Categorised by 'Random Thoughts'.

  • Stack Overflow is known for being the one of the best resources for developers to get answers to their questions. It truly is a treasure trove of information where you're guaranteed to get an answer. But I find asking a question can be a little trying at times and this is coming from someone like myself who has been a Stack Overflow user for around 11 years.

    I wrote my last Stack Overflow question (now deleted) middle of last year with the feeling of ineptitude after within a matter of 15 minutes my question was hit with downvotes with no clear explanation. As I stated above, I'm not a Stack Overflow novice and understand how to ask a question and adhere by its strict guidelines.

    I don't think downvoting has any correlation with what users historically faced where there were reports of the platforms toxic nature. I can see Stack Overflow has made active steps to be more welcoming and inclusive to developers of all experience levels so they won't experience what I previously called "Question Assassination", where a question is posted and some (if not all) of the following could be experienced:

    • Downvoting to oblivion
    • Comments linking to "How to ask a question"
    • Marked as low-quality
    • Comments with a hint of condescending attitude referencing the inadequacy of the question

    There have been less of these negative interactions over the years and the Stack Overflow community seemed to have turned a corner. But there are still cases of "trigger-happy" downvoting that still runs rife.

    On a personal level, I've received downvotes from questions where I didn’t fully grasp some of the core concepts of what I was asking. - Something that can happen to anyone who is learning something new. You would think this is what a Q&A platform is for. For some well-seasoned Stack Overflow contributors, there seems to be an expectation for a set level of understanding of the question you ask, which can all be very subjective.

    At times it feels like questions are downvoted before they even have a chance to properly be nurtured.

    Downvoting without any form of context should not be allowed, making it compulsory to add a comment as to the reason why a question is not up to par. This in turn will provide guidance on what improvements need to be made to make the question more adequate. - As long the comment doesn't form judgement on why the question was asked in the first place. For example:

    I downvoted because these "How can I do task A without using obvious language features X, Y, or Z?" questions are silly puzzles which have no place in serious programming, and essentially no value for future readers.

    A comment like that would fall under my "Question Assassination" criteria. This type of criticism is not constructive to the individual asking the question.

    When down votes are accumulated in such quick-fire fashion, the first inclination is to delete the question so lost reputation points can be regained and to also keep a clean track record on your profile. I have done this very thing in the past as I fear this displays ineptitude.

    But maybe I should be looking at downvotes from a different angle...

    I believe that developers like myself need to develop a thicker skin and not be too concerned with the number of downvotes received, instead viewing it as a learning experience in order to grow and become better. When we ask a question, we have just as much of a role to play in nurturing it to make it better from the negative responses, and given enough time, a question may make a turnaround where the number of upvotes negates the number of downvotes.

    Guide To Asking A Question

    Everyone needs to remember Stack Overflow is a very different type of forum, where serious time needs to be invested into writing a concise question. No stone should be left unturned when it comes to providing what has been attempted and context to what is expected from the successful execution of problem code.

    Hopefully, there will be less chance in receiving negative feedback if these steps are followed.

    1) Has The Question Already Been Answered?

    There is a high likelihood your question to some degree has already been asked before. Stack Overflow provides a list of similar posts as you write the post title. Do not ignore these posts and give them a thorough read as they may help.

    If none of the previously written posts does fit your use case, you have a basis to post your question. To ensure the question does not get marked as a duplicate, it is a good idea to refer to the questions you have already read and how your scenario differs.

    2) Spelling and Grammar

    Proper use of grammar should be used along with correct spelling to ensure readability and understanding to a wider audience.

    3) Formatting

    Moderators will not look so kindly to a poorly formatted post. Most importantly, a badly formatted post does a disservice in getting a prompt answer to your question. Use code blocks, lists and headings for easier reading.

    4) Examples, Examples, Examples

    Provide as many code samples that demonstrate what you've attempted to resolve the issue. Without sufficient code samples, it's difficult for someone to assist. As stated in the "Formatting" section, ensure code blocks are used.

