A blog about my life, development and projects

Life update and response on digital propaganda

Part 1

Once again I find myself writing to you after many months have passed. Time goes by so quickly.
Many of you might have wondered where I went and what I am up to lately and this post is to give all my readers a quick update as well as to what is coming.

The last few months have been extremely busy and I found myself working a lot a overtime at a particular client trying to get everything done before the deadline - Such is the nature of IT. It is so easy to get caught up in the rat race, but if you are one of the sought after developers it’s easy for clients to want more, and the more you deliver the more is asked. It’s a wonderful feeling but you need to keep a balance and not get lost in the work you do, which I’m unfortunately very good at – getting lost in my work.

I have in the bit of spare time I had worked on a few exciting projects, one of them being a connected vending machine. This project is still on-going, but if I can I will share some of the things I learned especially with the communication between c# and Arduino. I have also started working on a facial recognition smart lock which I will post on YouTube in the coming months.

One of the biggest things coming for me is a personal brand revamp as well as launching my YouTube channel. That’s right, I am launching my YouTube channel officially next months, and I hope that it will be exciting and that I can bring a lot of the cool work I do to YouTube land.
I will focus on training, making gadgets as well as interviews with industry leaders in SA. If anyone want’s to nominate themselves, please drop me a mail or a Tweet.

I have thought a lot about what interests me, and by heart I am a maker. I love building things and solving problems and my YouTube channel will be a way for me to showcase and hopefully inspire young makers to do the same in SA.

Part 2

Now on to the second part of this post which is in response to an article on linked in written by my friend and collogue Rory titled ”Caught up in digital propaganda

“I had almost forgotten how important it is to not neglect the non-digital experiences as well.

I realized that, even in this digital age, we are still humans. And as human beings, we still perceive the world through our "analog" senses. We are still biologically wired up to see, hear, taste, smell and touch to understand the world and process experiences. With so many companies scrambling to "go digital", is becoming somewhat of a luxury.” ~ Rory

I found this article most interesting. We as humans are currently so focused on technology, automation and robotics that I think we are forgetting to be human. As Rory stated in the article we need to design our digital transformations around human experiences and not just automating everything but rather using it to enrich the human experience.

This article made me think of the movie WALL-E, especially the scene where all the humans are blobbing in front of the screens chatting, but no one is actually interacting with one another while the robots are going about doing everything including making a mess of things.

I am definitely inspired to change the way I approach my making especially my home automation to try and center it around human experience instead of trying to do everything automatically. Robots are a good things, but humans need to be happy too.

If we all can focus on this and not lose sight of the human experience I think technology in a few years will look much different that what we are currently seeing in sci-fi movies.

Old school values

This post is about something you don’t see every day anymore. You know, the kindness and old school values you only see in movies.
It’s a bit of an unusual post considering most of my posts is about something technology related.

Yesterday just as I were about to order my Saturday morning coffee, on the way to the JHB office for the training that I facilitate every Saturday morning I was greeted by a very friendly and polite gentlemen in them most unexpected manner.

I think I am not alone in saying this, but we are getting way to used to in retail stores for one to be greeted by rude people, half a grunt, or in some cases not at all. This is becoming the norm, especially by younger people, and it’s scary.

Well yesterday morning this friendly gentlemen greeted me with a very friendly “Good morning milady” followed by a slight bow. Now normally this is done in a joking kind off way but this gentlemen was sincere and did not come across as trying to be funny, but rather the opposite. I greeted him back in the same fashion followed by a curtsy.

He did not expect that, and while he was preparing my coffee we talked a bit about how I was the first person in a while to greet him back with the same respect he exchange every morning.

It was refreshing to experience this kindness especially in a retail store, from someone who you can see really enjoys his job.
I sometimes wonder how we lost this respect for the individual, and general kindness towards people as well as making formal introductions?

The great thing was that on this particular Saturday morning my own mood were a little down, feeling exhausted even after a good night’s sleep. But the kindness and energy from a random stranger managed to somehow lift my mood and give me the energy I needed to facilitate a training session, and even made me again aware of how important good old fashioned values are in this world.

What happened to honor, valor, courage, Integrity, trust? Is it because of the way we bring up or kids, did we become so busy and money focused that we forget about ourselves or the people around us? Are we so focused on our own survival we forget about the people next to us?

