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Personal Blog

2018 has been an eventful, but great year. It's always sad saying goodbye to another year, but it's always nice saying hello to a new year.

With this post I just want to wish you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR for 2019!

I hope all my readers have a Merry Christmas for 2018! Best wishes to all!

I thought I'd take a bit of time to look back at my 2017 a bit earlier than normal, but focusing only on the technology side of things and what's happened this year.

This year has been an incredible year for me technologically, as I've learned way more than any other year before. This year, perhaps the biggest gain for me was moving to a virtual private server (VPS) for my website. This gave me the technical knowledge that I never ever had and allowed me to learn server admin stuff. I now know a lot more about Linux servers and the Apache web server and, as a result of this, have started a business hosting websites for clients that I build websites for - something I wanted to do years ago. As well as this, I've learned to tinker the performance to get it right for my website and my clients' websites.

This year also saw me get my first job, working at Maglabs, which was a great place to work but I was just so anxious that I wanted to take the next step and ended up working at DH Systems after just six months at Maglabs. I only ended up at DH Systems for one month really before deciding that it would be better if I took time out for my health. As a result of the timeout, I actually ended up drawing up a business plan and formed Jambour Digital, which I'm very happy to have done. The company isn't quite active yet, but I've got plans to get it up and running in the new year.

I've also learned a bunch of new technologies such as C++, React.js, Angular JS, Node.js and Symfony 2 this year. I've also learned a lot more about Linux command line and now spend most of my day with a Bash Terminal open on my Mac - an incredible difference compared with last year. 

Perhaps my biggest achievement this year is Dash. Dash was originally named BalfBlog at the start of this year, but it has since become so much more than what BalfBlog was and needed a name to reflect that. Even as late as May of this year, huge improvements were coming to BalfBlog and eventually Dash to make it the incredible piece of software it is!

Another thing that I'm working on now is ZPE 2.0, which is being written in C++. Whilst I wouldn't say I'm near finishing it, I would say it's progressing quite well. 

I must not forget to mention setting up my own personal branch exchange for a SIP phone! Yes, this year has finally been the year that I have ditched my standard telephone and taken on a SIP phone instead and I now have my own business phone line. There was a steep learning curve with it but I got there eventually.

I also finally got my Razer Blade Stealth, the only ultrabook I've ever wanted to own! As well as this I got myself another similar device (well in the sense it docks into a more powerful system) with the Nintendo Switch, which to date may be the greatest console around.

Today I graduated! This is the happiest day of my life and I'm so very proud of what I have achieved to this day!

Back in 1997, when I was aged 6, I got my first computer. I quickly learned the ins and outs of it and was very into writing my own stuff and really enjoyed writing stories. As I was using my computer more and more I took an interest in how it works. By age 9, I was very interested in computer hardware and how they worked.

In my first year at high school, I realised that I was really good at working with computers and people were coming to me for computer help more and more (including my teachers). It was then that I decided I want to do something related to computers. I always knew I wanted to go to university so I put two and two together and in 2009 I applied to several universities to study computer science with Heriot-Watt being my top choice. I was accepted and my course began in 2012. 

My time at Heriot-Watt university has had its ups and downs and I've needed support from time to time. At Heriot-Watt support is always there for those who ask. I had a friendly bunch of lecturers who were always on your side and there to help. 

I'd like to thank everyone who has helped me at Heriot-Watt but I'd like to specifically thank a few people including Lorriane Vallance, Dr Tessa Berg, Dr Helen Hastie, Professor Rob Pooley, Professor Andrew Ireland, Dr Fiona McNeill, Dr Jenny Coady, Dr Santiago Chumbe and Professor Greg Michaelson. I'd also like to thank Professor Judy Robertson and Dr Sandy Louchart for their support in my first to third years, who have since moved to other universities. 

I’d also like to thank my friends and classmates, particularly Jonathan, Merlin, Mark and Sharang who stuck with me through thick and thin in the last year, as without them I would not be celebrating this day.

To me personally, there is no greater sense of achievement than what I have now achieved! I've finally finished my four long but fun years at Heriot-Watt University and have recently learned that I have achieved a First Class Honours degree. 

I cannot tell you in words how proud I am to have achieved this! 

I also posted this to Twitter: 

I'd like to also congratulate all my friends and thank them for supporting me through this time! I really couldn't have done this without all the support from them.

On the subject of support, I also must thank my lecturers for their support as well, since there is absolutely no way I could have done this without them.

My poster is finished. This means I have done all of the work other than presenting my poster and I have finished all of my uni work. :-)

I now feel epic and that I can finally relax! Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout my time at university. 

I'm finally done with my dissertation and whilst the last few months have been a disaster, my dissertation is, in my eyes, one of the greatest things I have ever produced! I'm nearly finished my degree too so I can have a relaxing few weeks to recover from everything and get back to a bit of stress free normal life.

After serving power (and heat) for 46 years, Cockenzie power station came to the end of it's service life as coal fired power station on the 15th of March 2013 at 8.30am. Since then, the people of East Lothian have been awaiting it's demolition and today on Saturday the 26th of September 2015, the landmark chimney stacks finally came down. 

But it was not to everyone's liking. I personally miss it already. It was someone's architectural idea and some team's work in building it. 

In my eyes though, because of my concern for the environment, the closure was a wonderful thing. 

I'd have liked the towers to have remained as a monument but that was never going to happen.

It's also sad that I really wanted to tour the power station before it went but it is long too late now!

Below is my YouTube video of the chimney stacks and turbine hall coming down:

Click here to view the video

This is only the third time I have used Java (ie twice last week at university) and I have now cracked it. I am now remembering my semi-colons and braces that make up the Java language syntax.

I must say I have noticed my work getting better as I just created a simple program to get each pixel in an image and invert the colour of it. The image is specified as an argument to the application and it runs through the application and saves it. I am very impressed with my progress and this makes a fourth programming language that I have learned.