    Final Thoughts

    I come to the conclusion that asking a question on Stack Overflow is unlike any other Q&A forum where any type of question is openly accepted for what it is with minimal guidelines. I can't fault the tight grip its moderators have in attempting to retain the quality of both questions and answers. However, I do think there is a persistent issue with how a question is nurtured regardless of the quality it is perceived to be.

    Stack Overflow is run by a passionate programming community of experts who set the bar high in what is expected when a question is posted and there is a lot to learn from them if done correctly - free of rudeness and demeaning responses.

    As painful as it is to be downvoted, I'll try to be a little optimistic and not take it personally as it's the type of constructive criticism you won't get anywhere else and just might make you a better developer.

  • Amazon's return process is second to none. It is one of the very few large e-commerce sites that gets the process right and makes the process painless for its customers. Along with their customer support, I've never had an issue in returning an item if the quality of the item was not up to standard or received damaged. But in such cases just because you can return an item should you?

    Ever since I read articles on Amazon destroying millions of items of unsold stock just to be sent to landfill, I've been more mindful as to when I should return an item.

    If I receive an item that slightly damaged, I normally opt for a discount rather than sending it back. I've done this in the past by either contacting the third-party seller or Amazon customer service using their online chat tool. They are very forthcoming in offering a discount as long as you can provide proof that the product you received is damaged or not in an acceptable condition.

    This approach has worked for me whenever I felt it was required. Not surprising when you take into consideration the cost to the seller for pickup and disposal (or renewing the product).

    I normally opt for this approach for items that are still fit for purpose, where the damage can easily be hidden and the longevity is not compromised. Of course, the level of damage that is deemed acceptable depends on the product and your own personal view.

    Why not try this alternative the next time you receive a damaged product that is still able to serve its purpose? If enough of us are able to take this route, it can not only benefit the environment but also reduce waste.

  • Published on
    4 min read

    The Future of Death In A Digital Age

    I've started watching a very interesting Netflix series called "The Future Of". A documentary series exploring how new developments in technology and other innovations will change our lives in the future.

    The episode that caught my attention broached the subject of "Life After Death" and spoke about how through holograms and voice cloning, the approach to how we come to terms with death and say goodbye to our loved ones on passing will change. Some ideas presented were inspired, others not so much.

    Strangely enough, the points raised resonated with me. Probably because I've put great importance on preserving memories through photos and ensuring I will always have these throughout my lifetime to look back on and act as a time capsule about my family for generations after me.

    Life and Our Social Digital Footprint

    After death, we not only leave behind our loved ones but also a big trail of data! If you could put a number on the amount of data we collect (including collected about us unknowingly) over a lifetime, what would it amount to?

    Research conducted in 2016 by Northeastern University, estimated that 1.7 MB of data is created every second per person. This would equate to 146880 MB per day! Over a lifetime… I dare not calculate. It is these digital exhaust fumes we all produce that will remain long after we're gone.

    The biggest chunk of this is taken up through the use of social media, sucking up artefacts about us like a vacuum. To put this into some perspective, social media collects so much data, they can’t remember all the ways they surveil us.

    It’s crazy to think the amount of data we’re openly willing to share to the likes of Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. I sometimes think about what my next generation will think when it is my turn to move on to the "next life" and see the things I've posted (or lack of!) on these platforms. Will this be considered a correct representation of me as a person?

    Death and Ownership of Data

    What happens to all this data after death? - This very important point was brought up in the episode.

    Thankfully, not all is doom and gloom when it comes to having control of a deceased online profile. The majority of online platforms allow the profile to be removed or memorialised with the consent of an immediate family member. For this to be actioned, a death certificate of the deceased and proof you are the next of kin will need to be provided.

    Unfortunately, this will not always be the status quo. There will always be a question on just how many people are aware this is an option and can carry this out as a task. Regardless of whether a profile is claimed or not, there will be on a daily basis an accumulation of deceased profiles.

    Social media platforms are getting wise to this impending scenario, especially when you have the likes of Facebook and their future battle with the dead. According to academics from the University of Oxford, within the next 50 years, the dead could outnumber the living. Other online platforms could find themselves in a similar fate.

