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Personal Blog

Well, it's goodbye 2017 and hello 2018! 

In this post, I thought I'd take a moment to go through a few of my plans for 2018. 

First of all, I've got big plans for a new piece of web-based software that I intend to work on this year. This new piece of software will be something of a new content management system, server management system and educational tool. I feel that there is a need for something like this. The system will be built on the basics and fundamentals of Dash and will expand on its file management utilities.

Second of all, Jambour Digital will become a company - something I've planned for a while now. Two of the biggest websites I've ever worked on will begin in January of 2018.

Thirdly, I will launch Dash 1.1. Dash 1.1 will improve a lot of Dash 1.0s biggest features and will hopefully be out by the middle of the year.

Finally, I will get around to launching my new website in January of 2018. This will be the fourth iteration of my website, and although it's very similar to version 3, it's underlying design is much different. It's also considerably more performant than version 3.

My new year's resolutions are mainly to continue with the gym and lose weight as well as to get through my teacher training and find the career I've always wanted to do.

Posted by J B Balfour in Life

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.

Posted by J B Balfour in Life

I wanted to take this moment to wish you all a Merry Christmas for 2017! 

I've put some stock images from Pixabay that I think are cute and Christmassy for you to enjoy below:

Posted by J B Balfour in Life

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas 2016! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas 2016! Here are some Christmassy pictures for you to enjoy (all stock and royalty free, but thanks to the people who made them)! 

Snowman Reindeer Christmas Tree Merry Christmas

Just remember the real message behind Christmas, and don't forget what Christmas is really all about! 🎅

Posted by J B Balfour in Life

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. 

Posted by J B Balfour in 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

Posted by J B Balfour in Life

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.

Posted by J B Balfour in Life