I have a lot of photos, but where to put them?

Over the years, I have collected a number of photos from various trips that I have been on, and I share them in various places, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc. However, from time to time, I want to include them easily into blog posts as well. This is something that “should” be easy, but my experience over the last few days is that it isn’t as simple as it should be. This is especially useful when doing a tutorial blog post, and you want to capture a number of screen-shots and show them in order in a gallery.

Having finally figured out how to get it working, I thought I would list the steps here for anyone else that might be running into the same problem.

Read on →

History of this blog

This blog has now been through a number of iterations. It started out as a custom built blog application in ASP.NET, then it moved to for a very short period. It then made an appearance as a WordPress Blog, and now, in it’s current incarnation, it is using Octopress hosted on GitHub Pages. This way of hosting my blog was very much inspired by the work of Hadi and Jake in setting up their blogs, so thanks go to them for their help! Hadi pointed me in the right direction in terms of migrating initially from Wordpress, and Jake showed how it was possible to deploy automagically to GitHub Pages.

The slightly different technique that I have used, and the reason for this post, is that I have used AppVeyor to do the deployment of the generated static HTML to GitHub. What follows are the steps to make this happen.

Read on →


Really nice keyboard, and would definitely recommend!

Getting started with my new Sculpt Keyboard

Full Disclaimer: I have only been using this keyboard for about 2 hours. The opinions shared here may change over time, and if they do, I will update the blog post to reflect this.

For over five years now, I have been the proud owner of the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. I liked this keyboard so much that I actually bought two of them. One for the office, and one for home. However, as with most things, there comes a time when items need to be replaced. For me, with this particular keyboard, this was mainly due to the fact that on my work version, the “y” key had become flaky. Every so often, even though it was definitely being pushed, it simply wouldn’t work. The “solution” was to hit the key really hard, and it would eventually work. When I decided to leave my old job, I also decided it was time to replace the keyboard, and have a new one for my new job. New beginnings and all that…

When I was given some Amazon vouchers as part of my leaving present, I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to get the new keyboard, and so I bought this.

I have since had this delivered, and I am in fact using it to write this blog post. What are my thoughts so far I hear you ask? Well, let me tell you…

Read on →

Continuous Integration 101

On Saturday 23rd November 2013, I presented a talk entitled “Continuous Integration 101” at the DunDDD Conference in Dundee.  The abstract for the talk was as follows:

It is well understood that “Continuous Integration” is a development best practice, however, it is also something that is not often implemented within development teams. Typical reasons include: - It is difficult to set up - It is difficult to maintain - It takes too long In this session we will look at how you can incrementally work your way to fully implementing Continuous Integration into your development process. This talk will focus on using TeamCity as the Continuous Integration Server and psake build engine.

Overall, I was quite happy with how the talk went, and it seems to go down quite well.  There was a fair bit of interaction with the audience, with several questions, which I hope that I was able to answer.  If there are any follow-up questions, then please feel free to get in touch, and I will do my best to respond.

slides and code

If you are interested in seeing the slides from the talk, you can find them displayed below, and also available as a download link on this post.

If you want to check out what little code was used during the presentation, you can find it here.

[wpdm_file id=2]


But there is a fix…

Following the update of my laptop to Windows 8.1, every time I would tether to my Windows Phone 8 using Internet Connection Sharing, I would get a Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD).

[caption id=“attachment_2182” align=“alignnone” width=“584”]BSOD when using ICS 1 BSOD when using ICS 1[/caption]

[caption id=“attachment_2181” align=“alignnone” width=“584”]BSOD when using ICS 2 BSOD when using ICS 2[/caption]

This wouldn’t happen if I was connected to a standard wireless connection, it was only when I was using the wireless hot spot which is made available through Internet Connection Sharing on my Windows Phone 8.  After a bit of googling, I turned up this post:

Which seemed to explain exactly what I needed to do, however, for the life of me, I couldn’t find the dialogue box in Windows 8.1 that would give me access to the FIPS setting to fix the issue.  I asked the author of the blog post if he could help, and happily he was able to, check the comments of the blog post from that information on that.

