When news of the first Raspberry Pi came out, I put my name on the waiting list. My thoughts were of how interesting it sounded.

However, when it came out I declined to buy because of some reasons at that time.

So, this week I decided to...

So, this week I decided to splash out a little cash and grab myself a nice Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. In fact, I picked up a starter kit which included the Pi, a case and power supply (and not forgetting the 16Gb memory card too). It arrived today, ya, and I thought I would run you through my initial thoughts (by the way, I am currently using it to write this post - Ya).

What was in the kit?

The kit itself came in 3 boxes. 1 box contained the Raspberry Pi 3 + Sim card, 1 box contained the case and a 3rd one contained the power supply.

The install

Fitting it all together was easy, just take off the top and sides to the case, put the Pi 3 in the case on the rests inside, then put the sides and finally top back on.

Next, on the bottom rear, I put in the Micro SD card. Against really easy. Finally, I plugged in my HDMI lead and the power supply and away it went.

The first thing that came up was a UI asking me to log into my WiFi - I chose to go WiFi over wired because of that, plus the wireless mouse and keyboard, meant fewer wires on my already cluttered desk.

Once I had entered the passcode for my WiFi - the next screen was to choose which install I wanted. Personally, I went for the recommended Raspbian which has given me a nice OS and the power of Debian to boot.

The install went quick, once I had accepted the message of 'This will overwrite.. blah...' and the system was up and running very quickly.

What are my first thoughts on using it?

So, now that it's installed I have had a little play. I like it. It seems quite responsive in its OS. I can do all the usual stuff like browsing and I had a quick run of Libre office. All it all, if you looking for a small computer to just browse the web, etc, it's good.

I also, of course, went onto YouTube. As I am using HDML (and my monitor must also have speakers) I got sound out of my monitor - the videos ran smoother. I'm running it at 1080p in case you wondered.

All in all, I think its a brilliant little device. A complete computer for £45. Just add a monitor, keyboard, and mouse and you've got a great little machine.

If your interested, I've put some Amazon affiliate link backs to the pack I bought. Buying through these won't cost you anymore - but will throw a little affiliate commission my way. Or just use the link to be nosey and see what I got.

As I use this more, I will be adding more posts. So, check back for future Raspberry Pi 3 adventures.

 

Where have I been of late?

Good questions. I’ve been around.. Though I have to admit; I’ve been quite preoccupied with lots of things and have only really been updating this mentioned freebie site. That said, you may have noticed (or not) that recently I changed the hosting of this site. I wanted to keep my VPS just for my freebie site so this and few other sites have gone into a reputable shared hosting server.

What.. only been updating this freebie site

Yes.. well, my time has been taken up with lots of personal type of stuff.. I wanted to update more sites but lacked behind a little. However, I’ve had this freebie site called Grab Free Stuff in January 2016.  The idea was, I wanted to create a site that had at least 1 fresh new free item each week day; also to list items that were not being listed on other sites.

A lot of freebie sites, you see, have days where they just repeat items they have listed before. Now, this is fine as long as there is something new. I was noticing though, that some of these sites had days with now new freebies. I knew I could do better, provide better, and so Grab Free Stuff was born.

What do I list then?

Another great question. Basically, anything that is completely free. I’ve listed free cosmetic samples, free toys, food, drink and a host of other things. I also list a number of items other sites don’t such as freebie software, freebie kindle books and free online courses. You can learn great stuff for free, read a great novel and use some fantastic free software instead of paying hundreds of pounds.

I often say that I list items I would want. In most cases this is completely true, though with the number of novels I have listed over the past year I could not read them all. I know many get great benefit out of them though.

Just go check it out...

I would say, just get over there and check out this site, grab some free stuff. It costs you nothing, you don’t have to register (although I do have a daily news letter that posts to your email with the latest freebies), you can just go onto the site and get the link(s) to some fantastic free items.

Go on.. you know you want to..

Starting a Podcast

Where I began

For a long time I always wanted to start a podcast. I’m not sure why; maybe it was a desire to be some sort of radio talkshow? Maybe it was just me wanting to talk about subjects I wanted to talk about and send that message to the world.

So I started my first podcast using the hosting service Spreaker. At that time it was just about learning the ropes, playing with sound and testing the waters. This went on for around 17 episodes until I reached a point where I ran out of ideas. This account remained with podcasts up to episode 17 until my paid account finished after 1 year.. This was early 2014 or there about.

