26 January 2017

Organisation and Software Engineering techniques and principles

These are just some reminders I learned from Software Engineering that I feel are applicable to other situations.

  • STAR - when giving an example e.g. in an interview
    • Situation
    • Task
    • Action
    • Result
  • SMART - for defining objectives
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Achievable
    • Results-oriented
    • Time-constrained
  • MoSCoW - prioritisation
    • Must
    • Should
    • Could
    • Would ("never")
  • Risk Management
    • Mitigate
    • Manage
    • Monitor
  • No silver bullet / Lesser of the necessary evils. There is no perfect solution sometimes, only best practices.
  • CRUD - methods that you carry out on data
    • Create
    • Read
    • Update
    • Delete

25 January 2017

How to fix Windows 7 stuck on 'Checking for Updates'



Manually download and install the following patches.
I recommended to disconnect your PC from the internet and do a restart before you install these.
  1. Service Pack 1, if you don't have it already
  2. KB3020369 Servicing Stack 2015
  3. KB3102810 High CPU Fix
  4. KB3125574 Convenience Rollup 
  5. KB3177467 Servicing Stack 2016
If you still have issues after that, then try WSUS Offline to download and apply the updates.


For a walkthrough tutorial and more information, see this video.

18 January 2017

Desktop Operating System Market Share and Fragmentation (Updated Jan 2017)

Here's a nice chart I made to show the fragmentation of desktop operating systems - so I'm combining what the current market share is for each O.S, against when it was released. Basically what we are seeing here is Windows users are running some of the oldest operating systems available, whereas the Mac creates a trendline.

Information for Linux isn't available, but generally they are patched very fast, and account for a very small amount of desktop computers on the internet. I've explicitly not included other operating systems older than 2000 because they are less than 0.01% usage share.

Raw data source: Net Market Share


12 January 2017

Google Pixel 2 month review


Summary:

  • Solid build
  • Unfaltering in performance
  • Battery unlike any smartphone I've had
  • Converted a never-used-Android-before long-term iPhone user to it
In detail:

Performance

It's the best phone I've ever had. Blazing fast. I haven't noticed any lag at any point, and taking photos is instantaneous with a click. My brain takes a moment to update to realise it's already taken the photo.
I do have an antivirus installed as well and this does not seem to have added any lag.
At one of my house shares, I do notice that when updating apps on the Google Play Store, it downloads them extremely slowly, but I think this is a router problem because the router is always dropping out and has a ping of 90ms. Everywhere else it works fine (where I have more like 5ms ping), and on tethered WiFi it also downloads fine.

Features

I've not really used the Google Assistant much, I only rarely use it for setting timers which is fairly straightforward. The fingerprint sensor works pretty well, you just have to make sure you get your fingertip fully on the pad otherwise it will not register. Direct Boot ensures you can still get alarms even if it reboots and is encrypted. All features here.

O.S.

My main reason for the Google line is because I always want the latest O.S. updates. There have been 2 updates so far, it downloads and installs them in the background which can take about an hour or so, and then it just needs a single reboot, which is much better than waiting for all apps to optimise on a black screen. So I haven't yet needed to flash any images.

Battery

 I've never actually had my one on less than about 30% charge, but I've never had it reboot or shutdown on its own anyway. Bear in mind I do keep the phone on low brightness, use the data saver, battery saver and Greenify app regularly, and I reboot it every day after doing manual app updates, and I've disabled a lot of notifications and permissions (I have about 300 apps installed). Only 2 times an app has crashed but just starting the app again works fine.

What about the lens flare issue?

I just looked over all my photos taken with it and haven't seen any lens flaring. I know someone else with the Pixel as well who has taken some photos, I notice normal lens flare in one of his photos. See this link (some of them are DSLR so check the photo comment for which one he shot it with).

Size and shape

The Pixel is a good size I think. It's slightly bigger than the iPhone 7, and slightly smaller than the iPhone 7 Plus, it felt the perfect size, my hands are too small to hold a huge 5.5" phone. The Nexus 5X at 5.2" was on the comfort limit. Rather than have a bump, it slants at the back, but it is not noticeable unless you're staring at it. I've just got a silicon case for it because it is very smooth-surfaced too.