However, while I was waiting for his reply, I reached out to my friendly neighborhood IT expert, namely Mark Le Huray, who was able to point me in the direction of a command line way of setting the required parameter:

Here “ur wireless name” is actually the name of the wireless endpoint, i.e. the SSID for the connection.  This is what is displayed in the Internet Sharing page on your windows phone.

Opening the command prompt, and executing this command was all the is required to get rid of the BSOD:

[caption id=“attachment_2183” align=“alignnone” width=“677”]Fixing BSOD by setting FIPS Fixing BSOD by setting FIPS[/caption]

Big thanks to Mark for all his help in getting this sorted, and also Tim who pointed me in the right direction!

…when you turn off all data connections!


With all the radios and antennas switched off on my Nokia Lumia 920, the battery has lasted from the 28th October through to today, the 7th November.  A total of 11 days!  This has included some fairly solid use, listening to podcasts, audio books and music, as well as using it as my alarm clock.  This is far more than I thought it would last, very impressed.  See the gallery at the end of the post for pictures of how the battery was discharging.  The spikes are when I was syncing the phone with the desktop to grab some new podcasts.

Now the full story…

I recently did a blog post about how I started using my old Nokia Lumia 920 as my alternative to both a TomTom and an iPod.  Apart from a couple synchronisation issues between iTunes and the Windows Phone Desktop Application, I am happy to report that this little experiment has been going really well.  I use the phone pretty much every day, listening to podcasts on the commute to work, and music while in the office, and also taking photos/videos of Alivia (that’s our new-born baby daughter :-)).

The one thing that has really stood out for me though is the battery life of the Nokia Lumia 920.  As soon as you turn on flight mode, i.e. disabling all the data connections that the phone has to offer (Bluetooth, wi-fi, mobile, etc), the battery quite literally goes for days!  When using my Nokia Lumia 925 as a phone, I am lucky if I can go a day without needing to charge it again.

Today I charged the 920 for what I think is the first time since I made the switch to using this device as my media device, although I think I must have charged it in between, otherwise it would have been over 2 weeks without a charge, which would be a bit of a stretch I think.

Using the Insider application, it is currently estimating 6 days and 4 hours before the next charge for the Nokia Lumia 920, and 1 day and 2 hours for the Nokia Lumia 925.  See the screenshots below:

[caption id=“attachment_2162” align=“alignleft” width=“180”]Insider Application running on Nokia Lumia 925 Insider Application running on Nokia Lumia 925[/caption]

[caption id=“attachment_2163” align=“alignright” width=“180”]Insider Application running on Nokia Lumia 920 Insider Application running on Nokia Lumia 920[/caption]

I firmly believe that the Nokia Lumia 925 will need charged tomorrow morning, but I am very curious to see how the Nokia Lumia 920 lasts before needing another charge.

In addition, here is a gallery of how the battery was discharging through the 11 days that it was being used.  Very impressive!

[gallery type=“rectangular” ids=“2173,2171,2174,2175,2176,2178,2177”]

Grab your ticket for DunDDD quickly so you don’t miss out!

The call for speakers at the Scottish Community Event (organised by the Scottish Developers) known as DunDDD has now closed and the registration has opened.

DunDDD is now in its third year

This will be the 3rd DunDDD, built on the popular foundation of the Developer! Developer! Developer! conference series which has spread to all corners of the UK and the international arena.  DDD conferences are community-run days where passionate and enthusiastic people come together to learn, share ideas, and to network within the many hubs of the development community. Best of all DDD events are free to everyone!

This year DunDDD will be featuring an entire track dedicated to Data Science.

Go and grab your ticket now.


And I can’t see myself looking back!

I am now using my spare Nokia Lumia 920 as a replacement for both my failing Classic iPod, and my TomTom.  I have always liked to keep music and GPS devices separate from my phone, as using these types of services is a big drain on battery.  Now though, I am using two phone devices to service all of these needs.  No more need to carry around 3 separate devices!

Here’s the story…

I recently upgraded my mobile phone to the Nokia Lumia 925, and I love it!  I upgraded from the Nokia Lumia 920, but there were a couple of things happening with the 920 which made me want to move away from it.  The first of which was that a single pixel, all the way down the screen, is stuck on a single colour.  This started happening after the warranty ran out on it, so there was nothing I could do aside from an expensive repair.  I opted to reset the device in order to send it to something like Mazuma mobile to get some money for it, however, the reset didn’t go well and it got stuck on the spinning gears.  Doh!

