Jamie Balfour

Welcome to my personal website.

Find out more about me, my personal projects, reviews, courses and much more here.

Jamie Balfour'sPersonal blog

Jamie Balfour'sPersonal blog

The latest feature to come to ZPE - YASS Unfold - is a very useful feature. YASS Unfold does just that - it 'unfolds' the code into natural language, explaining what the code is doing. The very first version, which will be released in late October, features only a handful of features such as while loops, if statements and function calls (so far, but may contain more) and will not be the full feature.

This could be very useful for explaining complex code and will be looking at implementing some machine learning to improve and optimise results. I aim to have every feature from ZPE up to version 1.7 by the end of the month as it doesn't take long to write. Further to this is the new directive @unfold which allows you to specify what a subroutine or function does within your own code to help Unfold explain it. 

This feature is built on the same code base as the transpiler feature and will hopefully continue to get better as versions progress.

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 have spent a lot of my personal free time building a company which has achieved a lot, brings in a bit of revenue for myself and provides an excellent service for its clients. Still, I have decided that I cannot sustain the level of commitment I have provided over the last few years as the Executive Officer of the company.

Over the last few years, despite not actually being the person in charge of customer relations it has been me that has had to carry out most of the meetings and much more. In a small company with only three members, it may seem silly to delegate tasks like this but if we don't do this I have realised I end up doing everything which means that I cannot focus on teaching which is my primary career (and I work a lot whilst I am at home on my teaching content).

In July at our annual meeting I will step down as the Executive Officer and hand most of the work I do over to Mike who is currently in charge of Marketing. I will maintain the role of Technical Officer in order to continue utilising my server management and development skills to keep the company's infrastructure stable. 

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