Applied Cryptography in .NET and Azure Key Vault from Apress Now Available.

After a year of writing, reviewing and editing, I am pleased to announce that my first book for a traditional publisher, Applied Cryptography in .NET and Azure Key Vault has now been released. It has been an exciting journey writing for APress, and the experience was excellent. You sometimes hear bad stories of working with traditional publishers, but I am glad to say this wasn’t the case for me.

Applied Cryptography in .NET and Azure KeyVault

The journey for me started at NDC Oslo in 2017 where I was introduced an acquisition editor for APress. We got talking, and I suggested an idea for a book which I then formally pitched. After the pitch was accepted, I then signed the contract and agreed on a schedule for the first three chapters. To get a good start on the book, I decided to take a little writing holiday to Whitby where I could lock myself away near beautiful surroundings and make a start on drafting the first three chapters. I have always liked the idea of going on a short holiday to write, so this was helping to realize a small dream. I locked myself away for four days and managed to write the first draft for these chapters, and I was then joined by my wife and kids to spend a long weekend in Whitby. I submitted the three chapters to APress and waiting for them to be approved. Thankfully they were, and we agreed on a schedule to write the rest of the book.

I spent the majority of 2018 drafting the rest of the book and finished the first draft towards the end of October. If I was to work on the book full time, I really could have written it in two to three months, but because I have no idea how well the book will sell, or how much I can make from it, I decided to spread the work out while continuing to write courses for Pluralsight.

Once the first draft had been completed, the book was peer-reviewed; which involved an independent developer reading the book and checking it was accurate, made sense and the examples work. As each chapter was reviewed, I had to address any comments or concerns. I thought this part of the process would be difficult, but luckily I didn’t have to change much. Once peer review had finished the book went to be copy edited. At this point, I asked my friend Troy Hunt to write the foreward where he discusses data breaches. The book was officially finished at the end of January where it was then typeset and sent for printing.

Although I have self-published a lot of books, it has always been a dream to write a book for a traditional publisher, and now that dream has been realized. I have been asked several times if I will write another book like this. At the moment, I am not sure. I enjoyed the process, but I need to see how this book performs first. If it does well, then hopefully I can extend the book into a second edition. As for a new book, I have a few ideas, but I will wait until later in the year to decide.

The book is available from most online book retailers as well as traditional bookshops.

Apress.com

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Barnes and Nobel

Waterstones

Foyles

Pluralsight Blockchain Webinar

Earlier in the year I did a live Pluralsight webinar to about 700 people talking about what a Blockchain is? Why you would want to use one? The differences between a Blockchain and a Database and other interesting facts about the technology.

The recording of that Webinar is now available to watch on YouTube.

If you are interested in learning more about Blockchain from either a high level executive briefing standpoint or more as a software developer and architect, then I have the following courses available at Pluralsight.

State of Blockchain : Executive Briefing

Blockchain : Principles and Practices

New Courses at Puralsight

I have been very busy recently making new courses for Pluralsight and I am delighted to say I have just released two of them over the past week. The first course is called, Executive Briefing: State of Blockchain. This couse is a little different to the normal content on Pluralsight in that it is a short filmed course as opposed to screen casts and demos. 

The idea of this course is to teach information to tech leaders and C level execs quickly as they won’t normally have time to sit and watch long courses. My course is all about blockchain where I talk about what it is, why you would need it, potential use cases. I also run through a matrix of questions about whether a blockchai is suitable for your company and the key differences between a blockchain and a database.

This course was good fun to produce as I had to setup all the lighting and camera myself aswell as record good audio. This is much harder than you think with getting the lighting right to reduce glare from the computer screen and my glasses. I am really pleased with the results though.

Asynchronous Messaging with RabbitMQ and EasyNetQ

Accessing Rabbit MQ from .NET Core on the Apple Mac

The second course I have released this week is a more traditional Pluralsight course called, Asynchronous Messaging with RabbitMQ and EasyNetQ. This course is about the RabbitMQ messaging platform and how to use it with the EasyNetQ client library. The course is aimed at C# developers using .NET Core or the .NET Framework, and it will get them up and running and productive very quickly as it is very demo focused. 

This course works as a great companion to my other course, RabbitMQ by Example, which builds up the same sample application scenario but using the much more complicated RabbitMQ client library. If you want to compare the default client library to the EasyNetQ client library, then both courses will give you that information. If you just want to make your life easier and go straight to EasyNetQ, then this course contains everything you need. 

Flexispot E2B Sit / Stand Desk and Getting Healthier

Since I have been working for myself I have been trying to make sure I get more exercise by walking more. The problem though is that I then go to an office and sit down for 8 hours which is not good for you. To remedy this I decided to invest in an electric sit-stand desk so that I can make sure I stay more active during the day.

In this video, I talk about my new desk and the reasons for getting it.

If you are interested in the desk I got, then the details are here.