Starting Over with A New Podcast

Recently I decided it was time to start over; time to start talking and letting my word out. This time round I decided to talk a little more time learning some more of the ropes. For example, my first podcast wasn’t even delivered into iTunes.

I did some research. I tested some items. I chose a subject. I was lucky enough to own equipment and in regards to software I chose Audacity as this was both free and quite a good program for audio.

So; I already had two of the 3 most important items. I had my idea and I had my studio. All I needed now was my hosting service. After looking around I decided on using Soundcloud.

Why Soundcloud?

I decided to us Soundcloud as my hosting service for this new Podcast because firstly I could use it for Free. At least up to a point where I would know if the Podcast was working or not. A free account with Soundcloud allows you to upload 3 hours of content. That allows me to test the water; my podcast estimates on size would be around 15 minutes so allowing me time to see how it goes.

This is something you may need to consider; is the length of your Podcasts going to be long or short. If longer then you may only get a few. If you find your; or in the case; if I find my podcast takes off then you can get unlimited upload quota for $9 per month - so this was the first consideration; testability with future expandability.

The second reason is that Soundcloud provides you with an RSS feed for your account allowing you to put this into iTunes. Of course; there are many other dedicated sites out there designed just for podcasting hosting and these will allow you to have or create an RSS feed for each of your podcasts. With Soundcloud you would need an account for each podcast. Again, something I considered when I created mine which I am happy about - but for you; the person reading this - consider if you want to create more than one account and if so check out some of the others such as libsyn.

iTunes and Stitcher

You will get some listens of your new podcast in Soundcloud. However, if you want to be serious then you need to submit your new podcast to iTunes and Stitcher. Now, doing this is easy enough as you simply take the RSS feed address from Soundcloud and submit your podcast to iTunes and Stitcher.

In iTunes; this is done by going to the iTunes store; selecting podcasts then clicking on the link ‘Submit a Podcast’ . I have included the image below

ITunes Submit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you have done this then just follow the instructions. You will need to pose the RSS feed address. Once all submitted you get an email notifying you that it has been submitted followed by a second email (generally 2-5 days later) saying it has been successful (or not).

Stitcher is quite similar; you need to sign up for an account. Once singed up you will see a link in the many ‘ADD SHOWS’. Selecting this will display the screen that is shown in the image below

Screenshot 2015 12 28 22 16 39

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like the iTunes submit you enter a few details; one of the important ones being the RSS feed URL.

So what next?

For me its create more and more content. For my Podcast you can find me on iTunes here :

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/geekz-talk-podcast-podcasting/id1064945409?mt=2

or in Soundcloud its

https://soundcloud.com/netroman28

I’ve; at the time of posting this article; created 4 episodes. I have another to be recorded this week. My goal is to continue with creating valuable content and maybe moving on to a second or third.

If you have a goal such as this then don’t hold back; just do it. All you need is a computer (or phone) with a microphone. You can download your free software for editing (Audacity) and upload for free using Soundcloud. Infant; to make it simple and easy I’ve created a new Udemy course showing you how to do it for yourself. If interested then check out the following course link :

https://www.udemy.com/create-your-first-podcast-for-free-and-submit-to-itunes

 Conclusion

If you have a dream; just go for it. That was my conclusion. If people enjoy what  you produce then they will listen. If they don’t them they still may listen. But in the end; it takes very little to create your podcast above and beyond what you already have. Don’t hold back and I will see you in the Podcast iTunes store.

WordPress Custom Loop and Ultimatum

What is the Custom Loop?

When using WordPress as a blog; you create posts that get posted to your blog page. In Ultimatum you setup your page by using the WordPress Loop. This is the loop used in WordPress to process and show you posts.

So, in that case, what is the Custom Loop? WordPress provide a way of creating your own post types; a way of ordering them so only they show on pages; more specific, it allows you to basically have custom blog posts on individual pages.

In Ultimatum; when creating a layout; you can select the WordPress Loop and you can select the WordPress Custom Loop. In this blog post we are going to talk about the Custom Loop (which I use elsewhere in this site to show my posts for my courses - go check it out).

Create Your Custom Post Type

Before we get into this; what  you need to do is create a custom post type. You can do this by going to the Ultimatum > Custom Posts Type menu option. Here you select Create a Post Type and run through the prompted inputs to create. When created you will see another option in the WordPress menu on the left with the name given for you Custom Post Type - so in my page I have one Called Courses which you can see in this image below:

Screenshot 2015 11 24 22 25 04

Now that we have the custom post type you can create posts under that option in the same way you create posts in the Posts option. We will come back to this a little later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Create Your Layout

The next thing we have to do is create a new layout. This layout will include the WordPress Custom Loop widget. What I suggest is creating a layout which is either similar or identical to your blog page (you can use clone from that layout); that is if you have a standard blog page.

