Past programming

Before my commercial career started most of my free time was spent working on programs in Java and C#. These ranged from small utility applications to a reporting app that I tested in the real world. The mobile app was to aid my University senior resident role and designed with full relational database that would automate a manual reporting task. The data was extracted along with captured signatures to SAP crystal reports,printed and presented fortnightly.
Demonstrating this mobile app to my first potential employer along with the resulting report helped me get back for a second interview and code review. Dynamic and data driven websites was another area I developed outside work. My first exposure was a third year college team project where it was my job to create an ASP.NET website with registration and authentication for a trading company. The website worked as expected and ensured the team received a high grade. In fact all software tasks that had a programming component I performed exceptionally well. Recently I have explored ASP.NET and MVC, where I successfully created a recruitment website in the Azure cloud using Entity Framework Code-First allowing Visual Studio to deploy a database automatically from the related models. In conclusion, the interest I have for developing solutions using the .NET Framework makes tasks easy and enjoyable.

Laptop hardware upgrade

From recently looking at new laptops. I just couldn’t justify the money for another unit. The urge to get some new technology is never easy to fight off! The replaced devices start to gather dust and the guilt sets in that the old device did nearly everything the new one does even though much faster. This reminds me that machine with a newly installed drive always seems to run much faster until the programs get piled on and significant resources are used up right before your eyes.

I have found that after spending days searching for a new device, and for a good price, and  I ask myself, “if I upgrade the old device, would this satisfy the urge to get a completely new unit? The answer was yes, and it also helped to save desk space .

I have now done this for two laptops (the second laptop just weeks ago) and it has brought a lot of life back into devices that were running sluggish, not to mention the sparkle on the screen from a good clean. For that moment of booting it up to configure, as if for the first time, priceless was the joy experienced, seen only from the outside as a smile. 

The winning combination for me has been upgrading the RAM with the maximum allowed and replacing the Hard Disk Drive with a Solid  State Drive. Instead of cloning the old drive, I determined that starting again from scratch can be seen as an opportunity to add software as you need it.

A SATA to USB hard drive caddy is incredibly useful  to copy existing data needed across to the new SSD, unless data was partitioned separately, then a drive to drive operation could be performed, if that is how you do it. I usually take a backup of everything important from the old hard drive, so that if it comes out of storage faulty nothing will be lost. The past couple of years I have been using a Blu-ray burner. I still have 90% remaining of the pack of 50 x 25GB discs I bought at the same time as the burner.

So there you have it the result was a 2008 Toshiba laptop RAM doubled to 4GB and an Acer netbook RAM doubled to 2GB, both with 250GB Samsung Evo Solid State Drives running Windows 10. The increase in performance has held me back from wanting something better for now.
I have done a lot of looking for a touchscreen and keyboard solution which has not swayed me at the moment but lets give it a month or so yet!

Raspberry pi

I have owned the Raspberry Pi 1 Model B since it was first released and it is a great invention. An affordable credit card sized computer that instills joy and excitement in the hearts of technology enthusiasts. Their mission to empower kids to use and learn the technology to create applications is something I feel passionately about. We have a generation of consumers and not enough creators. Hopefully with the huge success of the rPi, this imbalance can be corrected through encouraging more creators to satisfy the economic demand for technical jobs.

As many flavors of Linux can be booted as you have SD cards. SD cards are very cheap and one SD card I use a lot has a media centre image (OSMC) loaded. I am able to stream and download videos. OSMC has the option to enable SSH during the first run, that is useful to retrieve downloaded videos from any device on the network.

I have yet to buy and try the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, which has on board Wireless and Bluetooth. In the future I have project ideas that I would like to apply to the rPi and look forward to posting the progress.

Website statistics

Website stats are important for web admins.
Some of the main features include:

  • Page hits
  • Geographical location of the page hits
  • Number of unique visitors
  • Entry to and Exit from pages
  • Time spent on pages
  • Error pages
  • Bandwidth usage

For this task I have chosen the very well known Awstats log file analyser as it is free. I have seen that free WordPress plugins can also offer web stats but will have yet to try them out.  Installing Awstats on Linux is ten times easier than Windows, of which directions for both are widely available through your preferred search engine.

Finally, you may want to restrict your awstats directory to the localhost and your remote IP. The awstats conf file has a property to AllowAccessFromWebToFollowingIPAddresses, which you would add the IP addresses that should have access. Accessing the webpage through an IP other than your server (a static IP), will likely be dynamic, so will be a pain to update. A solution to this would be to register with a Dynamic DNS service (such as no-ip.com) and input the account details to a supported broadband router. The DNS host name that you choose can then be added to the Apache configuration rules for the awstats directory to restrict to this host, for example “Require forward-dns yourhostname.ddns.net”.

Hosting

From previously hosting with a UK company which used Virtuozzo Plesk control panel, I too many restrictions for my adventurous needs. I now use Amazon Web Services that allows full control over services hosted. I actually get more flexibility for less expense. I am still learning about all the useful and exciting features. There is a free 12 month trial to get you started using services offered as free tier eligible, why not give it a try @ https://aws.amazon.com/free/ (you will need to enter a payment card for any charges over the free tier limit).

First computer

From around the age of 10 years old, I have maintained a steady interest in technology. My dad used to buy me computer magazines like “Compuactive”.

The first computer I used was a family desktop computer running Windows 95. If I remember correctly, it’s specification was a Pentium MMX 200MHZ processor, 64MB RAM and a 20GB Hard drive.

Pentium MMX 200