Black Friday Tech Goodness

Following on from my posts yesterday it appears pretty much everything I mentioned is on sale

Acloud guru have a great deal on their courses with lifetime access

Also it appears in the UK the Amazon Echo has also been reduced


Raspberry Pi and Alexa

Raspberry Pi and Alexa

As its only one day till Black Friday and I haven’t seen the Amazon Echo reduced as much as I would have hoped I thought I would write this post up. Seeing as I am also exploring AWS at the moment ready for when VMware will sit on it natively I also thought it would be good idea to look at getting my AWS certification so that if I wanted to do any integrations not running on VMware I could.

I found quite quickly some of the courses work better with the use of Alexa and she can also test you if using

Luckily if you want to give this a go and don’t want to splash out on a £150 echo if you have a Raspberry Pi sat in your drawer go dig it out! You can build a near full Amazon Echo with it. It appears audio streaming isn’t supported at the moment but most other things are.

There is a great guide on lifehacker and a video version over at the main Raspberry Pi site depending on how you like to digest stuff.

Once you have it up and going if you really want to play and not only use it for exam prep like me you can try out Acloud Guru for free at the moment. There is a free Alexa course here if you want to make her do new things.

It’s a great way to learn and have fun at the same time!

Keeping your blog secure

Keeping your blog secure

If like me you use WordPress for hosting your blog and you may well be hosting this yourself you may have found keeping this all up to date and secure can be a bit of a nightmare.  There are a few things I do to try and secure my blog and keep it up to date.

The first thing I have installed is Jetpack. This not only lets me know about plugin been out of date it monitors my downtime and provide some level of malicious attack blocking. It also offers good things like stats and speeding up images via various means.

Secondly a new one for me but Sucuri does a good job of letting me know if there are any changes to critical files or logins. It also have a firewall built in and several other features to keep you secure. I also have it letting me know when posts are changed or released just in case.

To enhance the above I did a 2FA post here and I use Duo to further protect myself from brute force logins. I wont only get the email from Sucuri but I will also get a 2FA response from Duo.

Of course an obvious one is keeping a regular backup where possible. Many web hosts now throw this in if you just ask them.

Keeping it all organised

Keeping it all organised

Very much a follow on post from yesterday but I just wanted to share an app that I use to keep some of my tasks at bay. I know there are also other ways of doing this but I quite like their app and it sync across all my devices.

It’s called todoist

The main thing I love is the simplicity for some items but you can also make others as complex as you want for example projects. There is also that very primal satisfying feeling of ticking things off but not losing that original sticky note.

I do want to try some of the other work management tools such as pomodoro technique to see if I can be even more efficient.

It is also nice just to got down notes in like get bread or write a blog post just as a gentle nudge.

The dreaded writers block…..

The dreaded writers block…..

In case you missed it Eric who arranged the #vDM30in30 had a very relevant post and just re-tweeted this and to be fair its a rather apt post for me today. I have a few ideas forming but none that are as complete as I would hope them to be. I decided to read his blog again and it made me realise he is right in many many ways!

I really didn’t want to plagiarise it as its great and I agree in so many ways. It’s a great read in itself but just wanted to add my 2 pence worth on how I get past the dreaded writers block

  1. Pretty much everything in Eric’s post
  2. Listen to music…. For me I find something with a good beat gets the creative juices flowing or just a song I find to be a classic
  3. Go for a drive rather than a walk…. Sounds crazy but this is where I get most my ideas driving around the idyllic countryside. Just a shame not many cars yet have a handy voice memo system unless your phone wants to behave on bluetooth. I somehow just keep note and then scribble down when I stop.
  4. Read… Its exactly what I did to write this post. I went back through some study notes and Eric’s post and it inspired me.
  5. Self reflect… I find whilst doing many of these I just think about my day or even things I want to achieve (like VCDX,etc) and that can sometimes just jolt an idea.

I feel if you can spark a passion from somewhere just write. I was also once taught to brain f*&t the idea out. Be this on a whiteboard, paper or even a voice recording. Get the idea out and after make it better. I was always told I would otherwise over analyse the idea and it would come out worse. This way you can then at least out have it out and then polish it up. You then have plenty of time to re think it through before discussing or even presenting.