The WordPress Custom Loop, unlike the standard loop; has only 1 tab of options. This is because you only control the page with the multi-posts on it; the screen where you see a list of posts. Most of the options are pretty self explanatory such as Item Count; Show Posts As, etc. The only thing you really need to change is the Select Content Source - which you have to select the custom posts type you created. The other options you can change to fit your idea of the page.

Below we see an image from my custom post type; note where I have selected Courses:

Screenshot 2015 11 24 22 29 44

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Viewing Your Posts

So; here is the tricky big. What you have now is a page that will show the list of your custom posts. However, if you select one then nothing happens. Your posts do not open.. So, here is the trick - the trick that I found from experiment (as I could not find the answer anywhere).. When you create your custom posts; what you need to do is select a layout of your standard blog page (see image below); or a page layout that has the WordPress Standard Loop on it. Now, when you click on one of your custom posts it loads using the standard WordPress Loop and opens as you would want..

Here is an image taken from one of my custom posts :

Screenshot 2015 11 24 22 36 18

And thats it. Simple as that, just 2 layouts; one with custom loop and other with WordPress standard loop.

 

 

Conclusion

I searched over and over myself trying to figure out how to use the custom loop. In the end I discovered by experimenting.. Now that I have found out the info I wanted to supply it so that other Ultimatum Theme users can figure out and use the WordPress Custom Loop.

What are the 3 biggest issues?

I’ve been a working Scrum Master for a number of years now; having also been a developer for 18; and in that time I have helped create a number of new Scrum Teams, generally with team members that have never worked in Scrum before. In that time I have come across a number of issues in these teams but I would say the biggest 3 have to be

So, lets take a little look at these in more detail and how to move your teams forward with these issues.

Breaking down the project into stories

With software development in the past; many of use have used something such as Waterfall to design and develop projects and software. This involves doing all the design up front and then working on all the project until it is finished. We may break down components in to separate executables but we generally didn’t break down into small sections.

The engineers I have worked with that were moving into Agile and Scrum have always worked in this way. So; getting them to think smaller can provide some challenge. The idea is to break down items into the smallest possible stories; so even (if you wanted) down to a single button if it provided value to the release. Engineers that have only ever worked on delivering complete and runnable executables sometimes have difficulty seeing smaller deliverables that the complete solution.

It takes time and effort to show them that you can break down items. It also takes time and effort to show them how they can go smaller and smaller. Start with a complete shell and move down in size until you can get them creating stories which are small enough to deliver in the minimum effort - but which still have value to the deliverable.

Sizing with Story Points

Another issue is sizing. Many engineers in many software development projects size in time; days; weeks; months and so on. So, to get them to use story points where no time value is associated is very alien to them. Most seem to find it difficult to size in story points which relate to complexity without assigning a time frame. They also find it difficult to grasp the idea of team capacity based on these story points.

The easy solution at the beginning is to allow some loose times/days against story points; at least until they feel comfortable in sizing in points only. Over time they grasp the idea; and when capacity is stable they see that days and times are irrelevant. A sprint is a sprint (never changing in time) and a capacity is a capacity so they will grasp the sizing in complexity. Just remember to always fine your smallest story point (1 point) item first.

Scrum Events

The third thing I find the teams have problems with is Scrum Events (or meetings as they are). Many say that they never had so many meetings before Scrum and that its taking more time away from their development.

This again is about educating the team. Many seem to thing that the purpose of going Agile and using Scrum is to release items faster; which is not the reason. The reason is two fold. Firstly; its about iterative release so that you release in small complete sections and these go to the customers that are feeding into the project; so that an changes can get fed back.

The second reason; and I feel most important; is about improving the quality of the release and the team. This is where the scrum events are invaluable. A good scrum event (meeting) will identify issues early one. They will help improve the team; the quality of the product and eventually create a great self organising team that release software with fewer issues up front. This is what you need to show the team.

Conclusion

The listed above items are things I have found during my Scrum Mater days. Do you agree or disagree? If so then please leave me a comment. If you want to know more on the subject then please check out the link below. this is to a Udemy course I have produce on the subject of Creating a new scrum team. By using this link you can get this course for just $9

https://www.udemy.com/creating-a-new-agile-scrum-team/?couponCode=MyBlogCoupon

Want to learn a new skill?!

