Jamie Balfour'sPersonal blog

The 'quick alert' feature on my website is used for various different things in order to inform the users of my website of an update to the page or a successful save for example. It's been quite nice to have and I use them regularly across the website, for example when executing code in ZPE/YASS or evaluating JavaScript, a quick alert popups to tell you that the action has been issued.

But now, after a good few years of them. I've decided to make some serious improvements to them.

Everyone is talking about the launch of the iPhone 15 as an important update, which is well overdue, as it will include that USB-C connector and ditch that old Lightning connector. Lightning isn't capable of much by comparison and it's also very easy to break compared with Type C.

That said, there is one reason Apple has avoided it for now - and that's because they are greedy and want profit from us. They make more when your Lightning cable breaks. They make more when you need a new type of Lightning cable that connects to your MacBook Pro via USB-C.

There is a lot of speculation that the iPhone 15 launch will be the one that introduces USB-C to the iPhone. This is great and all, but there's something that needs to be thought through at the same time - the other devices. If Apple goes and ditches Lightning on the iPhone, what about AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max? A lot of people are going to be annoyed with using dongles with their devices so they'll continue to use Apple's proprietary Lightning connector. For me, it's just frustrating that I will still have Lightning-based devices to charge when I update my iPhone which means when I go away I will still need to have two chargers with me.

Over the last few days, I have been working on and off with my new project, The Teacher Organiser. The main focus of the recent development has been on the planning side of things. This was the primary goal for a few reasons, but perhaps the most obvious answer is that it was already made. 

The planner itself, as well as the timetable, are built upon my own planner and timetable hosted on my own website. This meant that bringing it across was going to be a fairly easy task since I had actually made my own version incredibly portable. But the version of the planner on The Teacher Organiser needs to be very diverse and flexible, so it needed a few changes. As a result, the version on The Teacher Organiser has much more than the one on my website. 

It's still not perfect, but it's now fully usable. And users can now sign up as well!

Seriously, forget the old version of 'The Teaching Organiser', the new version is miles better!

The new version of The Teaching Organiser no longer focuses solely on reporting and is now set up for timetable creation. The new version is so fast, smooth and works well (the old version did too actually). 

Version 2 is designed with a much more dynamic, app-like look. Several features are going to be built into the new version. For now, I'll provide a little taster of what it's new timetable engine (which is built using the same code as the one I built a year ago for myself):

Meta's Twitter competitor, Threads, goes live in just over five minutes! I'm really looking forward to seeing what this brings! Go to threads.net to see it when it goes live!

After buying my HP EliteBook in December of 2022, I vowed never to buy another desktop computer. Now I can say that this is how I intend to be in the future. My desktop was a large machine, and whilst I loved all the space, the fact I had 10 drive spaces in it and lots of airflow, I don't see any need for any of that any more. 

Most of the time my gaming is light enough that my integrated graphics are sufficient for running the games I play, but for those times when I need a better GPU, I've got a nice eGPU. 

My next laptop will be the Framework laptop I nearly bought when I bought the EliteBook. 

Unfortunately, I've decided against moving to a dedicated server just now. 

After a little discussion with the rest of the team at Jambour Digital, we all decided it would be better to postpone the move for another few months. 

However, by having a dedicated server setup, I realised how easily I could write a script to set up the new server, so that's exactly what I did. The script automates the whole process, to the point where it loads all of the SQL into the databases, sets up the needed applications and starts HTTPd.

To setup the new VPS, all I needed to do was run the script. 

Moving away from the dedicated server is a sad moment for me, as I was so close to getting it perfect, but the fact that the connection is unreliable (due to not being a business broadband connection) I could not continue to use it.

It was one year ago I was offered the amazing job I am in. Tuesday 24th of May 2022 was the day I got the job I always wanted to do!

I've wanted to do this for a long time - a dedicated server! 

For the last five years, I've been running Jambour and all hosted websites using a VPS (virtual private server) with Digital Ocean - an absolutely marvellous company. Well, not any more! As of yesterday, most of my websites have been moved to my own dedicated server, sitting there in my office. 

There are massive benefits to this.

Firstly, cost. It's actually much cheaper for me to run a dedicated server in my house than to rent a virtual part of a server. Our prices were going up so much that we started off paying £7 a month for our virtual private server in 2018 and by the end of 2022, we were paying over £26.

Second, upgradability is much easier, we can provision a second system quickly which can run an updated operating system and be spinning up in less than a second of downtime.

Thirdly, security. Unlike using Digital Ocean, the only way to connect to the server is from within my house, there is absolutely no other way to do this.

Fourthly, performance is much higher. A dedicated system can have whatever performance you want. We've got a 12-core system as opposed to a 4-virtual core system. 

Fifthly, storage space. We have a whopping 256GB and 2TB of additional space available as opposed to 50GB. 

Finally, ownership. I now physically own the server and can shut it down or turn it on whenever I need to. 

After 15 years of the Core i series Intel finally appears to be changing the branding they use for their products. In a Tweet by @Bernard_P, it was stated that Intel would be making changes to the branding of their CPUs. 

This will be the first time Intel has done this since the introduction of the Core i series in 2008.

To me, this personally seems like a waste of money and a careless thought towards their clientele. It's a radical move by Intel and it may backfire on them. We'll just have to wait and see.

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