    They will need a strategy in place to make their online presence financially viable to investors for when the ad revenue dries up and will have to be creative in how this data can be of use.

    In the episode, it highlighted your data will most likely belong to the social media platform to do with as they please for their monetary gain. For example, in the future, the avatar of a deceased member of your family could be used to advertise a product that in real life would never support. - Something you could only imagine from the writers of Black Mirror.

    What about self-managed data like a personal website, photos and files stored on a computer or NAS? Unfortunately, this is where things get a little tricky as someone technical will have to be entrusted to keep things going. This has put into question all my efforts to create a time capsule storing all important photos of family past and present, painstakingly organised securely within my NAS. What will become of this?


    I feel this post doesn’t lead to any conclusion and probably raised more questions than answers - thoughts on a subject that creates a great impression on me.

    It's an irrefutable fact that technology is changing the way we die, and for the living, changing the way they deal with death. Future generations will find it easier and more accessible than ever to know who their ancestors were - if they felt inclined to find out.

    Could it be considered narcissistic to invest so much effort in ensuring our digital footprint is handled in the manner we would like the next generation to see after we die? A form of digital immortality. Depends on the length you want to go to ensure how you're remembered.

    I end this post paraphrasing an apt quote from Professor Charles Isbell (featured in the episode):

    If you perceive immortality as nothing more than your great-great-grandchildren knowing your name, the type of person you were and the values you held, this is all anyone could ever ask for.

  • Published on
    3 min read

    A Mother Tongue Lost

    I've always been unashamedly honest about not having the capability of speaking my mother tongue - Punjabi. I was brought up in an Indian household where those older than I would freely converse with one another in the home-grown language handed down to them. So Punjabi isn't a completely foreign language to me and I'm capable of getting the gist of what is being said... especially Indian family gossip!

    Throughout my life, I have always been spoken to in English by family around me and speaking fluently in Punjabi wasn't something that was ever forced upon me. In some ways, I'm grateful for this. If I look back at the mindset of my younger self, I more than likely would have rejected the notion of speaking a different language as I felt inadequate when it came to anything to do with learning. I knew from a very young age I was someone who wasn't naturally gifted in the art of learning - not from the lack of trying.

    Sometimes it's easier to reject our weaknesses instead of confronting them.

    I can't help thinking how different things could have been if my primary language of birth was Punjabi and English as secondary...

    Would I feel less ostracised from my own culture?
    Would I have taken more of a liking to Indian films and music?
    Would I be more aware of key festivals and take an active part in them?

    These thoughts have always been a part of me and it is only now they've come to the surface and stare me in the face each day after many years of keeping it locked tight within. The driving force behind these thoughts is being married to someone born in India where my cultural inadequacies that were once hidden in the dark now shines brightly for her to see.

    The time has come where change needs to happen, where I no longer take humour (a sign of weakness) in not knowing my cultural heritage or language. Why hasn't this cultural yearning come sooner? Well, I guess you never yearn for the thing you've never felt was lost.

    Through my wife's influence, I think my "Indian meter" is increasing day by day and have been introduced to things that are new to me, which can both be interesting and scary at the same time. I've even been watching a lot of Indian films and to my surprise rather enjoyed.

    I think it's through her where I worry less of not knowing certain aspects of my culture, whereas in the past only ever relied on my Mum to keep me in the loop. I've previously said in my Preserving Digital Memories post the following:

    I came to the sudden realisation as we all sat down to my mum belting out her prayers that this will not last forever and it dawned on me that these are truly special moments. Being an Indian who is culturally inept in all the senses and cannot speak his native tongue, I would be comforted knowing that I'll have photos and video to look back on many years to come.

    I am comforted knowing that the little Indian culture I have left will (as a minimum) be retained, if not grow through both their influences.

    The path that lies ahead won’t be easy, especially the part where I have to grasp the concepts of learning Punjabi as well as taking more of an invested effort in special days of the year and the reasons behind them.

    I can take comfort in knowing my journey has already begun and have learnt a lot from watching Indian TV shows alone. Even though the TV shows are in Hindi, it’s a start. For some reason, I seem to have the ability to remember bad words and phrases with such ease - to my wife's displeasure.

