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.

Speaking at NDC Sydney

It’s taken me a while to catch up with some posts on this blog, but back in August, I had the amazing opportunity to fly to Sydney in Australia to speak at NDC Sydney. I feel very fortunate to be offered this opportunity as I have never been to Australia before.

This is is also the longest I have ever flown before too. The trip took 2 flight to get there. First was a 9-hour flight to Abu Dhabi, and then 14 hours to Sydney. To make this even more challenging, I had a 10-hour layover in Abu Dhabi overnight. Instead of just hanging around doing nothing, I decided to pay to use the business class lounge. This meant I could get some decent food, have a shower and use the business centre there to get some work done. To help me adjust to the Australian time difference, I forced my self to stay awake and work. So I got a lot of coding for LadderPay done. I thought this would be very challenging to do, but actually, I got through it fine. Then on the 2nd flight, I had a few whiskeys and some sleeping tablets which meant I got a reasonable 6 hours sleep. This meant that by the time I got to Sydney at 7.30am, I was actually feeling ok. That first day was tough, but once I had a good night sleep at the hotel I was adjusted, so no horrific jetlag for me…

Stephen Haunts at NDC Sydney
Stephen Haunts at NDC Sydney

After I arrived on Sunday and checked into the hotel, I met up with my sister (Charlotte) who is living in Sydney. By a bizarre twist of fate and timing, she was due to fly back to London that evening. So we spent the afternoon together before she had to go to the airport. I met Charlotte and her boyfriend at my hotel (Hilton) and we went for a really nice lunch at the Sydney Opera House restaurant followed by hitting a few bars. The weather was really sunny so had a really nice afternoon. After that, I went back to the hotel to rest a bit and then met up with Troy Hunt and a few others for dinner and drinks.

The next few days were spare for me as the conference didn’t start until Wednesday so I did a bit of sightseeing as well as working. On Monday I took a ferry to Manly Beach and spent the day walking around there and working from various coffee shops. I was very productive and got loads done.

Stephen Haunts at NDC Sydney
Stephen Haunts at NDC Sydney

The conference started Wednesday and I was booked to do 2 talks. The first was my cryptography in .NET talk, and the 2nd was my social engineering talk. Both talks went really well and rated very highly. For my social engineering talk, one of the people in the audience (Sammy Connelly) made an awesome infographic version of her notes (see picture below). She came and saw me at the end to give me the original copy. She likes to do these pictures and give them to the speakers as gifts. This was such a nice gesture and I was delighted to receive it. I am looking for a suitable frame so I can put it on my office wall.

Stephen Haunts at NDC Sydney
Stephen Haunts at NDC Sydney

Once the conference had finished on Friday, we went to the official afterparty called PubConf. I was speaking at pub conf. All the talks were supposed to be funny and done in front of a drunken rabble of developers. You get 20 slides and 15 seconds per slide. The slides increment automatically so you have no control over them. This is probably the hardest talk I have ever written, but it was so much fun and the audience seemed to like it. I did a talk called, How to lead like an utter bastard, and it got a lot of laughs. This was quite a boozy night, but luckily I had no commitments the following day.

Stephen Haunts at NDC Sydney
Stephen Haunts at NDC Sydney

I wasn’t due to fly back until Monday evening, so I had pretty much 3 days to myself to explore the city. On Saturday I went to Sydney and the Harbour taking photos. I also had booked to do the Sydney Bridge Climb, which was an amazing experience. It was very windy up there but very safe as you are in a climbing harness and attached to the bridge. The whole thing took 3 hours including getting kitted out and doing some training.

Stephen Haunts at NDC Sydney
Stephen Haunts at NDC Sydney

On Sunday, I took the ferry to Taronga Zoo which was about a 15-minute boat ride away. I had a really good time here. The weather was nice and they had lots of animals. My favourites were the Giraffes as they overlooked the Sydney Opera House. I deliberately didn’t do too much this weekend and just took in the sights.

Stephen Haunts at NDC Sydney
Stephen Haunts at NDC Sydney

On Monday, I didn’t fly until 9pm, so I decided to do the Sydney Opera House tour. The tour was amazing as we got to see all the main music venues. We even got to see the Sydney Orchestra rehearsing for a performance, and the sound inside the main opera house was amazing. After this, I got lunch again at the Opera House restaurant and then went to the Sydney Modern Art Gallery for a good look around. What was really cool as this was free entry, which is nice as everything in Sydney is really expensive.