Model

I went for the Very Silver model this time, even though all my previous phones have been black, just because I wanted something different and more shiny and clearly distinguishable - and to show it off a little bit (which is why I got a clear case for it rather than a Live Case).

The box includes a USB-C power charger, a USB-C to USB-C cable, and a standard USB-A to USB-C cable (which they add for doing data transfer with the a little USB-A to USB-C adaptor provided). So this means you don't need to get an extra cable to flash it with your PC. This does mean you can't charge from a USB-A power charger, unless it is an unofficial 5.0V DC and 2.1A charger.

I transferred from a Nexus 5X which took about 1 minute to move over all my custom music and pictures. Just next time I need to remember to disable my 2FA and Authenticator codes before doing the factory reset rather than after. The rest of my data was sync'ed with my Google account so no issues there at all.

More information


29 December 2016

Sad movies that make me cry



In order of how much they made me cry.
  1. Hachi: A Dog's Tale
  2. 12 Years A Slave
  3. A Monster Calls
  4. Grave of the Fireflies
  5. Spirited Away
  6. Bridge to Terabithia
  7. Titanic
  8. Up
  9. Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
  10. Brokeback Mountain
  11. Iron Giant
  12. Lion King
  13. Toy Story 3
  14. Inside Out
  15. Princess Mononoke
  16. North Sea Texas
  17. Butterfly Effect

22 December 2016

Life lessons for everyone



My thought process from this

Imagine you're dying tomorrow and you want to teach the right way of things.
Capture questions you are asked.
Bad things I've done in my life and learnt from.

General advice

Work on your weaknesses. Always try to improve. Always challenge yourself and things to beat. Reward yourself.

If something bad has happened in the past, you can't change it. You can only move forwards. You have to accept it and move on.

Use your pain of lost loved ones to fuel yourself doing good things and helping others.

Don't neglect your family, they are the only ones you've got. One day your parents will be gone forever. You can always do some other thing another time. Building good memories of your family will be better. Don't sacrifice your time to work to family either, your family remembers you, but work doesn't remember your overtime. (Overtime to me just means under staffed).

Find what you enjoy in life, what makes you happy.

Take opportunities. Not risks.

Try new things.

Always have a Plan B for everything. A way to back yourself up in court. Justifying. Nothing without reason.

We can't rely on deities to save us, we are on our own. It's okay to be alone. In many cases it's better. Don't have to think of someone to look after, to worry about, can sleep properly.

You are an ambassador of the universe. Show the universe, and the world, the best you can be.

Anyone can die at any time, you never know when it's going to happen. So make use of your time - even your spare time - to do something memorable or constructive. Destructive behaviour helps no-one and avoids your problems.

Mistakes propel us forward and everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes are there so a lesson can be learned, they aren't there to test you, they are there to make you a better, worldly, well-rounded, adaptable, tolerant person.

We often only learn the value of things after we've lost them. Try to identify the things you value the most and don't take them for granted.


Specific practices

Lists are everything. Make up pros and cons. Brainstorming your ideas and thoughts onto paper, or keeping a diary can help you sleep better. The process of turning thoughts into concrete ideas allows you to view them more objectively, and deal with them another day.

Read anything and everything (a la Matilda).

Play safe; don't think of just protecting yourself, but protecting others as well.

Save money. Don't live between payslips.

Punctuality reduces issues for everyone else.


Internal reactions

If stressed, take a deep breath and count to 10. Push away your feelings. Imagine you're on an island and a whale nearby is eating your manager (a la The Office US). Compartmentalisation helps you to focus. My mind sometimes just says "fuck it".

Defence mechanisms are a good way to making yourself self-aware. Humility, and admitting to when you're wrong, can accelerate your relationships with everyone.

Taking time off to be yourself is fine. Give yourself a break. A high number of ideas come from when we are doing nothing.