    At the core, I will always be British but somewhere along the way, I will always be an Indian at heart too.

  • Published on
    1 min read

    Decision To Cross-post To Medium

    As much as I'd like to retain content on a single web presence, I find there are some posts that don't get much traction. The majority of my posts contain technical content that Google seems to pick up very easily due to relatable key phrases and words that developers in my industry search for.

    However, posts that are less technical in nature and (in my opinion) more thought-provoking lack page views due to the organic nature of how it's written. I believe these posts are more suited to be shared on Medium.

    I get more satisfaction in the posts that speak from my experiences and thought processes, most of which you will find in the Random Thoughts and Surinder's Log categories.

    I've already shared a handful of posts on Medium in the past - my last post was published in October 2018. I still plan on making this site the first place where content is published and then cross-post to Medium as I see fit. Check out my "Technical Blogging: Where Should I Be Writing?" post that details thoughts on the very subject of cross-posting.

    Feel free to checkout my Medium profile here.

  • The older I get, the more obsessed I have become with preserving life’s memories through photos and video. With so many companies offering their storage solutions, we’re living in an age where storage is no longer something that comes at a premium. There are a wide variety of pricing and feature tiers for all, benefiting us as consumers. If you have full trust in the service provider, they are suited particularly well for the majority of consumer needs. But as a consumer, you need to be prepared to shift with potential service changes that may or may not work in your favour.

    For many years, I have always been conscious that I’m a photo hoarder and believe that there isn’t a bad photo one can take with the help of advancements in phone camera technology. If you ask any of my work colleagues, they’d probably tell you I have a problem. When we go on any of our socials, I’m the first person to whip out my phone and take pictures as they make nice mementoes to look back on and share.

    On a more personal note, during last years Diwali I came to the sudden realisation as we all sat down to my mum belting out her prayers that this will not last forever and it dawned on me that these are truly special moments. Being an Indian who is culturally inept in all the senses and cannot speak his native tongue, I would be comforted knowing that I'll have photos and video to look back on many years to come. From that moment, I decided to make an active effort to capture smaller moments like these. Maybe the pandemic has shown me not take things for granted and appreciate time with family more.

    I got a little serious in my crusade and took things a step further by acquiring as many family photos as possible by purchasing a photo scanner to digitise all prints for safekeeping. Prints fade in time, not in the digital world.

    Photo Backup Strategy

    Whether I take photos on my phone or my FujiFilm X100F camera, the end destination will always be my Synology NAS where I have the following redundancies in place:

    • RAID backup on all hard disks.
    • Nightly backups to the cloud using BackBlaze.
    • Regular backup to an external disk drive and stored off-site.

    As expected, my phone gets the most use and everything by default is stored within my Google Photos account using free unlimited storage. I then use Synology Moments that acts as my local Google Photos where my photos are automatically stored to my Synology in original quality.

    My camera gets mostly used for when I go on holiday and events. I store the RAW and processed photos on my Synology. I still upload the processed photos to Google Photos as I love its AI search capability and makes sharing easy.

    At the end of the day, the layers of redundancy you put in place depend on how important specific photos are to you. I like the idea of controlling my own backups. I take comfort knowing my data is stored in different places:

    • Synology
    • Backblaze
    • Google Photos
    • Offsite Hard Drive

    Cloud Storage and Shifting Goalposts

    The fear I had pushed to the back of my head finally came to the forefront when Google changed its storage policy.

    The recent news regarding the changes in Google Photos service gives me a sense of resolve knowing I already have my local storage solution that is already working in parallel with Google Photos. But I can’t help but feel disappointed by the turn of events though. Even though I can to some extent understand Google's change in their service, I can't help but feel slightly cheated. After all, they offered us all free unlimited storage in exchange to allow them to apply data mining and analysis algorithms to improve their services. That's the price you pay for using a free service. You are the product (this I have no grievances with)!

    Now they have enough of our data, they can feel free to cut the cord. We all know Google has a history of just killing products. Google Photos may not be killed, but life has certainly been sucked out of it.

