, we naturally gravitate towards the low hanging fruit. We do the tasks that provide a quick result and fast gratification. There is nothing wrong with that, but we need to fill our time and find room to do the long term, complex and difficult tasks too. It is the only way we can rise above the rest.

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Using Modern Web Security Patterns

This notion of “being secure on the web” is a statement that has many nuances and flavours. When a client of mine or learner through Pluralsight asks about web security and what they should do, it is never a black and white answer. It is always “it depends”, because it really does. Finding a way to implement the security measures that make sense for a particular product or project is never that simple.

However, there are a bunch of things you can do to move your website towards that “more secure” end of the security spectrum. These modern patterns include

  • Subresource integrity (SRI) checking
  • Content security policies (CSP) and exceptions
  • CSP reporting
  • Cross site scripting auditing (XSS)
  • Certificate authority authentication (CAA)
  • Http Strict Transport Security (HSTS)

That is a lot of acronyms in an industry that don’t need any more (really, we don’t). These tools and techniques are crucial in being on top of your web security, which is why my good mate Troy Hunt and myself sat down in February 2018 and recorded a new Pluralsight course.

This course is exceptionally relevant if you are developing any kind of web project, whether fresh or legacy. Most of the elements in this course can be used on any web project and retrofitted with little investment and great benefit. And it is only 1.5 hours, so perfect for your commute.

The course is live now.


Introduction to Quantum Computing with Q#

In the last 3 months I have been studying more and more about quantum computing, spoken to members of the Q# team at Microsoft, recorded a new Pluralsight Play by Play course and recorded a new episode of The Future of Tech. I find the area both incredible mystifying and very rewarding every time I understand a new concept. The below article is a quick intro to starting with Q# and Visual Studio and was first published on gooroo.io

For the past 47 years since Intel released the 4004 in 1971, computing has been following very much the same path. Microprocessors based on transistors and bits switching between 0 and 1 have been the cornerstone of every single consumer and commercial computing experience since then. While we rely on computers for increasingly more tasks, there are calculations that just aren’t feasible with traditional computing, and this is where quantum computing can prove both superior and immensely powerful.

Quantum computing and quantum mechanics has been topics of research for over 100 years, since Max Planck release his Quantum Hypothesis in 1900. Albert Einstein has used quantum theory to explain several hypothesis and many more scientists since expanded and corroborated the theories. Today we have quantum computing which promises dramatic improvements for certain types of problems.

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