I think if we all can be a little better every day, just a little and strive to be the best of humanity, the best we can be and then better than what we were yesterday, we will very quickly start to see a positive change in this world we live in.

New year same resolutions

Dear blog followers happy 2016, or as we say in SA happy 20, 6 and 1

This blog follows my usual new year kick off blog and I hope that I will be able to bring more interesting blogs and apps in 2016.

2015 in review.

2015 was focused on productivity apps to help developers deliver apps and websites much faster.

The year started off with the Mock-KingBird app that helps with building mock api endpoints for mobile application development.

From there I moved on to the KooBoo Enterprise Framework & POCO Generator which helps to generate a complete entity and data access layer from your database.

The last utility for the year was the Sql Batch Script Runner that helps with database deployment from scripts, or just running a bunch of scripts as a batch.

Being focused on client projects for the most part of any day and then trying to create utilities in your spare time does take some extra effort, and thus a lot off apps could still be enhanced with many features to make them more enterprise ready.

2016 Planning

In this coming year I am going to try and blog about SMPP (SMS gateway) and how to set that up.

I am also going to try and extend the KooBoo framework and POCO generator to generate a complete API with authentication using your database, and also try to enhance it with more features around the generation of code.

There might also be a demo on using azure media services and some insight into my drone-vision and AI research that I have been working on for a long time now.

Looking forward

I am definitely looking forward to 2016 and the possibilities that await. This year will start off with hard work that should pay off.
Hopefully there will be many personal stories that I can share during 2016 and not only have techie topics on my blog.

Money cant buy you happiness

A lot of my blog posts lately was around what I do, this time I want to post something personal and how I felt about this December holiday and even this year.

Everyone always said that Money can’t buy you happiness, but what does it really mean. I have finally figured that one out, for myself at least.

You see so many people dating, buying gifts, technology, cars, houses, and you wonder if they really are happy. Sure you need these things, but there is more to life than the material things we fill our lives with, and if we aren’t careful these things can distract us from what is really important: the life experience.

Most of my adult life thus far I have spent working on my career, trying to be the best I can be, neglecting my friends and family a little. Don’t get me wrong here, I really enjoy my work, it’s my passion and what I’m really good at, but there is a big difference between enjoying yourself and happiness.

During the last year I spent a little more time trying to connect with friends and family, going to friends birthdays parties, social events and meeting up with family as often as possible.
During this December holiday I took the time to connect more with people, and what did I discover: Happiness.

I started my December firstly with a girl’s night out, where we had a great night reconnecting and discussing every topic we usually miss during the year.

After a wonderful girl’s night out a friend’s birthday followed, and even some of the long lost friends came through. The evening was spent socializing, playing various card games, dancing and just enjoying each other’s company. It’s here that I started to realize that this is what life is all about.

Next up was my December holiday that started with 1 week visiting my grandparents in Mossel Bay. I haven’t been there in quite some time, and also having my cousins there was a huge bonus.
I took this time to just relax after a long year, and spend time with my grandparents. With them being by the coast make it difficult to really connect and chat. The holiday couldn’t have started better, and this was just a 2nd confirmation on how important family are, and how lucky I am to have all these wonderful people in my life.

 

And then it was Christmas eve, spent at my Dad’s. This was a lovely evening to just be back in Gauteng, spend some quality time with my Dad, my brother and his wife, talking and eating and just being together.

Christmas day I spent with my Mom and her boyfriend’s family. A wonderful day with some great people where I was reflecting about what Christmas actually means and spending time with the people in your life that matters - well any time spent with my mom is fun. Over the last 2 years we have really became very close.
New Year’s Day. Happy New Year to all my friends and family, I’m sure 2015 will be super amazing.
I spent this time with my closest friends, and went flying, yep, my first time on a microlite. This was really an amazing experience, and seeing the world from up there, feeling the calm and peacefulness, it’s just breath-taking. Being up there just makes you realize how small the world really are.

My holiday was rounded off by spending an afternoon with my mom visiting the Tutankhamun expo at the silverstar casino. This was such an amazing event, and really a great insight into the culture of a bygone eara.

I really had a wonderful year and a fantastic December holiday. Definitely can’t complain.

Life is what you make of it, and although you need to work hard on your career or studies it’s no reason to neglect your friends and family or the people in your life that makes it worth the while.
People and life experience such as socializing, traveling, seeing different cultures and experiencing all is what makes life wonderful.

