Well its been quite a while since my last post and it might look like I wasn’t going to be blogging again. I am planning on writing more and posting the content here. The reasons I haven’t blogged in a while are numerous, but basically I have been involved with a project over the past 12 months that has taken up my time and at the tail end of last year I got a bit burned out with everything tech.

So excuses over, what am I going to be writing about in the coming weeks and months?

  • Windows 10
  • Node
  • Docker
  • Angular
  • .Net
  • TeamCity and CI/CD

Also I will be writing a bit about my experiences creating and running a mini SASS application which has just gone live called ObsPlanner.

So thats it for now. The first words are always the hardest.

I was asked a while back how I manage to stay healthy when I don't really exercise and develop all day long. Well I do a number of things that help me and I will cover a couple of them here.

The Problem

If like me you get up and get ready for the commute into work, then work all day to finish off commuting back home to look after the household and all that is needed for your family. This lack of any exercise coupled with a sedentary life can lead to weight gain even though you may not be shoveling the junk in your mouth. Here in the UK it is advised that a male should consume around 2500 calories a day and a woman around the 2000 mark. But if you are doing desk work and not manual labor then this should be more like 2000 for men and 1800 for women based on an age of 40. The lack of exercise and a typical developers life has lead me to gain weight over the past 10 years. I have tried all sorts of diets and exercise regimes to get my weight down with no luck until I started a combination of a type of diet and HIIT style exercise.

Staying Healthy When You Sit On Your Butt All Day

The two main techniques I use are the 8 hour diet and the 7 minute workout.

The 8 Hour diet

At its core the 8 hour diet [1] allows you to only eat during the 8 hour period and fast for the remaining 16 hours. It comes from 'The 8-Hour Diet: Watch the Pounds Disappear Without Watching What You Eat!' by David Zinczenko and Peter Moore' and has been hailed as the miracle diet by many magazines and newspapers. Some publications state that you can eat whatever you want and still loose weight. Well a lot of what is written is just garbage. The 8 hour diet is based around intermittent fasting and is know to aid in weight loss as during the fasting period your body starts to burn the fat stores. This alone can help you reduce weight without drastically changing your lifestyle, however to help boost the weight loss keep to a sensible diet and stop eating the junk.

The 7 Minute Workout

It is not always possible for me to get down the gym for a jog, so on some mornings I do the 8 minute workout [2].l This workout is a form of HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training and as you guessed can be done in just under 10 minutes. You don't need any gym equipment and if a step or small chair is to hand you can use that for one of the exercises. It is quite intense and took me a while to get through the whole sequence without collapsing half way through with exhaustion. The exercises are:-
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Wall Sit
  • Push Up
  • Abdominal Crunch
  • Step Up Onto Chair
  • Squat
  • Triceps Dip On Chair
  • Plank
  • High Knees
  • Lunge
  • Push Up and Rotation
  • Side Plank

Calorie Counting and Exercise Apps

Being a Microsoftie of course I have a Windows Phone and use an app called '7 Minute Workout' by11latoa and track my calories by using the MSN Health & Fitness app. The latter allows me to keep my data up to date by using both the app and the website.

The results?

I have been trying to loose weight for about 3 years now and the combination of these two techniques are probably the best I have done to date. But everybody is different with different metabolisms and life style, so what works for me may not work for you. Happy codeing

References

[1] The 8 Hour Diet by David Zinczenko [2] 'HIGH-INTENSITY CIRCUIT TRAINING USING BODY WEIGHT: Maximum Results With Minimal Investment' ACSM'S Health & Fitness Journal: May/June 2013 - Volume 17 - Issue 3 - p 8–13

I am not big on predictions especially when it comes to the tech industry; it just moves too quickly. However I am going to chance one, but maybe its more a wishful thought than a prediction, but here goes. A Prediction for Windows By the end of 2014 there will be two windows operating systems. Windows Pro - Running Intel 32 and 64 bit versions which will give users access to apps from the store and legacy (lets face it the vast majority of applications are the more traditional ones we have been using for the past couple decades; they ain't going anywhere just yet.) Windows on ARM - This will be any other device from phone to 10 inch tablets. But here's the killer; Microsoft will drop the Phone title, so there won't be a Windows Phone anymore. Just devices that may or nay not include a phone. They have to drop the Phone moniker simply because they have to have a simpler name for any ARM device. This will solve Julie Larson-Greens issue when she referred to not having the three Windows operating systems. So when will this happen? There will most likely be an announcement at Build 2014 about Windows Phone 8.1. But there is already leaks about Windows 8.1 Update 1. Maybe this will align the ARM OS more closely with an 8.2 release that will leave only the Windows Pro 8.2 and Windows 8.2 running on ARM chips. A Wish for Bing As there will be different device sizes, could Microsoft Bing please filter web results for the size if the requesting device? Doing Shopping at Christmas on a Lumia 520 to find the site doesn't have a responsive site is just unworkable in this day and age. If a website wants to take my money, please at least make the experience a reasonable one.   Happy Coding

Windows 8.1 (code name Blue)

So it looks like some of the improvements/changes coming in Windows 8.1 include a boot to desktop (disabled by default however).

Enterprise & SME

This one thing would ease the transition from Windows 7 to 8 for enterprise and SME's. There is a large pc base within the public sector here in the UK that still use Windows XP and have only just started the transition to Windows 7. There are a number of these public bodies that have Microsoft Software Assurance and so it will not cost them any more to move from XP to Windows 8 (or 8.1) and it looks like a good future proof path; especially as there is now less than a year of life for XP. Having worked in public sector IT, I have seen users struggle with doing basic tasks with a PC and giving them Windows 8 as it stands now would just crush them morally unless there is a large training program to get people up to speed on Windows 8; which is just not going to happen.

Tablets

It is interesting though that users are quite happy to use IPads and other tablet devices in the Enterprise and yet there would be a barrier to using Windows 8 tablets. Is this because it crosses the tablet/ desktop divide I wonder? Personally I believe the Surface RT would be a great asset in the Healthcare sector where I am currently based. It is hard wearing easy to clean and has a great battery life. Just need to get more apps on there even if that means side-loading in-house apps.

Future

The timing is just right for enterprise to start to look into Windows 8 on both tablet and desktop hopefully replacing those old XP PC's with more capable Windows 8 ones. Happy coding. References:- http://winsupersite.com/windows-8/blue-start-experience-changes

Windows 8 App - MoonPhase Version 1

It has took a while to get from procrastination through planning, into development and finally into published in the Windows 8 App Store, but MoonPhase v1 has passed certification. It can be found here:- MoonPhase
Screen shot of windows 8 app MoonPhase
Can I just say that it was a better experience than I would have though. Hats of to the Microsoft guys/gals to a well defined process. I had a few mishaps in certification, but got those ironed out easily enough. This was a test project to explore the whole App Dev process and I already have plans for more apps, both in the educational market and an LOB app. Just got to scope out a few details before I knuckle down and start creating. Happy coding.