Stephen Haunts at NDC Sydney
Stephen Haunts at NDC Sydney

Overall this was an amazing experience. As always, NDC put on a fantastic conference and I feel very privileged to have spoken at one of their events again. I will definitely be submitting again next year, as I would love to go again. The flight back was hard work though. 24 hours on a plane with a couple of hours in Abu Dhabi. I was shattered by the time I got back to London as I struggled to sleep on the flight, but it only took me a few days to readjust before I met my Wife and Kids on holiday in north Wales where I got to properly recover.

Bose QC35 Noise Canceling Headphones

I do a lot of traveling for my work both on the train and by air. Whenever I used to travel, I always used to get quite bad headaches once I got to my destination. I was discussing this with a colleague once and he recommended the Bose QC35 noise canceling headphones. The idea is that when you are wearing them, they listen to the sound around you and generates a canceling sound wave that is played in the headphones. This means noise around you like a train engine or the engines of an aircraft are significantly reduced.

On his recommendation, I purchased a pair last year and I now use them daily as my main headphones. Since wearing them for travel, I no longer get headaches as my travel is now much quieter. Also, for a set of headphones the sound quality when listening to music is also pretty good. They are not the best quality sounding compared to other high-end headphones, but they sound pretty decent, and the noise canceling also means that you do not need to play music as loud when out and about.

Bose QC35 Noise Canceling Headphones
Bose QC35 Noise Canceling Headphones

The build quality of these headphones is exceptional. They are light in weight and very sturdy. I think I will get many years of use out of them. The headphones are also Bluetooth which means I pair them with my iPhone, IPad, and laptop, so I never need a cable. Saying that though, they do come with a standard audio cable in case you want to use them with a device that doesn’t support Bluetooth.

To use the noise canceling you must charge up the headphones and I have found that the battery lasts a whole week with moderate use every day, and they charge pretty quickly. If you use the included cable, they act more like a traditional set of headphones, which means they do not require battery power. This has been useful on the one occasion where the battery ran out and I didn’t have a means of charging them, so I just switched to the cable.

Bose QC35 Noise Canceling Headphones
Bose QC35 Noise Canceling Headphones

The Bose QC35’s also come in a very handy and tough carry case which means I can keep them protected when I put them in my laptop bag. I never leave the house without them now. They have become an essential part of my daily life. They are not the cheapest headphone on the market, so they are most likely outside the impulse purchase bracket, but I have to say, the price is definitely worth it, especially when traveling to reduce the headaches I used to get.

Speaking at Code Europe in Krakow Poland

Last week I had the pleasure of being invited to Krakow in Poland to present at the Code Europe conference. The conference organizers first got in touch with me a few months ago to ask me to speak, and I was invited to present my cryptography talk,.NET Data Security – Hope is Not a Strategy. This has been a popular talk of mine over the last 18months, so I was delighted to travel to Poland to deliver the speech.

Code Europe Conference in Poland
Code Europe Conference in Poland

The conference itself was hosted at the Krakow ICE Congress Centre, which was a fantastic venue. The building is less than 3 years old, and it looks very modern and new. I am a big fan of architecture, and this building didn’t disappoint. Before being invited to Code Europe, I had not heard of this conference, but I must say it was very well organized and as speakers we were all well looked after. Our hotel was next to the arena, so it was very convenient to get to the event. This particular event was a 1-day show, with 2 following days in Warsaw later in May.  Even though it was 1 day, I decided to stay out an extra day so that I could see a bit of the city.

Code Europe Conference in Poland
Code Europe Conference in Poland

My talk was at 11.30am and seemed to be well received and I had a full room, which I estimated to be around 150 people. Once I had finished my talk and had a walk around the conference, I did a bit of sightseeing with my good friend Filip Ekberg from Sweden. Krakow is a beautiful city and I spent a fair bit of time walking around the old town. The weather wasn’t the best as it was raining a lot, but I made do and still got a lot of sightseeing done.

Code Europe Conference in Poland
Code Europe Conference in Poland

Overall Code Europe was a great experience and I hope I get the opportunity to speak at this event again. The conference was well organized, everyone was very friendly and helpful and Krakow is a really nice city to look around.

Speaking at NDC {London} 2017

Last week I had the pleasure if attending NDC {London} again as a speaker. The NDC conferences are such an amazing experience and they are run by the awesome people at programutvikling. This is my 2nd time speaking at NDC {London} and like last year where I spoke about Cryptography, I was keeping the security theme going by talking at Social Engineering and Human Hacking.  I was fortunate enough to spend the entire in London for this conference, which included the 2 workshop days before  the main conference.

