I am so happy about my YouTube channel. As of today, it has 2,519 views/month and 4,469min/month. In January it was about 400 views/month.
I started with one of my hobbies and that's cars. Then I recently started doing some tech videos and there will be much more to come. The channel is pretty much the video representation of my blog and my blog is about my two passions:
- software engineering / tech
Diagrams help you solve computer problems. I have always used diagrams for new design and also for figuring out production issues. In last month or so, a simple drawing on a whiteboard helped us identify the root cause faster for high-severity issues and the implementation of the solution was simple after that. This was in two high-pressure occasions in last 30 days. I typically end up drawing on a whiteboard, taking a picture of it and sending it as a document to my teammates. Then this diagram ends up as a candidate to be converted to Visio in the near future :)
OneNote 2013 and OneNote in general is a very useful task management tool. It is really designed for note-taking and organizing your notes. When it comes to task management, its main purpose is not to organize your tasks unless you use it together with Outlook tasks, but I have developed a pretty good system that works well for me by utilizing some beautiful features of OneNote.
How did I end up using OneNote?
Over last 9-10 years I have spent time trying to improve my organization skills and as a result of that, I searched for tools that can simplify my professional and personal life. I liked the simplicity of Tasks application on early Blackberry phones and I was a big user of that app. I also went through the phase of maintaining my to-do list in text files and managing them via some useful editors such as Notepad++, Editpad, and CrimsonEditor. As my role and responsibilities changed and as the need for rich text format notes increased, I needed to find a tool that is Microsoft Word with better organizational features. That tool ended up being OneNote. I call OneNote IDE / Visual Studio for notes and tasks; if you are a tech person, you know what I am talking about.
What exactly do I use OneNote for?
- Taking notes in meeting
- As a knowledge base application (aka my Wiki)
- Reading emails and saving a useful piece of information/email into my Wiki in OneNote
- Keeping track of tasks that are current
- Keeping track of tasks that are in the backlog
- Organizing the tasks and all the details for my projects
- Sharing notes and to-do tasks with the team through a shared notebook in OneNote
- Team collaboration through a shared notebook in OneNote
It is a complete solution for note taking and organizing notes. If you use GTD (Getting Things Done) concepts, then you can use it for task management. However, if you expect to be reminded to do a specific task, you will either have to integrate OneNote with Outlook tasks or find some other product that had alerting system. Please watch my YouTube video below to see the system I am talking about.
If you are a car enthusiast and you want to keep the RPMs at the optimal spot for power and torque to change lanes, then this is how car manufacturers should label the gear shifters for those states where the freeway speed limit is 55mph. Please refer to the picture on the left side. I am lucky that I live in southern California where freeway speed limit is 65mph and a lot of local streets have the speed limit of 45-55mph. Obviously depending on the gear ratios this will vary, but based on my experience, I could in theory drive in 3rd gear without pushing the engine and stay within the 55mph speed limit. That's why I have always been purchasing smaller cars that give me the fun I need within the boundaries of the law.
Joking aside, this is one of two main reason why car manufacturer are designing cars with a lot of gears (i.e. six, seven and eight gears) and especially on automatics. First, the more gears you have the more playroom you have to improve the overall gas mileage for the given car. Second, shorter gears give you more power in the city acceleration and the taller gears help you save gas in freeway cruising.
Most of my previous cars were cars with 5-speed manual transmission. I was able to get to 60mph in 2nd gear. A lot of manufacturers still design the gear ratios this way because 0-60mph times are important and you don't want to run out of 2nd gear just before hitting 60mph and that forces you to change gears and that means extending your 0-60mph time. This is called doing your design to sell and 0-60 times sell cars. The focus should be on designing and building cars that are fun to drive within 55mph speed limit.
This month is exactly one year since I bought my first Chromebook. I will admit right away; I have three Chromebooks that we share in the house. Two of our Chromebooks are Samsung 11.6" and one is HP Chromebook 14", which is a relatively recent purchase.
Let me start with saying that Chromebooks cannot be your only computer in the house. I am sure that you already know that. However, the question these days should not be "why Chromebooks cannot be the primary computers?". A lot of us have multiple computers and the right question is: Which computer are you going to use most of your time while you are at home or on the road?
Yes, we need our PC or Mac to upload pictures, do some video recording, use iTunes or encrypt/decrypt some stuff. However, how often do you need to all this. Most of the time we are dependent on the internet and that's what we do on our home computers after a hard working day.
The battery on all of my Chromebooks is good enough to last throughout the whole day with heavy use. With light use, it can last you a few days.
As far as the price, it does not get better than the price of Chromebooks. Samsung 11.6" is a great buy for $250 and HP Chromebook 14" is also a great purchase for $350+.