If something is wrong, tell someone. Tell your manager, your MP, your customer service. You have rights. If not, report it or ask for help about it.

Not all your opinions need to be validated, and it's fine if you don't have one. See what comes naturally.

As from CharlieIsSoCoolLike: Opinions are things you carry around in a box. You should always be willing to change them out for something better.

As from Rick & Morty: Nobody belongs anywhere, nobody exists on purpose, everybody's going to die. Come watch TV?

As from The Office US: Fear plays an interesting role in our lives. How dare we let it motivate us. How dare we let it into our decision-making, into our livelihoods, into our relationships. It's funny, isn't it? We take a day a year to dress up in costumes and celebrate fear.

When you've hit rock bottom, you can only go up.

There is no courage without fear.


External reactions

At some point, someone will criticise you. Be ready. Be open to suggestions and constructive criticism. Remember not to take yourself so seriously and try to appreciate the lighter side of things.

If angry, or criticised, or judged, stay calm and give yourself a chance to formulate an answer. Give yourself a chance to analyse what they are saying, and admit if they are right. Don't be stubborn and defend your side for the sake of it. Nobody enjoys an argument, but everyone loves a laugh.

As from Charlie: If you want people to listen to you, don't try shouting. Try being quiet and speaking softly, and then people will actually have to try and hear what you have to say. (Although this isn't the real reason behind why anger should be avoided).

Similarly, give positive feedback and reinforcement. Comments on things.

Empathy and sympathy can help not just others, but yourself as well. If you put yourself in other's shoes, they will do as well.

To make friends, listen better to others and be interested in their lives. Open up yourself to others.

Respect others. 'Treat others as you want to be treated' is a flawed way of thinking, as if you are pessimistic, destructive, or welcome criticism, then this doesn't work. Don't take things out on others. Depending on the issue, hate the game, not the players.

Don't show off, it makes others jealous and envious. But be honest. Don't lie just to suit you. Lying to help others is ok. But not deliberately.

Don't just assume you, or anything else is right. If unsure then just ask, don't wander down a dark path without knowing where it will take you first, you might have to loop back around.

As from Charlie: Making a promise and sticking to it, and being right first time, is better than asking for forgiveness later.

Ask questions. Question reality and the status quo. Just because something is 'proven' to work doesn't mean it can't be improved. Feel free to bring things up.

Don't bite the hand that feeds. Nibble is okay.

You don't need a reason to help others.

Surround yourself with people you enjoy the company of; don't waste it on people who don't appreciate you.

More ideas from Charlie


21 December 2016

Mobile operating system market share

Android might have the bigger share of devices, but iOS has the largest rollout.
1.8b devices on iOS 10 & 9
1.0b devices on Android 7 & 6


Data sources Net Market Share: https://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=9&qpcustomb=1 Apple: http://www.apple.com/apple-events/october-2016/ (27/10/2016) Android: https://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/index.html (21/12/2016) GSMA Intelligence: https://www.gsmaintelligence.com/ (21/12/2016)

17 December 2016

My mobile phone history

Here's my chronological history of mobile phones I've owned.

First phone: BT Cellnet. This was basically a brick, and I remember destroying it with a hammer when it was time to let it die.


The classic: a Nokia 1110. Great battery life, resilient, and of course, Snake. Still works.



First color phone: Sony Ericsson W300i. Somehow it had "internet" but whenever I clicked it, I immediately tried to quit out of it. The flip part of it was cool, but not as cool as the Moto Razr.


First smartphone and touchscreen phone: LG Cookie (KP500). The same time that Android was released, and with iPhone 3G being just another phone back then, this felt less like a smartphone and more like a toy phone.


First slide phone: Sony Ericsson W850i. A chunky phone, but feature-rich. Doing any sort of internet on it however was never a good idea.



First Android phone: HTC Wildfire. Starting with Android Froyo, this was a good cheap Android phone. The downside was Network 3, and their complete lack of service. Network service, O.S update service, and customer service. Meaning eventually I couldn't stand the bad signal or buggy vendor build anymore.