    It may come across as if I’m solely bashing Google Photos, when in fact this is a clear example of how companies can change their service conditions for their benefit and face no repercussions. We as users have no say on the matter and just have to roll with the punches. It just seems wrong that a company would entice so many users with a free service to then strip it away. This is a classic monopolistic strategy to grab market share by pricing out its competitors to now demand money from its users.

    For me, Google Photos provided a fundamental part of the photo storage experience by making things easily accessible to family and friends. No longer will I be able to invite friends/family to contribute to shared albums unless they opt for the paid plan. Now when you’re surrounded by iPhone users, this creates another barrier of entry.

    This has cemented my stance more so to ensure have control of my assets and service, which is something I have been doing.

    Final Thoughts

    If I have carried out my photo archival process correctly, they should be accessible to future generations for many years to come and continue to live on even after I’ve expired. This should be achievable as I’ll continue to maintain this time-capsule as technology continues to evolve.

    The most important take-away: If you strip down my approach to the barebones, I’m not giving in to the monopolistic behaviour of the tech giants - Google, Apple or Microsoft. Just using them as a secondary thought to compliment my process. It’s just my NAS doing the heavy-lifting where I set the rules.

    These priceless heirlooms are a legacy and my gift for future generations to come.

  • I’ve had this blog since 2007 when I had a bright idea to make a small mark on the internet. Back then, there weren’t many platforms to easily contribute ones technical thoughts freely in writing as there are now. All you really had were forums and a handful of other sites in the likes of, C# Corner and (to name a few that come to mind). Now I could be wrong about the accuracy of this opening statement as 2007 was a long time ago - back in much simpler times when I was a Junior Web Developer.

    We have now come to a point where we’re spoilt for choice. There are multiple mediums where you have the freedom to publish your own technical writing in a more public and accessible way, the main ones being:

    • Medium
    • LinkedIn Articles

    At present, I post some of my writing to Medium whether that is a clone of my own blog content or new material specifically for the platform. However, I’m now rethinking where I should be publishing my content as I am now seeing more of my fellow developers on Twitter posting content to, when they previously used Medium.

    I really like found its approach to content curation to the developer community refreshing, which makes for very addictive reading and you can really see the passion in the writers. Should I start cross-posting there as well for more exposure? How does this affect things from an SEO standpoint where I have the same post on my blog as well as Medium and All I know is anything I cross-post from my blog to Medium gets ranked higher in Google search results, which is to be expected.

    If I’m being honest to myself, I like posting content where I’m another small cog part of a wider community as there is a higher chance in like-minded individuals gaining access to your content and in the process get involved by commenting and imparting their knowledge on your written piece. You can’t help but feel rewarded when your article gets a like, clap or comment, which in return makes you want to do the same for other contributers. This doesn’t really happen on a personal website.

    When you are posting on another platform you don’t have to worry about technical issues or hosting. The only thing you need to do is write! But you have to remember that you’re writing in a platform that is not your own and any future changes will be out of your control.

    As great as these other writing platforms are, you are restricted in really seeing the developers personality, which is something that speaks volumes when viewing their personal website. They present their content in their own unique way and most importantly write about things freely that, otherwise, may not be within the parameters of a third-party platform.

    Final Thoughts

    As I’ve noted a shift in the number of technical posts being published to, I will more than likely do the same and cross-post any relevant content from my personal site. You can’t help but feel it’s the best place to get exposure to programming related content. Having said this, I still feel there’s is space for me to also cross-post to Medium. But what I won’t do is cross-post the same content to both. This feels counter-intuitive. Use the most appropriate platform that has the highest chance of targeting the readers based on the subject matter in hand.

    I don’t think I could ever stop writing within my own site as I like the freedom of expression - no strings attached. I can write about whatever I want and if there happens to be a post I’d like to also publish to the likes of either Medium or, I got the flexibility to do that as well.

  • I can only speak about my experiences from working in the technical industry, but there isn't a week that goes by when I am not being spammed by recruitment agencies who don't seem to get the message that I'm not interested. I can "almost" deal with the random emails I get from various agencies, but when you get targeted by a single person on a daily basis it gets infuriating!

    I remember back in the day when I was fresh out of University and the sense of excitement I had whenever a recruiter phoned or emailed. The awesome feeling that I was in demand! I can still remember my first job interview, where to my horror I found out that the recruiter "tweaked" my CV by adding skills that I didn't have any experience of, resulting in making me look like an absolute idiot in front of my interviewer. I thought they were my friend and only looking for my best interest. In reality, this is not the case.

    As an outsider looking in, the recruitment industry seems to be a really cut-throat business where only one thing seems to matter: the numbers! Not whether a candidate is particularly right for the role. I am not tarnishing all recruiters with the same brush - there are some good guys out there, just not enough.

    A little while ago, I was "tag teamed" by two recruitment agents working at the same agency within such a short space of time. What I'd like to highlight here is that I did not respond to any of their correspondence. But the messages still kept rolling in.

    From Emma...

    Emma sent me standard emails and was quite persistent. One brief Linkedin message accompanied by three direct emails.

    From: Emma
    Sent: 06 July 2016 14:37
    To: '
    Subject: New Development Opportunities based in the Oxfordshire area!

    Dear Surinder,

    How are you?

    I just wanted to catch up following on from my prior contact last week over LinkedIn, as mentioned I did come across your profile on LinkedIn and I would be keen to firstly introduce myself, as well as to catch up to find out if you could be open to hearing about anything new.

    As mentioned in my prior email, I am also recruiting for a .Net Developer for a leading organisation based in South Oxfordshire! I would be extremely keen to discuss this position with yourself in further detail.

    Please can you give me a call or drop me an email to let me know your thoughts either way. Hope to hear from you soon!

    Kind Regards,

    From: Emma
    Sent: 12 July 2016 14:45
    To: '
    Subject: Could you be interested in working for a leading Software House, Surinder?

    Hi Surinder,

    How are you?

    Could you be interested in new roles at present?

    If so as mentioned below, I am working on a new .Net Developer role for a leading company based in South Oxfordshire. Please can you give me a call or drop me an email through to let me know your thoughts.

    I will look forwards to speaking with you soon!

    Kind Regards,  

    From: Emma
    Sent: 15 July 2016 14:14
    To: '
    Subject: Could you be interested in working for a leading Software House, Surinder?

    Hi Surinder,

    How are you?

    Are you on the look out for new roles?

    If so as mentioned below, I am working on a new .Net Developer role for a leading company based in South Oxfordshire. Please can you give me a call or drop me an email through to let me know your thoughts.

    I will look forwards to speaking with you soon!

    Kind Regards,

    From Becky...

    Now Becky cranked things up a notch or two. She was determined to get my attention and very persistent, I'll give her that. Her strategy consisted of Linkedin messages, following me on Twitter and (like Emma) send me a few emails.

    From: Becky
    Sent: 07 August 2015 11:37
    To: '
    Subject: Could you be interested?

    Hi Surinder,

    I’ve come across your profile on LinkedIn and it made me think you could possibly be interested in a Web Developer opportunity that I’m currently recruiting for, based at a leading company in West Oxfordshire. 

    I appreciate that you may not be actively looking at the moment, but I can see that you have been at for over 5 years now, so I wanted to approach you about this as I thought you could possibly be interested in a change?

    I’ve included some more information about the role attached.

    <Omitted Job Description>

    I can see you’re working in an agency environment at the moment at <Omitted Company>, which is obviously great for the variety of sites you get to work on. This role will give you that opportunity as well, but with the chance to engage more with the projects your working on, having a deeper involvement in the entire process.

    You will get to work with the latest versions of ASP.Net and C#. My client also gives you full access to Pluralsight. On top of all this, the working environment is the most beautiful in Oxfordshire and there are excellent environmental benefits. The salary is up to <Omitted Salary>.

    That was the first email. A standard recruiters email, but went the extra mile to personalise things based on my current experience. The second email gets a little further to the point and I start to smell the sense of desperation.

    From: Becky
    Sent: 11 August 2015 12:34
    To: '
    Subject: Could you be interested?

    Hi Surinder,

    I just wanted to send you another email following up on my previous one below, regarding a Web Developer opportunity I am currently recruiting for based in West Oxfordshire. I have attached some more information for you to the email.

    I’d really like the opportunity to chat to you about this opportunity, as I think it could be a really great fit for you. The company are a great one to work for – they offer you fantastic environmental benefits, a beautiful working space, plus are keen to create an interesting and productive environment for developers with full access to Pluarlsight and the latest versions of ASP.Net and C#.
    If you are interested in discussing this with me further it would be great if you could get back to me! However, as I said in my previous email, if you’re not interested n pursuing new opportunities then please do just let me know and I shall remove you from our mailing list right away.

    Kind Regards

    I think by the the third and final email, Becky finally got the message and knew I wasn't going to take the bait. But admirably tries to get something out of it by asking if I know of anyone else interested in the position she is offering.

    From: Becky
    Sent: 13 August 2015 14:10
    To: '
    Subject: Could you be interested?

    Hi Surinder,

    I just wanted to send you a final email about the role below and attached to this email. I think with your experience at <Omitted Company> you would be a great fit for it, so I would love to have a chat with you about it if you think you could be interested. However, if you’re not looking for a new role – seeing as you are an expert in this field – would you know anyone else with your skill set who may be interested in this position? If so, please do not hesitate to pass on my details!

    Kind Regards

    Is it acceptable to go to these great lengths to get someones attention? A single email alone should suffice. I understand they have a job to do, but do they really think this approach works? They're clearly not engaging candidates in the right way. I truly question the mentality here. Recruiters remind me of Terminators...just without the killing part.

    Recruitment Terminator Reference - It Can't Be Reasoned With...

    Doesn't sound hopeful does it? But there are two things you can do to lessen the headache and make you less of a target and at the same time, still keep in the loop (if you feel ever so inclined) with the good opportunities that may arise:

    • First and foremost do NOT ever respond! Even if it is to tell them you're not interested. Soon as they know the email address is active and see signs of life, you'll never get them to leave you alone.
    • If you want to enquire about a position via a recruitment agent, use a different contact email address. At least you can ditch it at times of need.

    Loved reading this article titled: Stop The Recruiting Spam. Seriously.. An inciteful read covering some really good points on the state of the recruitment industry.

    Note to my current employment and any recruiters: I'm happy where I am.

  • Published on
    2 min read

    The Pursuit Of Happiness

    So it's finally come to this... A point in my life where I'm questioning what have I done to get to this place I currently find myself standing, wanting to make sense of an emotion that was so naturally built into my being from day one. But now, I am not too sure if it exists or ever did exist.

    The Sad Clown

    Before you read any further, I thought I just clarify you won't be finding me talking about the performance of Will and Jayden Smith in the film: The Pursuit of Happiness. The title of the film and this post is purely coincidental.

    This year has been to what I can only describe as: turbulent. The complete opposite to what it should have been. It was going to be a year of pastures new. A seed of great things to come was planted, watered on a daily basis and nurtured to flourish into the start of something quite beautiful. Alas, like the state of my lawn it’s very much the case where no matter how much hard graft is invested to transforming something withered to greener pastures, it morphs back to its original state as nature intended. Some things cannot be changed.

    Why do I write this? That I do not know. Maybe writing my inner thoughts into words to stare back at me in its raw unforgiving form is the only way to come to terms with what I am facing. Let's call it: therapy.

    I look at my life and think I am a lucky person. I have nothing to complain about, yet I feel something missing. As one day ends and another begins, I find myself wondering what I am trying to accomplish and questioning if I am doing everything in my power remedy the wounds still open from earlier this year. Honest answer: probably not. Yesterday, I thought about what Friedrich Nietzsche said:

    If you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you.

    By not confronting the wounds of yesterday, I'm consumed by being reminded of the painful events that has wedged itself deep into my hippocampus. Slowly eroding away my old self. But there is just enough for the small part of me that still exists to warn me that I am slowly edging mentally to the point of no return. So I am here writing this very post.