Three essential tools?
Don't get me wrong. Most of my personal formal documents are in Microsoft format and they are stored on my PC, but when it comes to note-taking, research on internet and my emails, it is all stored in the cloud. I use Gmail, Google Docs and Chrome bookmarks as my three most essential tools. All of this is stored in the cloud and I have access to it from my Chromebooks and from my home PC and work PC. It makes it very convenient.
Prove it !!!
Prediction about the direction of computing?
PCs, Macs and computers with full operating systems are not going away, but the need for them is slowly reducing. We are going back to the old Unix days where we used dummy Unix stations that were just a proxy to the server with some interface to make it look like you had a fully functional computer at your desk. That's where we are heading now and it is a long trip. More and more tools are available online and my wish would be that we would be running a VDI type of environment where we purchase a virtual PC online and use it. Microsoft has the ability to do that, simplify it and provide it to regular consumers outside the enterprise world. Imagine having a simplified version of a Windows laptop (kind of like Chromebook). This laptop you would be abe to use once you connect to internet and you log into your VDI-like environment for consumers that allows you to use the full version of Windows. I am going a bit of tangent but I am trying to explain which direction the Chromebook type of computers are taking us to.
A fast Chromebook?
Going back to Chromebooks. I want to talk a bit about HP Chromebook 14". I am very impressed with this Chromebook. Samsung 11.6" has an average and predictable/steady performance, and the HP 14" has excellent and predictable/steady performance. What I mean by predictable/steady is that there is never some process in the background that is affecting my browsing experience. The websites always load fast and as you interact and scroll through the websites, everything is very smooth and fast. I am comparing it to my Dell Inspiron laptop with i7 processor that I use as my primary PC in the house. Even though this Dell has i7 processor and 8Gb of RAM, the performance is unpredictable. Sometimes it is some scan in the background; sometimes it is Dropbox doing some sync; sometimes it is just the computer acting weird; all this affects my browsing experience if browsing is all I wanted to do. I never experience this on my HP Chromebook 14". This HP Chromebook is always smooth and responsive. It boots up in less than 10 seconds and you are good to go.
Security and Chromebooks?
Everything on the SSD is encrypted and the key for the encryption is your Gmail/Google password that you log in with. To do this type of encryption on your PC, you have to go through all kinds of trouble if you want your whole hard-drive to be encrypted and on Chrombooks it comes standard as part of Chrome OS. When you change your Gmail password and try to log into your Chromebook, make sure you remember your previous password because you will need it to get access to your files and to have the Chrome OS re-encrypt everything with the new password.
Buy yourself a very good and reliable PC or Mac as your primary computer in the house. You will need it to organize your media, organize your documents that you don't feel comfortable putting in the cloud. However, these days an average computer user will spend most of their time browsing the internet. If you are not big on using tablets and you prefer a laptop, then a Chromebook is very good choice. It will make your browsing experience very smooth and if you buy a good performing Chromebook, that browsing experience can be very sharp.
Some of the websites are good about informing their customers what is going on through their blogs. If you are concerned, you can always find the blog for that company and see what they are saying. For example, I was concerned about LastPass.com and I found good information about it on their blog at: http://blog.lastpass.com/2014/04/lastpass-and-heartbleed-bug.html?m=1
Good Luck and be don't assume that your personal info and passwords were not compromised.
Software development is not about how many lines of code you write. That's why the question "how many lines of code is your application?" is not an acceptable question any more. To understand the complexity and the size of an application, the typical questions are:
How many components?
How many class libraries?
How many entities?
Is it n-tier and how many components on the client side and how many on the server side?
What type of communication between client and server and what type of security?
Depending on your choice of programming language and IDE, there are a lot of code snippets that are generated by your tools and they are not necessarily written by us developers.
That's why there is a reason why we developers don't get paid per line of code we write. It is because most of the software issues are resolved at the high-level. It is all about stepping back and understanding the problem and resolving it with a few lines of code. How many times did you spend hours/days troubleshooting an important production issue and it resulted in one line of code or no code change but rather a setting in your server environment? You know exactly what I am talking about.
I notice that there are still active posts online questioning how to implement your website to support the EU Cookie Law. That's why I am posting this quick high-level solution for this. Keep in mind that there are two types of cookies: primary (bare minimum that your code needs to operate), and non-essential cookies (these get created when you have some third-party analytics on your site). The EU law allows you to use the primary cookies and you have to give an option to user to opt out of non-essential cookies. Therefore a lot of websites have a banner at the top of the page that allows users to opt out and they actually use a primary cookie to know that the person opted out. Then the rest of functionality on your site can use the existence of this special primary cookie and the value in it to allow the analytics to even run on the site. I hope this helps. Thanks.