Pluralsight Play by Play: Developing Engaging Digital Realities

Earlier in the year, I was at NDC Oslo in Norway where I recorded a couple of Pluralsight Play by Play courses with my good friend Lars Klint. One of those courses, called Developing Engaging Digital Reality Experiences is now available for Pluralsight subscribers to watch.

Pluralsight Play by Play Recordings at NDC Oslo
Pluralsight Play by Play Recordings at NDC Oslo

A Play by Play course is a little different to a conventional Pluralsight course because it is filmed in front of cameras as opposed to narrated slides. A Play by Play course is unscripted and is a conversation between the two of us about a particular subject. The subject is meant to be narrow enough for us to have a good discussion about it in around an hour. These courses are great for opening peoples minds up to different subjects or ways of working or thinking.

Play by Play Course at Pluralsight with Stephen Haunts and Lars Kint
Play by Play Course at Pluralsight with Stephen Haunts and Lars Kint

The photo above was taken while we were filming in Oslo. I recorded two courses with Lars that day, and this is the first one to be released. They are great fun to record, if a little scary at first with all the camera, lights, and mics. Thankfully I didn’t need the anti-glare makeup powder, even though it was very hot in that room. This is the 2nd Play by Play I have had this year. The first was about Enterprise data security and encryption key management in Azure.

Pluralsight Play by Play Recordings at NDC Oslo
Pluralsight Play by Play Recordings at NDC Oslo

This course is all about virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality with the Microsoft Hololens. In this course, Lars was the subject matter expert, and my job was to drive the conversation by asking the questions that the viewer might ask when learning the subject. We cover a lot of ground in this course, and Lars also demonstrates some of the tools used, like Unity 3D, for creating engaging Hololens experiences.

Here is the official course description:

Play by Play is a series in which top technologists work through a problem in real time, unrehearsed, and unscripted. In this course, Play by Play Developing Engaging Digital Reality Experiences, Lars Klint and Stephen Haunts introduce the fundamentals of the major pillars in designing and building universal apps for HoloLens in particular. Learn how to use gaze, gestures, voice, and audio to create an app that is immersive and engaging. By the end of this course, you’ll understand the possibilities as a developer in creating a virtual world, where a mixed reality app uses the real world around you.

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Why Do We Procrastinate? What Can You Do About It?

In this video, I look at the reasons why we get distracted with our work and procrastinate.

  • The fear of failure
  • Being a perfectionist
  • Low energy levels
  • Lack of focus
  • We make distractions too easy
  • Doing unpleasant and boring tasks

Then I look at some techniques for beating procrastination and distraction by exploring:

  • Understanding that we are not perfect
  • Failure is not fatal
  • Doing your best and being happy with the output
  • Developing a healthier lifestyle for more energy
  • Setting goals
  • Rewarding yourself for achieving goals

Speaking at DDD North, A Free Community Software Development Conference

In this video, I talk about a trip I made to Bradford to speak at the DDD North community event. I also discuss the subject of speakers being paid for talking and why I am happy to talk at community events like DDD North at my own cost.

The talk I did at this event was my Scaling Agile with the Spotify Model talk. If you want to see a version of this talk, I have my recording from NDC Oslo this year.

Want to Quit Your Job? You Need an Income Strategy

So you are thinking about quitting your job and going solo? Before you do, you need a plan for where your income is going to come from. This should be split down into Active and Passive income.

For example, for Active income, this will be things like contracting, consulting, where you are exchanging your time for money. This is great, but once that time has been spent, you will not earn extra for it.

With Passive income, you will spend time producing work, such as an ebook or online course, and once it has been put live, you will earn income off of it from there onwards with no extra work.

Should You Quit Your Job?

I have made another video on my YouTube channel, and in this video, I ask the question, should you quit your job? Where I am going with this, is should you stick at a job that you don’t like, working for someone else, or should you try and pursue your passions. Pursuing your passions is a great thing to do, but you need to be prepared and do some planning, especially financial planning.

In this video I go through my personal story, and talk a bit about the financial planning I did prior to making this move. I also introduce the idea of Active vs Passive income which I will explore in more detail in another video.

A Gentle Introduction to Agile Software Development

I have recently been working on a series of new books with the intention of self-publishing them. The first of those books called A Gentle Introduction to Agile Software Development is now out on Amazon as an e-book and a paperback.

Agile Software Development: A Gentle Introduction to Agile Software Development (Agile, Agile Software Development, Software Development, Scrum, Extreme ... XP, Waterfall, Lean, Lean Software)
A Gentle Introduction to Agile Software Development by Stephen Haunts

I have a whole series of these books to release over the next 6 months. They have been great fun to write. I have released the Kindle book at a very low introductory price at the moment. If you buy the book at this rate, I would be very grateful for a good review on Amazon.

Here are some links for Amazon UK and the UK.

Kindle: Amazon UK

Paperback: Amazon UK

Kindle: Amazon US

Paperback: Amazon US

Here is the book description:

Learning new software development processes can be difficult, but switching to Agile doesn’t need to be complicated. Explore the theories behind Agile Software Development, and learn how to make it work for you.

In a Gentle Introduction to Agile Software Development, author Stephen Haunts will guide you to a fuller understanding of Agile, Scrum, and Extreme Programming. You will learn about the advantages and disadvantages, and how to get the most out of it.

  • Introduction
  • Waterfall Development and its Problems
  • What is Agile?
  • Common Agile Misconceptions and Mistakes
  • Advantages and Disadvantages
  • Extreme Programming (XP)
  • Scrum
  • Closing Summary

Life at a Startup : Building a Startup

I have been nice and busy since leaving Buying Butler and RightIndem. Along with my co-founder, we are setting up a new FinTech startup called Ladder Pay. LadderPay is an innovative payment platform that unifies Business to Business, Business to Consumer, and Consumer to Business payments into one product with an emphasis on security and compliance backed by blockchain technology. I can’t write too much about it just yet as we are still working through a lot of details, but I am very excited about it. We have 3 potential customers who will use the platform first, so we are getting things ready for that.

LadderPay : Unifying Payments
LadderPay: Unifying Payments

My main role at the moment has been developing the backend platform so I have been spending most of my time coding, which has been really nice to get back into full-time. The product is being developed in Microsofts .NET Core 2 platform and deployed onto Microsoft Azure. I will write more about this in the future, it’s a little too early to reveal too much at the moment.

Working from home on LadderPay
Working from home on LadderPay

I am mostly working from home on this at the moment, but we are looking for an office to work from. We have found a place we like, but are still sorting through the details. I always found working from home difficult, but since working on LadderPay, I have set up in my dining room and have a really nice setup which is nice on a sunny day as I can open the doors to the garden, so I am really enjoying this at the moment.

Whilst I am doing LadderPay during the day, I am also continuing on my Pluralsight courses in the evening. I have signed up for a new course that is all about the algorithms that are used to build up blockchain. A challenging but very interesting course. I can’t wait to share more details.

I will share more details soon…