I have courses on working with HTML5 and CSS3, C++ and WordPress to mention a few. I also have a sale on with up to $92 off some of these courses. All are at the sale price if just $5

So why not check out the Udemy coupon links below.

Here Are The Coupons!

What I'm not going to do is put up flashy graphics and animations. Here we have titles and links for you to use:

HTML5 & CSS3 - Just Do It! Follow along & Create a HTML Page

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Learn To Use The Mac OS X Terminal and be More Productive

https://www.udemy.com/mastering-the-mac-os-x-terminal/?couponCode=SEANSBLOG

Better Note Taking for Business and to Brainstorm Ideas

https://www.udemy.com/create-graphical-notes-and-use-to-brainstorm/?couponCode=SEANSBLOG

Learn C / C++ and Object Oriented Programming (OOP)

https://www.udemy.com/beginning-with-c-plus-plus/?couponCode=SEANSBLOG

Create Responsive Websites with WordPress and Ultimatum

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Agile Scrum Training : Learn about Scrum and using Scrum

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Learn Scrum by Example - How to use by example

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Begin Creating Money Making E-Commerce Sites With WordPress

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MarsEdit Review

For some time now I have been reviewing hardware and software through a YouTube channel (or two). One of the latest products I have reviewed was MarsEdit for the Mac.

For those that have not heard of MarsEdit; this is an application that allows you to create a blog post on your Mac and then post to your blog site. You can maintain a number of different blog sites in the application itself and post to any of them from this one application.

If you did want to learn more on this application then check out my video look through and review below.

The Video Review

MarsEdit Look Through and Review

MarsEdit Look Through and Review MarsEdit is one of the top rated blogging apps for the Mac. The idea is simple; its an app that allows you to write and arrange your blog posts from your Mac and then post them when complete to the blog of choice. The app allows you to manage multiple blog sites making blog posting easy and accessible. In this video we take a look at MarsEdit; its functionality and how you would use it. Plus I give you my review verdict.

Read more ...

Where Did I Begin

Before WordPress; before even HTML4.. I used to create websites using HTML and a text editor. I progressed; through time; to using tools such as Dreamweaver back when it was still a version number and not beginning with CS.. I believe it was version 7 or something similar.

It has really only been the last 2 or so years that I have started using WordPress.

My Initial WordPress Experience

Like many who first find WordPress; I started with free Themes. I spent hours trying to find a theme that matched what I wanted. Hours going through the thousands of themes that were available. I found some that were close to what I was looking for but never quite right. So I started to learn how to make changes in the code (I am a Software Engineer after all) and editing to make the theme match; as close as possible; to what I wanted.

Premium Themes

My first foray into premium themes came after I saw Genesis Theme by StudioPress; I can't remember how I came across it. At the time I was doing reviews in my YouTube channel on products and I asked if I could try it out. It was great; although there was still some editing to be done to tweak some elements. I followed that up with a few other reviews on other premium themes; each one allowing me to make more changes without coding. The closest I came was the Catalyst Framework.

Then I Found Ultimatum

The Catalyst framework went a long way to creating the WordPress site that I wanted; but then one day I found Ultimatum. I found it by accident; an instructor I bought a course from on Udemy was talking about it and had a special deal.. I took that deal (its the first premium theme / framework I have bought) and have not looked back.

Ultimatum allows me to start with a completely blank slate. I then can build up Templates; template then can have layouts created. I can create layouts for all the different pages I want and the best of it is that it is my design, my creation and not one of someone else like most themes.

With each release of Ultimatum comes more options; more functionality; such as Bootstrap 3. Ultimatum has given me the ability to use WordPress but also design my own theme.

Now. I love Ultimatum and because of this I put that passion into a course. A course that I have on offer in this blog at a greatly reduced price of just $5. If your interested in finding out more then check out the link below. If you wanted to check it out for $5 then you can buy now. Its covered by a 30 day money back guarantee so you've got nothing to loose..

https://www.udemy.com/beginning-with-the-ultimatum-wordpress-theme-framework/?couponCode=SEANSBLOG

The Question

I recently got asked the question of how can I put a line under each of my posts on the multi post screen?

This is a question that I had asked myself at some point as its nice to separate out each post to make it obvious to everyone where each post preview starts and ends. The solution I came up with was to use CSS and place a bottom border after each post; therefore producing the line.

