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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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Conference Speaking – Submitting the Right Proposal

Over the last few years I have spoken at a large number of conferences, from small meetups to really big developer conferences. Some talks I get invited to, some talks I know the organiser and agree on a talk, and most are through call for papers (CFP). I have been on the agenda committee for NDC Sydney for a couple of years, so I understand exactly what the people are looking for and how the selection process work, at least for that conference. It is not a straight forward process once you consider all the factors, and a single tweet from a fellow speaker made me consider what the process is.

This is a great question, if you are new to conference speaking, or just aren’t sure how the process work. There aren’t a black and white approach to this, but let me attempt to fill in some of the gaps.

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Hosting a New Tech Show – The Future of Tech

Most people that spend any time with me, know that I like to talk to lots of people, I really love to present tech topics, and my personality (for better or worse) often comes through like a flood. Over the last few years, speaking has taken me around the world, I have created 23 Pluralsight courses (so far!), helped lots of developers through my mentoring services and written a ton of articles on everything from quantum computing to being a better developer.

When my good mate Sam then asked me if I was interested in hosting a tech show as part of their membership offering for A Cloud Guru, I was totally on board. After all, they wanted to let me host and produce a show with just me on the screen on topics I choose using scripts I have written. What could possibly go wrong?

It turns out that creating a show that is of high quality of about 20 minutes in length, with researched content, a thorough script and visuals to support the recording is a lot of work. Who would have thought?! In fact, it takes a host (me), a content producer, a camera operator, a sound guy, a (very patient and talented) editor, a website developer to get the new show its new home, and then of course a marketing department to promote it. Yeah, this was more involved than I thought.

To top it off, we had to record the first episode twice, because the sound was off the first time. Well, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it, right? The end result is the first episode, the pilot, of The Future of Tech that takes a look at augmented reality. It is full of history, actual devices, demos and a look at where this could take us in the future. Click the image below to see the first episode, completely free.

Behind the Scenes of a Pluralsight Course

Today I released a new Pluralsight course with my mate Scott Allen. It is my 15th play by play course and I am enormously proud of it and I absolutely think you should go watch it to learn about ASP.NET core, Azure resource templates, containers and docker services. It is the new way to release software for the web. However, that isn’t the main reason I am writing this post.

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Who, What, Why, When, Where and How of Digital Realities – Pluralsight Course

For the past two years I have been involved in a lot of aspects of HoloLens development. I have done large presentations at international conferences, user groups talks, taught 1-2 day workshops around the world, written numerous articles and even created the first Pluralsight course on the topic. I have spoken to thousands of developers through various mediums and been part of two startups in this field. Safe to say: I love this space.

Throughout all of these interactions and experiences, the main question I got was “What is HoloLens?” along with “What is Mixed Reality?” It was a completely legit questions, considering how ground-breaking and how new the device and technology is/was. However, the real confusion has been what is the difference between augmented, virtual and mixed reality. What is each used for, how do they apply to my industry, which is the best fit for my project? And these questions came from developers, designers and business people alike. There is a real confusion about the differences. In fact, most people aren’t aware that there is anything beyond virtual reality.

To help the general education and explain my understanding and point of view on the whole space of digital realities, I have created a new Pluralsight course doing just that. It isn’t an in depth course at how to develop a particular feature or skill, but rather it is a big picture understanding of augmented, virtual and mixed reality as it relates to developers, designers, project owners and businesses. It is a short and concise introduction to a very complex space that is moving at an accelerated pace.

You can watch the trailer for free now, and learn all about Digital Realities – The Big Picture.

How to Deal With Constantly Changing Technology?

It’s a new year and for some reason this spurs a lot of people to create new goals and new “resolutions”. I have always believed that if you aren’t ready to make the change yourself, imposing a goal isn’t going to work. And you shouldn’t have to wait for a date to make change in yourself. When you are ready, then just go for it. Nonetheless, I thought I’d give some pointers on how to deal with the constantly changing world of technology. First published on gooroo.io.

It is one of those questions you constantly struggle with throughout any technical career: Should I learn this latest and greatest technology that is out? Do I need to learn it, do I want to learn it, do I get left behind if I don’t? The truth is that you can’t learn everything so how do you know what to focus on?

The sections below are not mutually exclusive, nor do you have to fulfill all of them. If you can say “yes” to one of them, then you are probably okay to invest time in the technology in question.

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Creating HSTS and Pre-load with Cloudflare

The adoption rate of HTTPS for websites is increasing exponentially and part of the reason is how easy it is to set up. Gone are the days of expert knowledge of root certificates, server versions, IIS mastery and other black magic. Today there are services that let you set it all up in as little as 4 minutes and 38 seconds (I timed it). This article outlines the basic steps I used and was first published on gooroo.io

Most people are familiar with HTTPS and the concept of secure websites. Securing websites become more and more common, which is a really good thing. Not only do we know that the data sent and received from the website is secure, but we also get a sense of knowing we will be alright. We expect that we get confidentiality, authenticity and integrity from modern websites. After all, we see sites every day with this:

HTTPS in three standard browsers.

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Reuse Code Between Angular and Ionic – New Pluralsight Course

I have been building software projects for almost 20 years. Initially I was writing specs for the systems to be build and then testing that “I got what I ordered”. I then moved on to building my own websites (in PHP!), before tackling very large systems both in infrastructure and servicing 1000s of requests per second. One of the main focuses in all of these projects, once you got beyond the early prototypes, were reuse. Reuse of code, reuse of modules, reuse of services.

The premise was that by reusing parts of your project in multiple places you would eliminate bugs, reduce maintenance, improve efficiency and reduce overall development time. While all this in theory is true, the real world is always a different beast. In my experience though, the requirements were often slightly different, the features needed weren’t exactly the same, the input data varied or something else just didn’t align. It was never as simple as write once, reuse to infinity. A lot of the time we either ended up with bloated modules that catered to everything or we came up with a too complex architecture, only for the sake of reuse.

Reuse is still a challenge, but if you can get the right balance between common and unique code, it can really be worth it. When my good mate Duncan suggested we do a course on how to share code between Angular and Ionic, I was on board! In case you aren’t familiar with Ionic, it is a framework to create native mobile applications with JavaScript, HTML and CSS, in an architecture pattern familiar to Angular developers.

And here it finally is. We recorded the course back in August while at NDC Sydney, and it is full of great tips, architecture hints and guidance on getting your web code onto your native apps. We build a complete app both for web and mobile, and explain along the way what you should and shouldn’t share between the two platforms, how to share code using an npm package, how to deploy it and much more.

Go watch the trailer right now, and enjoy the full course at your leisure.