I for one would like everyone to stop taking life for granted, work hard, play hard and spend time with the people in your life, find a reason to smile and try to make a difference in your own life and the lives of others that cross your path.

Here’s to an even better 2015.

Quick win recipes

Over the weekend I was asked a question of how I get it right to cook a whole meal in 10-30min using as little ingredients as possible. Today's post is about the general things I enjoy cooking.

Now everyone in my life knows that I am lazy, I don't mind working hard but I am always looking for the quickest way to do everything, that also include cooking.

I enjoy cooking but due to my working schedule there is never enough time to spend hours cooking a big meal, so I had to learn how to cook a complete meal in the least amount of time.

A great website for ideas on quick meals would be What's for Dinner, they have great meals that can be prepared in no time at all. If you are like me and want to experiment a little, then here are some of my favourite recipes.

Chicken Schnitzel with mushroom sauce

The chicken schnitzels I usually buy at woolworths, they are ready packed, then for the sauce I make a creamy cheese sauce with fresh mushrooms, and a side dish of steamed veggies.
Cooking time 20min.
While the chicken is in the oven, place the chopped veggies in a microwave steamer. When 10 min is left on the clock start preparing the sauce.
Brown finely chopped mushrooms in a pot, add milk and warm the milk on the stove, make a paste with cold milk and 2 table spoons of baking flour, once milk is warm, add the paste to the milk, then remove it from the plate and stir in grated cheese.

Macaroni & Cheese with mince

Total cooking time 30min. Brown mince on the stove with beef stock powder and a knor beef cube, while you brown the mince cook your macaroni in the microwave. Once the mince is browned mix the mince and macaroni together in a baking dish.
Make the cheese sauce mentioned above, warm milk on the stove, make a paste with cold milk and 2 table spoons of baking flour, once milk is warm, add the paste to the milk while stirring, then remove it from the plate and stir in grated cheese until thick.
Pour the cheese sauce over the mince and macaroni and add a layer of grated cheese on top. Bake in the over at 180 deg for about 10min then grill it until the cheese is brown. For a side dish you can serve a green salad.

Wors & pap with tomato veggie sauce

Total cooking time 15min. In a pan cook your wors. You can cook in the microwave at the same time a little mixed veggies, the frozen ones will do just fine. In a small pot you can prepare a tomato sauce using tomato paste, 2 teaspoons of knorr bolognaise powder, a little water and brown onion soup. Once the veggies is done add it to the sauce. In another pot prepare your pap to your taste. Once the wors is cooked brown it and add some chutney. Serve the pap with veggie sauce with the wors. This is a great tasting meal that is very quick to prepare.

Chicken Alforno

Now if you are really lazy, this meal can be prepared in 10min. Cook some fettuccine or pasta of your choice in the microwave. Brown chicken cubes and bacon in a pan. Prepare a packet of pasta sauce (Can be bought from any supermarket). Once the pasta is ready add the chicken and bacon and pour over your sauce. For a side dish serve some steamed veggies or a green salad.

Cordon bleu with spinach and butternut

Cooking time 20min. Back chicken cordon bleu in the over for 20min. While the chicken is backing cook your butternut on the stove. Take fresh spinach and slightly cook it in a pot with some water, you don't want it to disintegrate, once the spinach is cooked mix in some feta cheese. When the butternut is done you can mash it in the pot for a smooth texture. Serve and enjoy.

Mice mate / Rice Mate

Cooking time 15min. Now this might not really count as cooking, but it's really easy to prepare. Prepare your mince/rice mate as indicated on the box, yea, you just need to be able to read to prepare this one. As a side dish I like to make mixed veggies with a creamy cheese sauce, the one above can be used. Warm milk on the stove, make a paste with cold milk and 2 table spoons of baking flour, once milk is warm, add the paste to the milk while stirring, then remove it from the plate and stir in grated cheese until thick.

Beef stir-fry

Cooking time 15min. Now everyone needs to be able to make a stir-fry, it's really quick and easy and healthy too. Brown some stir-fry beef strips in a wok or frying pan. Once the beef is brow add some McCain stir-fry veggies with soy-sauce and black pepper. Serve with white rice.

Now I have plenty more recipes to share, feel free to leave me a comment, or if you have a quick win recipe that you enjoy making please share it in the comment section with the rest of us. Cooking can be fun, and it doesn't have to take long.