The Solution

The following steps and images show how I did this using just CSS with in the Ultimatum system

1) Goto your template and layout - So - Ultimatum > Template > Layout

 

2) Select the specific layout you have with your WordPress Default Loop in it

 

3) Select EDIT CSS > Layout Specific CSS from the top of the layout

4) Select Core WP > Posts from the menu

5) In Post Container (All Posts) section; Post Container Border - Set a size for Border bottom; select solid or some other style and a colour

 

Doing it this way its using the Ultimatum framework to edit the CSS and produce this effect. There are other solutions; some of which involve custom CSS - but doing it this way works.

Learn More If you want to learn more about Ultimatum then why not join my Ultimatum Udemy Course. Here is a great coupon that is practically giving away the course and it will teach you many aspects of Website Creation with WordPress and Ultimatum.

So, what is this special price? With this coupon you can get this course; worth $49; for just $5.. $5 to learn how to use this fantastic framework and get more than your moneys worth.. So what you waiting for; below is the link and I will see you on the inside.

https://www.udemy.com/beginning-with-the-ultimatum-wordpress-theme-framework/?couponCode=SEANSBLOG

The Task

I recently got asked to complete a test; in this test there was a requirement to create a dynamic HTML table. The requirement was that when data was entered into some fields; this would be used to populate the table.

There were a few other requirements; such as splitting on space; which I won’t cover in this post. We’re just looking at the dynamic tables.

How do we do this?

To do this we will be using HTML and and some Javascript. We need the Javascript to add the rows as we need them. I will keep this to the minimum; Javascript; as we don’t need that much. But it is required so..

The solution

Ok, lets get into this code.. First thing is we need to create a table.. So lets put that code together first

First, lets look at the HTML

 

[code language="plain"]

<!DOCTYPE html> <html lang="en"> <head> <meta charset="UTF-8"> <title>UI Demo</title>

<link href="Styles.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"> <script src="Scripts.js">addName.counterRows = 0;</script>

</head> <body> <div id="container"> <div id="uiContainer"> Full Name : <input id="Name" type="text" name="Name"> Age : <input id="Age" type="number" name="Age">

<button onclick="addName(document.getElementById('Name').value, document.getElementById('Age').value,document.getElementById('counter').value)">Add</button>

<table id="namesTable"> <tr> <th>First Name</th> <th>Last Name</th> <th>Age</th> </tr> <tr>

</tr> </table> </div>

<div id="counterDiv"> Total Records : <input id="counter" type="number" value="0" readonly>

</div>

</div>

</body> </html>[/code]

 This gives us a basic page that allows us to input some text value and number value and displays the table on the screen.. Quite simple so far.

The main part you want to look at is the button onclick function. This sets up the Javascript function and passes in the values so we can update them. The getElementById.<element>.value passes in the current value of that element; so for name its the value in the name text box.

Next, lets take a look at the CSS for this

[code language="plain"]#container { border: 4px solid darkblue; border-radius: 25px; padding: 30px;

/*center the container*/ width: 960px; margin: 0 auto; }

#Name { /* For Later Use */ }

#Age { /* For Later Use */ }

#namesTable tr:nth-child(even) { background: dimgray;}

#namesTable tr:nth-child(odd) { background: lightgray;}

#namesTable th { margin-top: 50px; background: royalblue; }

#namesTable { width: 100%; border-collapse: separate; empty-cells: show; }

#namesTable tr { /*display:block;*/ min-height:20px; }

#counterDiv { float: right; padding-bottom: 10px; }

#counter { float: right; border: none; width: 30px; }[/code]

 

This nicely sets up the formatting of the page; again nothing too complex.

So, finally. Next we can take a look at the simple Javascript function.

[code language="plain"]function addName(name, age, counter) { var table = document.getElementById("namesTable"); var row = table.insertRow(); var splitName = name.split(" "); /*Split name by space*/ var countRows = counter;

var cell1 = row.insertCell(0); var cell2 = row.insertCell(1); var cell3 = row.insertCell(2);

cell1.innerHTML = splitName[0]; cell2.innerHTML = splitName[1]; cell3.innerHTML = age;

countRows++; document.getElementById("counter").value = countRows; }[/code]

This function takes in the values for name, age and counter. We then create some variables linking one to the table and then creating a new row in that table.

Next, using the split function we split the text where there is a space and create an array called splitName. This will contain the two parts of our name (first and last).

Next, we create some new cell elements for the new row. Finally we set the HTML (value) of these cells to the elements in the array and age. innerHTML does this.

Doing this will create a new row in the table; making it a nice dynamic table.. You can also delete rows but I will leave this for another post.

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