The reason I wanted to attend the workshop days is because I would like to plan a workshop, so I wanted to sit in part of one to see how they are run. Troy Hunt was kind enough to let me sit in his Hack Yourself First Workshop. I learnt a lot here, not only about security, but the mechanics of running a workshop, including the introduction, pacing, slides, and style etc. This was very useful and I am now ready to plan a workshop of my own.

Stephen Haunts at NDC {London} 2017
Stephen Haunts at NDC {London} 2017

During the first 2 days in London I got to spend a little downtime walking around London with Lars Klint. This was quite relaxing as we caught a train to Tower Gateway and then walked from the Tower of London down the Southbank, through Trafalgar Square and around other parts of London. We easily did 18km that day. My feet were killing me, but was great fun. It was the first time Lars had been to these areas, and for me, I hadn’t walked around those parts of London since I was a kid.

Practical Tips for Talking at Usergroups and Conferences Part 1

Since becoming a Pluralsight author in July 2014, I have been working toward increasing my own personal brand. Part of this has been about getting out into the programming community and talking at User groups. I did my first talk in January of this year and have since done many talks. I was initially quite nervous about public speaking but I have enjoyed the process very much and I intend to increase the amount of talks I do in 2016.

Stephen Haunts talking at the Leeds Sharp Usergroup
Stephen Haunts talking at the Leeds Sharp Usergroup

I have learnt many things along the way whilst preparing and delivering talks so I thought I would write this post to talk about what I have learnt. If you have experience in this area and also have your own tips from public speaking it would be great to hear them in the comments for this post.

I have split this into two posts. Tips for before you deliver your talk, and the actual delivery itself.

RabbitMQ Series Part 1: What is RabbitMQ?

In this series of articles I am going to discuss how to configure and use RabbitMQ with the .NET client libraries. In this first article let’s talk about what message queueing is and then more specifically what RabbitMQ is.

What is Message Queueing

Message queuing gives you a mechanism to allow an application to asynchronously send a message to a receiver. This means that the sender and receiver do not need to interact with the message at the same time. A message is sent to a queue where it is stored until the receiver retrieves the message.

Message queues can be inter-process where the queue resides in memory on a single server or for integrating systems across multiple servers. This can be done by using in-memory queues but it is also common to use durable queues in which the messages are persisted to disk, meaning that messages are not lost should any system or server go offline for any period of time.

RabbitMQ Example Message Brokers
RabbitMQ Example Message Brokers

Message queuing systems come in many forms—both as commercial proprietry products and as open-source products. An example of a commercial solution is IBM MQ. Examples of open-source message queuing systems include RabbitMQ, JBoss Messaging , and Apache ActiveMQ.

Secret Files Decrypted by the Russians and Chinese

It was reported in the press today that a series of files contained in the files stolen by Edward Snowden have been decrypted by the Russians and the Chinese which has given up vital strategic intelligence information forcing SIS (MI6) to move under cover agents out of potential harms way. This story interest me particularly especially with my interest in Cryptography and releasing a Pluralsight course about Cryptography.

Edward Snowden : Secret Files Decrypted by the Russians and Chinese
Edward Snowden : Secret Files Decrypted by the Russians and Chinese

There are a couple of things I am wondering. From a technical perspective, how were the files protected? Was it using AES, RSA, a combination of both? Where the files broken using a Brute force attack? Where the keys particularly weak. These are questions that I am sure I won’t get answers too, but I am curious none the less.

Aside from my own technical geeky curiosity, the other thing running through my mind is why is this even in the news in the first place. It is quite strange that we would hear anything about MI6 operations in the press, which leads me and many others like Former Conservative cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell from wondering if the news story was very well timed to coincide with the Anderson Report.

New Blog Template

This blog, Stephen Haunts { Coding in the Trenches }, has been running since 2012 and since then I hadn’t changed the visual style of the site. For you regular readers you may have noticed that the styling has changed  a bit from today.

New Blog Template
New Blog Template

I have kept the same kind of layout, as I think this works well for a blog like this, but the styling has been updated to make it look and feel more modern and minimal. This site is also now fully responsive, so it will scale down well to tablets and phones.

I hope you like the changes. If you have any feedback on the new template then please leave a comment on this post.

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