First dual core smartphone: LG Optimus 2X (P990).With a name like a transformer, it took me a while to convince me to upgrade for the form factor. But I would never look back on Android again, and I still have the same data from that phone transferred to every new phone I've had since.


First work phone: Nokia 3110 classic. Excellent battery, however no Snake. Fortunately it was only for work.



First Google phone: Google Nexus 4. Since I moved to Google phones I never looked back. Mainly for the stock, no-frills experience, direct updates from Google, and good prices.


First 5" phone: Google Nexus 5. It took me several months to even consider getting a phone as big as 5" but I eventually went with it and loved it. It was thin, stylish and fast.



First Windows phone: Nokia Lumia 635. Provided through work and with Windows 8 it was a different experience that I still have to learn how to use today. Unfortunately I got the 512MB model so no access to Windows 10.


Largest phone: Google Nexus 5X. At 5.2" this is the largest phone and was still difficult to grasp sometimes. This one however was under-par compared to the previous line-up so my time with this lasted 6 months.



Most expensive phone: Google Pixel. With reviews from everywhere saying this was the best phone of 2016, and feeling let down by the 5X, I felt the need to upgrade, and haven't been disappointed since. I've also converted a lifelong iPhone user over to the Google Pixel and Android.



So that's it for the last 10 years of my phones. 

With modern phones now powerful enough to emulate games from the last 10 years, I can only guess that in another 10 years, in 2026, I will be laughing at how my phone will be able to play every game released to 2016, and fully emulate an Xbox One and Playstation 4, and I imagine Pokemon will now have a total of 15 generations including a Pokemon that looks like a clothes hanger (which would evolve into a revolving tie rack), a legendary Pokemon that creates humans, and a Pokemon that is the word Pokemon backwards. Nomekop. It's a garden gnome dressed as a police officer.

Based on the last 10 years, here's my big predictions.
  • Phones have grown from large bricks with tiny screens, to screens now taking over the entire front of the phone. However, screens still break, so I'd like to think that's fixed forever by 2026. Possibly by sapphire glass, or some kind of carbon fibre sheet.
  • Access to the internet and games has propelled them forward. I think games and VR will become more immersive. Maybe haptic feedback will make its way in there. I imagine by 2026 someone would have died because of VR as well (a la Black Mirror - Playtest).
  • I am going to think that more sophisticated apps will move over to mobiles too. Important things will move over to mobile like voting for elections, getting your prescription, and holding your passport. Android is already making way towards this with Instant Apps.
  • With contactless only been in the UK for the last couple of years, while being in Japan have had FeliCa since 2004, I think we will follow Japan and Sweden's suit and make it the standard everywhere - big stores and small. Amazon has just revealed shopping without a cashier, and I think that could take off.
  • Battery is the biggest thing holding back the phone, so I'm hoping that the phones by 2026 can last at least 2 days of constant use. Alternatively, charging wirelessly or everywhere will become more common, e.g. on buses, trains, and in shops.
  • Content delivery will change, I think stores will be able to ask you sign up as you enter them and you could get a discount sent to your phone for your next trip.
  • Overall they will get more advanced, I'd like to think Tony Stark's see-through super smart handset might become a thing. I'd like to see an AI like the beginnings of 'Her' making its way onto phones.
  • I doubt that the phones in Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror episode 'Nosedive' will make it into reality. However, the eyePhone from Futurama (or Brooker's "grain") could make it.




If you've come here from 2026, hope you're enjoying your iPhone 20 and Samsung Galaxy S23.


14 December 2016

Slow internet and December Windows Updates

The Windows Updates released yesterday are causing slow internet issues for some users.
If this affects you, try restarting your computer, or try the steps as mentioned below.
  1. Start > type “cmd” and right-click the Command Prompt result, then click Run as administrator
  2. Enter the commands:
    • ipconfig /release
    • ipconfig /flushdns
    • ipconfig /renew
More info: