Author Archives: Brendon Ford

Blockchain & Crypto Currency WT…..

It feels like if you are not talking about crypto, blockchain, AI or machine learning you are out of the loop…… or maybe you are missing out on something. There is certainly a lot going on in the space but the question for me is where do you spend your time learning? The reality is you have to learn a little to understand if you need or want to learn a lot, also its helpful if the learning relates to what you do during the day.

Of recent I’ve been playing with Crypto currencies like every other person, after all www.coinbase.com made has made it easy……. But in additional to this I’ve been trying to get more informed. I’ve been checking out http://blockchain.global/blockchain-innovation/ as a podcast plus reading a bunch of stuff, it feels like information overload currently.

With regards to Blockchain I’ve been trying focusing on what Microsoft is doing in the space as my day job relates to the Microsoft world. The following are some of the resources I’ve checked out.

The Microsoft Coco Framework

This is interesting as it will allow the standard Microsoft Development company to leverage the skills that they already have inhouse to some degree, also as a framework it looks like it starts to address some of the common requests a standard business customer asks for.

  • Throughput and latency approaching database speeds. Moving from 20 transactions a second to 1000+ per second
  • Richer, more flexible, business-specific confidentiality models.
  • Network policy management through distributed governance.
  • Support for non-deterministic transactions.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/announcing-microsoft-s-coco-framework-for-enterprise-blockchain-networks/ here is a summary video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s6JMmGJ-dY about Coco

Also check out this web interview if you want to understand a little more from one of the key guys at Microsoft on Coco https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWuipzXYyiU

This was an interesting post to provide some food for thought https://semiengineering.com/blockchain-hype-reality-and-opportunities/

Another interesting post that I ran into https://github.com/Azure/azure-blockchain-projects/blob/master/bletchley/bletchley-whitepaper.md

 

On top of all the reading I keep coming back to WHY? Why do a blockchain based project and will the ROI be realized? I guess with all “new” things you have to force a fit to validate the why, the forcing motion just needs to be balanced, measured and monitored. Over time we will see more and more examples come to life to help us understand the practical implementations. I spotted http://id2020.org/ today which feels like a great example and http://www.diamonds.net/news/NewsItem.aspx?ArticleID=59618 and UNICEF is putting some money on the table https://www2.fundsforngos.org/news/unicef-funding-opportunity-for-blockchain-start-ups/

Time will tell where this all lands but its looking interesting.

Dry June is over and I survived it

 

Well that’s 30 days of not drinking, stepping and climbing flights of stairs done and dusted. 30 days and not one drop of alcohol! Some felt that might have been rather hard for me but I smashed it!! I did over 331,500 steps and walked up over 704 flights of Stairs so I’m just under a 1/3 of the way up Mt Kilimanjaro!

The one causality of the month, my Fitbit Charge HR started crashing in the last week of the month which meant that I missed recording some of my steps. The online chat help from Fitbit was great and they shipped me out a brand new replacement!!

Looking at the Numbers, my biggest day on step count Tuesday the 14th of June and was just over 25,000 steps, I found the best days were the days when we were dog sitting for Mr Campbell and I was walking Harvey AKA Jab, this combined with a date night walking date we knocked over 25k.

The biggest day Wednesday the 8th of June on the stairs was 44 flights and it was early on in the process, I think I did a couple of trips up the stairs at work and then who knows what else. On the drinking front Trudy deployed a great test for me and we went to a Woodinville winery for about 6 hours on a Sunday to have lunch with some new friends. The other big test was Brain’s 50th birthday party with all you can drink cocktails and oysters. Good oysters! in this situation I was a great sober driver for Trudy kinda like she was for me when she was pregnant (yes yes one month of sober driving is nothing like 9 months of pregnancy).

The money, so I’ve only officially raised about $200 but I’ve had some verbals from folks suggesting they will donate which is great. Thanks for all the support and notable thank you to James Porretta for the tweets, donation and support https://twitter.com/james_porretta also Richard Penny https://twitter.com/HeraldIslander and John Luangco from the Auckland Provoke office for your donation!

 

To catch up on what is happening with JR, JB and Tim head over to their site http://kilikiwis.nz/ to donate and support my efforts and support them please donate here https://kilimanjaro16.everydayhero.com/uk/kilikiwis Thanks and until next time!

 

 

Dry June is over and I survived it

No Beer of cocktails

Update on my June fundraising drive for kilikiwis www.kilikiwis.nz

11 days and counting! We are now well into June and my plan to try and help to raise some money for JR, JB and Tim as they head towards their November “hill” climb. If you are interested on what they are up to check out their blog posts they are producing some great reading.

Let’s recap on what I’m trying to do! First up no drinking of the alcohol…… Second how many steps can I get in? Third how many flights of stairs can I climb? To provide a little perspective on what a flight of stairs equates to around the world check out the following.

How are my stats looking? So far as at Saturday the 11th of June I have stepped 109,803 steps (room for improvement here I need to step up the daily step count, I’m only averaging 9,982 steps a day) or as per the above list I’ve just about walked up and down Mount Everest in “steps” but nowhere near in flights. On the flights of stair count I’ve done 268 flights (or about 24 flights a day) or 3 ½ times up the Seattle Space needle or one trip up the CN Tower in Toronto (WPC 2016 is in Toronto).

or one of these

From a non-drinking stand point I’m 11 days in and no liquor even after a full day out at a couple of lovely Woodinville winery’s last weekend (Chateau Ste. Michelle & Novelty Hill). Now onto the money side of things the total raised at the moment is not huge and is limited to me and Mr James Porretta https://twitter.com/james_porretta thanks Jimbo for putting it in writing! The running total is around $50 so far, I’d love to get north of $500 and close to $1000 If you have suggested you want to back me please let me know your numbers and I can add you to my running total, money motivates lads and ladies! I’m super happy to back date your running total or if you want to do a fixed donation let me know!

Remember it is for the kids, go here to donate if ya feeling like it! Also I’ll be keeping a running total so if you opt in I can let you know how its shaping up over the month!

Thanks for the support and kind words so far and also thanks Trudy, Cj, the Seattle office (the daily offers of a beer), Jeremy, Brett & Tim for your “support” around keeping off the bottle.

Willpower, Technology and Fundraising

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I have been thinking about how I can support some friends who are doing some fundraising for a project they are working on.  In short JB, JR and Tim are planning on climbing Mt Kilimanjaro to support World Child Cancer and their work efforts in Africa.

Find their Facebook page here and website here

Anyone that knows me, will know a few things about me, such as my appreciation for a couple of ales every now and again and my love of a challenge!  So I’ve come up with a plan.

First up I’m looking at not drinking any alcohol for the month of June! Plus, stepping up my steps and to pretend I understand anything about climbing a mountain, I’m going to do some stair climbing!

Here’s where you, my family and friends come into my grand plan.  My ask is pretty simple, support me, to support JB, JR and Tim.  If you are keen, then you could support me by picking one (or all of the following), then at the end of June you donate directly to the Kili Kiwis Donation page here.

You could

  1. Challenge me to not drink, e.g. for every day I don’t drink you pledge $1 30 days in June = $30, if I only make it halfway you would only be up for $15
  2. Challenge me to step up the steps, e.g. 10 cents per 1000 steps. 10,000 in one day = $1
  3. Challenge me to climb 100 flights of stairs for $10. If I did 500 flights of stairs you would be up for $50
  4. Do the combo:
    50c per day to not drink
    5c per 1000 steps
    $1 per 100 flights of stairs

My plan is to blog results once a week so you will know the damage.  Also as soon as I have a beer\wine\gin\vodka etc., the not drinking pledge fees end so I’ll need to stay strong and do it for the kids!

Anyway if you are keen to get in on the action and motivate me to work a bit harder and to take an extra step or climb another stair you can PM on Facebook, add a comment or email me and that way I’ll include a running total of money raised in my blog post. For those of you who are friends with me on Fitbit you will be able to see my progress (walking and stair climbing) via Fitbit screen grabs.

I’m going to pledge myself to the following, $1 a day to not drink, 5c per 1000 steps and $1 per 100 flights of stairs.

Setting up your WordPress site in Azure

The biggest part of the delay on getting my blog back up and going really related to me procrastinating about setting it up in Azure again. Last time I setup my WordPress blog on Azure I was using MySQL via the ClearDB service. It worked ok but it all got to hard when I had to restore my blog when I accidently deleted it L.

Getting back into the office this year I committed to myself to getting my blog back up and going again, I was at the point where I was just going to go back to hosting it with www.wordpress.com and move off Azure. But with the aim of continuing to learn about Azure (using it, managing it etc) I decided to make one last effort to get WordPress going on Azure. First things first I’m a believer in asking people that have done it before, so I asked JB (https://twitter.com/jiminynzl) and he point me at http://projectnami.org/ and OMG it was so simple to get up and going with Project Nami. Last year when I looked at this I could have deployed from www.github.com but it would have taken a little bit of work (I was thinking that’s what I would have had to do today). The new approach using Azure Resource Manager via the deploy to Azure button is crazy simple! Click click click and you are done!

Post deployment I have done a couple of other things also, to avoid the issues of the past I’ve configured to automatically backup my Azure Website and SQL DB, I’ve also added SSL (www.name.com had a RapidSSL cert for $9.99 USD a year!).

 

In summary if you want to run WordPress on Azure this tool is a MUST to check out! Thanks to the team at Project Nami for providing a great tool! You can find them on Twitter at https://twitter.com/projectnami