Flexispot E2B Sit / Standing Desk Frame

https://amzn.to/2PRPXw4

Flexispot Standing Desk Top

https://amzn.to/2wrDOGi

Flexispot Anti Fatigue Mat

https://amzn.to/2NymBkM

 

Ultra Small Mobile Writing Rig

For my job, I tend to travel a lot to conferences. When I am away I like to get as much work done as I can, but sometimes it isn’t really appropriate to get my laptop out, for example on a smaller airplane, train or in a restaurant; but in those times I like to get some work done like answering emails or drafting blog posts. To make these times more efficient, I have developed my little wiring rig that uses my phone, a copy of the Ulysses Writing App and the excellent Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard which allows me to be productive, yet more discreet or in smaller spaces when traveling.

Mobile Writing Rig using the Ulysses Writing App and the Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard.

The keyboard itself is very thin, even when folded which means it takes up hardly any space when packed in my laptop bag. It’s not the best typing experience as it takes a little getting used too, but it is indeed very workable. You can pair the keyboard with Windows, Android and Apple IOS devices which gives you a lot of flexibility. I pair it with an iPhone and an iPad. I don’t usually take the Apple Keyboard with me for the iPad when I travel as it makes the device quite thick in my bag, so I think this is a better solution for occasional typing; this setup has helped me remain productive when using a laptop isn’t easy to do.

A Gentle Introduction to GDPR – Resolving Compliance Challenges in Business

May 25th was a day that went down in privacy history as the new European GDPR regulations came into force for everyone in Europe and any company in another country that does business with European companies or citizens.

A Gentle Introduction to GDPR -  Resolving Compliance Challenges in Business

Companies have spent years trying to make sure they are going to comply, but now that date has passed, it doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels; GDPR is something that needs constant attention and understanding for people working in organizations that deal with peoples personal data.

In my latest book, A Gentle Introduction to GDPR –  Resolving Compliance Challenges in Business, I had the aim to try and make the GDPR regulations easily understandable for ordinary people by cutting through a lot of the legal jargon. By the time you finish this short guide, you will have an excellent understanding of what GDPR is and how it applies to companies and individuals. Regulations should not be feared, and you can reduce this fear and uncertainty by fulling understanding them.

A Gentle Introduction to GDPR is available both as a Kindle eBook and as a paperback directly from Amazon. Don’t let the GDPR regulations confuse you; let me help guide you through the jargon.

Available from Amazon.co.ukand Amazon.com

A Gentle Introduction to Social Engineering Attack and Prevention

I have recently released my latest book called A Gentle Introduction to Social Engineering Attack and Prevention as an eBook and paperback on Amazon. There will be an audio book version coming soon on Amazon, Auduble and iTunes.

In this book, I explore what social engineering is, and take the reader through the basic framework to launch an attack against someone including Information gathering, Pretexting, Elicitation, and Manipulation. Once I have taken the reader through these steps, I then talk about different ways to protect yourself and your companies so that you don’t become a victim of Social Engineering.

A Gentle Introduction to Social Engineering Attack and Prevention

This book is aimed at anyone who works in a professional environment from office workers through to high-level executives. Everyone can potentially be a target as criminals will target multiple people in an organization, so this book will help you be prepared to recognise the signs.

Removing Mental Roadblocks from Your Work

If you found this useful, then you might also like my book on overcoming procrastination called, A Gentle Introduction to Beating Procrastination and Getting Focused, which is available as an eBook and paperback on Amazon.

Being creative in the workplace is not rocket science; it’s an achievable feat. Creativity in the workplace does more good to you than harm. It helps you make progressive flows in your work, enhances outputs and brings fulfillment to your work.  As profitable as creativity in workplaces is, some forces will readily prevent you from being creative in your work. These forces are called mental roadblocks.

Removing mental roadblocks from  your work
Removing mental roadblocks from your work

Mental roadblocks make it impossible for you to explore your creativity to the fullest, thereby hindering your optimum performance at the workplace. They also hinder your brain from making the right-thinking connections necessary for creativity. For you to have increased productivity through creativity, you have to deal with mental roadblocks. Dealing with mental roadblocks goes beyond the daily performance of routine tasks. In squarely dealing with mental roadblocks, you must face both the external and internal aspects of productive creativity. If you neglect the internal aspects in pursuits of the external aspects, you stay in the same spot of non-performance for a very long time. Productive creativity entails you deal with the internal issues – the mental roadblocks.

We shall travel this journey of dealing with mental roadblocks that hamper your productivity and creativity at work. When you deal with these mental roadblocks, nothing will ever slow you down from putting in your all and getting the best in your workplace.

Introverts and Extroverts — How Different Are They?

I had an interesting conversation with someone recently about introversion where I mentioned that I am very introverted. The person I was talking too sounded quite shocked, and their reaction was, “You speak at loads of conferences on stage, surely you are not shy?”. I found this interesting that the concept of being shy is perceived to be a trait of being introverted.

The differences between introverts and extroverts
The differences between introverts and extroverts

I don’t consider myself shy at all. I will quite happily get up on stage in front of several hundred or a thousand people to deliver a technical talk. I will also mingle and talk with people at social gatherings, but when I do, I find this exhausting, and all I want to do afterward is hideaway by myself for several hours and recharge. This is especially true after delivering a talk; I want to be alone afterward when I have packed up and finished answering questions. The thing that makes me an introvert is that I require solitude to recharge my batteries whereas extroverts recharge in the presence of others.

This all got me thinking, and I decided to research the topic a little more. I hope you find this post interesting.

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