For the last few months, the 920 has been nothing more than a paper weight on my desk, but after a Twitter conversation the other day, I was pointed at the following blog post from Pete Vickers.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I was skeptical.  The key combination sounded like something from a Street Fighter Special Move, but I gave it a shot.  After 3 attempts, the 920 rebooted, and after a period of time, I was booted into the main screen. Result!

I then went ahead and grabbed the latest update for the phone, taking the phone up to the GDR 2 release, and then went ahead and installed all the necessary applications, including the following:

  • HERE Drive+ - Navigation application (uses the HERE Maps application)

  • HERE Maps -  Mapping application that allows for downloading maps using a WiFi Connection, and then using locally on device

  • HERE Transit - Provides routes between two selected places

  • Nokia Music - free music streaming application (also plays local music files)

  • Nokia Pro Cam - quite simply amazing!

  • Nokia Smart Cam - great camera application

With these applications in place, and my music and podcasts synced to the phone and required maps downloaded, I have a perfectly functioning iPod and TomTom replacement, taking the number of devices that I need to carry around from 2, to 3.

Although I was in a unique position where I had a spare Nokia Lumia 920 to serve this purpose, there is nothing to stop you doing something similar using one of the many cheap, lower end devices, that are coming onto the market.

Amazing deal at Tesco on the Nokia Lumia 510

Last night while shopping at Tesco, I saw the following deal:

[caption id=“attachment_2146” align=“alignnone” width=“1632”]Nokia Lumia 510 only £80 Nokia Lumia 510 only £80[/caption]

This is quite simply amazing!  When you put it together with the services that you get from both Microsoft and Nokia, this little device makes for a compelling choice.  It is not hard to understand why these lower end Lumia’s are the fastest selling devices at the moment.  They are very affordable, and offer the end-user a lot of options.

When you compare the above to something like the iPod, starting at £199, it would seem an obvious choice.  The functionality and available applications is comparable.  The Nokia Lumia 510 only has 4GB of hard drive space compared to the 16GB of the iPod, but if you don’t need a lot of storage space, or are happy to use the free 7GB of cloud storage, or stream data from the free Nokia Music service, then this is not really a problem.  You could also look to something like the Nokia Lumia 520, which has an option for an expandable micro SD card up to 64GB.

The setup of the Nokia Lumia 920

The start screen of my Nokia Lumia 920 now looks like the following:

[caption id=“attachment_2147” align=“alignnone” width=“768”]Nokia Lumia 920 Start Screen Nokia Lumia 920 Start Screen[/caption]

As you can see, all the “normal” tiles, such as messaging, phone, email, etc, have all been removed, leaving only the tiles for the essential applications, such as navigation and music.  Since all the required maps for the navigation application that Nokia provide can be downloaded ahead of time using the phone’s wireless connection, there is no need for a network connection while using it.  In fact, I have actually went as far as to enable the phones flight mode, and will only enable the wireless connection when required.


Get your tickets now!

I wanted to let you know about an upcoming event in Aberdeen that I have been helping to arrange. It is taking place on Friday 18th October 2013.  The event in question is the Northern Lights 2013 Conference.  The website for the conference can be found here:

The event is in its third year, and this year the theme is tools.  Both the tools that we use, and the tools we build.  There is a wide range of speakers available, including:

Who are offering up an exciting line up of talks.

In addition, there will be two open spaces at the conference, where attendees will have an opportunity to suggest a topic for an interactive conversation with other attendees and speakers.  If you haven’t been to an open space before, they are fantastic.  It is a perfect opportunity to interact with other like mind people about a topic that you are interested in.  The best way to get something out of this is to suggest a topic that you are especially interested in, and hopefully other people will get involved as well.

Tickets are £15 for the day, which includes coffee and lunch for regular attendees, and Students tickets to the talks are free, plus you can buy a lunch ticket for £5.

We hope to see you there.  If you have any questions about the event, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

If you know anyone else who would be interested in attending this event, I would really appreciate it if you could forward on this email.

This event is lovingly sponsored by: