It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish.

Author: alan (page 2 of 3)

Swapping a lollipop for a kitkat

I have a Google Nexus 7 that I’ve been pretty pleased with since I bought it new back in 2012. As with all Android devices it’s had its share of software updates along the way and I’ve never had any problems with those. Generally I’m cautious of major operating system upgrades, but given my track record with this device I decided to give Lollipop a go when the update announced itself on my home screen back in December. Surely Google would have tested their latest OS with their own devices I reasoned …

Big mistake. HUGE!

The new operating system wrecked my Nexus; it became totally unusable.

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A new guitar in the family

So Christmas 2014 has come and gone, and my eldest daughter got her first guitar. She picked it herself months ago (in Dawsons, Belfast) and has been waiting patiently ever since then. It’s an Epiphone EJ-200EC and here are some photos I took myself. I have to say I think it’s a gorgeous looking instrument and it plays and sounds pretty good too. It’s probably not the guitar I would have picked for her as it’s pretty big, but she tried it out and loved it and that’s the main thing!

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Styling forms with Twitter Bootstrap

Lets be honest, I’m a coder not a designer. And like many coders who are not designers, I use Twitter Bootstrap a lot. It’s a great framework that works really well, but sometimes I get frustrated by the amount of mark-up I end up adding to style my forms.

Take the following login form example:

<div class="container">

<h2>A simple login form</h2>


    <div class="form-group">
        <label for="username">Username</label>
        <input type="text" 
        <p class="help-block">
            Hint: it might be your email address</p>

    <div class="form-group">
        <label for="password">Password</label>
        <input type="password" 

        <label><input type="checkbox"/> Remember me</label>

    <button type="submit" 
            class="btn btn-default">Login</button>



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A new camera

Many years ago I decided I would love to have a go at taking some serious photographs. So I went out and bought an SLR (which I still have by the way) and starting taking some shots. But I quickly realised that about 95% of my photos were rubbish and that photography wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped. Given the high cost of photo processing at the time, my new-found hobby soon died on the vine. A little sad, I moved on.

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Strawman planning with Excel

It’s no secret to those who know me that I hate Waterfall project planning. For a good number of years now I’ve advocated a hybrid planning approach based on ideas borrowed from both the Agile Unified Process and Scrum. Unfortunately this doesn’t always cut it in the world of enterprise development or fixed-price customer solutions and I’m often asked to produce a more traditional plan.

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