    If I don't start the healing process now, what I fear the most may come into fruition - others around me will notice the gaping hole where my left ventricle used to be. I have come to the conclusion that I'm not so good at being the great pretender over a considerable duration of time.

    With every letter I type I slowly regain consciousness and become self aware once again, coming to the realisation that this year has changed me. No doubt about that. But I'm stronger for it.

    If a human being thoughts and emotions is truly boundless, then it's in our nature to have the capacity to forgive, forget and learn. By doing this, I can only hope the resulting outcome will be... happiness. In time this will happen. As they say "time is a great healer". I take great comfort in that.

  • My bookshelf was really in the need of a good clear out. Out of all the books I own, I noticed that I seem to have more technical/programming books compared any other form of book. I guess this makes me your typical nerd with the high interest of anything programming related. Then again, my blog posts may already show that.

    Books Shelf of Programming Books (Click for enlarged image)

    As I peruse through my vast collection, I can't help but get in the mood to reminisce back at a time where I was still trying to find my feet in the coding world. I am reminded of the confusing and somewhat challenging journey as a student at Oxford Brookes University, where I was trying to get a grip on the fundamentals of programming by sinking my teeth into books about Pascal, Delphi and C++.

    It was only when carrying out my year long dissertation that I had a profound interest in Web Development as well as Microsoft development frameworks in general. This is probably the point in my life where my programming book purchases soared drastically. As you can see from my collection of my books in this post, two things are noticed:

    1. How out dated the subject matter is. Yes, there is a Classic ASP book in there.
    2. The thickness of each book. I think JavaScript Bible is probably the thickest!

    Collection of Programming Books (Click for enlarged image)

    The last programming book I purchased was around three years ago - C# In Depth by Jon Skeet. This was the first book purchase I made in a very long time after studying because I needed to up my game as well as to demonstrate my C# prowess. I generally use developer blogs and forums to expand my knowledge to all my never ending questions.

    So this leads me to the question that I will just throw out there. What is a better method to learning? Books or online resources?

    I think our way of learning has changed over the past few years and I don't think our old friend "the book" is as prominent as it once was as a learning aid, especially when there are far more accessible and interactive ways of learning.

    Pluralsight + Microsoft Virtual Academy + StackOverflow = My Learning Heaven

    Lets take training via Pluralsight as a fine example. Since registering, I find myself having the ability to learn on demand at my own choosing. I am not restricted to lugging a thick programming book around as (believe or not!) I once did. The flexibility of multiple learning paths guides me to all the courses I need to be proficient in a subject all from the comfort of a laptop, phone or tablet. In addition, unlike book purchases that will inevitably go out of date, you will access to all latest content at no extra cost. Big bonus!

    Pluralsight alongside Microsoft Virtual Academy (if you're a .NET Developer) is the most powerful learning resource a developer could have. As much as my argument is swaying more towards the paperless approach, there is nothing like having the satisfaction of flicking through pages of a book. I don't think I could completely empty my book shelf of all programming books. I have just too many timeless classics that I could never give away and will always go back to reach for, one of them being Code Complete.

    I came across an insightful article by Caroline Myrberg called: Screen vs. paper: what is the difference for reading and learning?, where she writes an interesting piece on what recent research had to say about addressing the issues of the learning processes involved in reading on screen compared to on paper. Surprisingly, there isn't much of a substantial difference in the how we are able to absorb information regardless of medium. It's all about how information is presented to us. The article highlights a study where participants completed a knowledge test of 24 questions after one group were given learning material in paper format and another on an interactive web page. The outcome:

    ...the web page group scored better on 18 of those questions, and significantly better (90% or higher) on six. So enhancing the electronic text instead of just turning it into a copy of the printed version seems to have helped the students to score higher on the test.

    I think this is why online learning like Pluralsight works so well! At the same time, there will always be a need for books. No matter how far technology continues to immerse ourselves on a daily basis. We as human-beings relate towards things that are tangible - physical objects we hold and touch. It's our default behavior and the way we're wired. But you can't help and embrace the massive leaps in technology, making access to learning resources more convenient then it ever has been.