All posts by ugoano

Why Coders are Compared to Wizards

“I need you to create an app like Uber for $20”.
“Please make a dating app like Tinder for a budget price”

Yes people, these requests are very real. People often think programmers have an innate ability to cast a spell, mutter a few incantations like a wizard and behold – insta-app!

Ok, so the requests I have received may not have been worded quite like that… but it may as well have been. “I would like an app that the user can book taxis with, and rate the taxis, and taxi drivers can sign up to and… etc”

You see where that’s going. They are describing an Uber app… which they want at a budget price! People like to be cheap with developers. If a developer is going to spend the time and effort to do that, may as well develop it for themselves, am I right?

(Anyone out there seen The Social Network…?)


“People like to be cheap with developers”

I’m sure other software developers, programmers, coders, engineers, and (insert alternate job title here) share this frustration.

One might think it is flattering to have your skills thought of as like magic. In some ways, it is. But it means that there are unrealistic expectations of what a programmer like myself can do. And with great expectation, comes great inevitable disappointment. Or… something along those lines.

At some point, I had a long hard think about where the assumption that programmers can “magically” create something in no time like magicians actually came from. There are actually a number of parallels that can be drawn.

Unfortunately.

Note that I’m not referring to the magicians who perform tricks with slight of hand or other methods to deceive like the characters from “Now You See Me”, or Christian Bale’s character in The Prestige.

Particular talents
A common trait amongst magicians in most fictional literature is that they have a distinct talent for it. From there, there is a lot of study and practice that needs to be done to actually be a magician.

Well, I guess the same is said of programmers. Anyone can pick up a programming book and learn to do it, but not everyone has the natural talent of thinking algorithmically and logically – necessary to thinking about how to instruct a computer to perform certain tasks, or troubleshooting when something goes wrong.

Incantation in another language
Even if we don’t discuss the fact that there are numerous computer programming languages, computer jargon alone often sounds to people like another language. Though the same can be said of other disciplines like medicine and law.

But when it comes to programming a computer, we study one or more programming languages – memorising most syntax and semantics. For the things we don’t commit to memory, we have to refer to a programming reference or software documentation.

Sound familiar? Think of Harry Potter, or even the magicians from the Dragonlance Chronicles. The incantations to perform the spell are usually incomprehensible, simple spells are memorised, and others are referred to in a spell book.

Hunger for knowledge
As programmers, we have an innate drive to learn more ways we can tell the computer to do things for us – create apps, control hardware, assist us in our jobs. We actually love learning more programming techniques and even attend meet ups to network with others like ourselves to get more information from others.

Harry Potter became obsessed with several textbooks over the course of his schooling. It is a common trait of fictional magicians and wizards in literature.

Use of magic/coding skills
Google have a slogan: “Don’t be evil”. Following Google’s restructuring under the new company Alphabet Inc… (no matter how many times I say or write that company name, it always sounds odd to me. Is it just me? Yes? Moving on…)

Following Google’s restructuring under the new company Alphabet Inc, the code of conduct was changed to “Do the right thing” (which conjures images of comedian Russell Peters).

The reason for this is that this world is so reliant on software and technology in general, it can easily be used to exploit users (and this happens all the time). Magicians that do the equivalent are commonly referred to as sorcerers. And just like the technological counterparts, it takes a skilful magician to stop an equally skilful sorcerer.

In fact, did you know that Google have offered bounties to programmers, challenging them to hack Google Chrome, expose the vulnerability to them so that Google can continually improve the security of Chrome?

In summary, I guess I can understand why coders are viewed like fictional wizards and magicians. As a result, there are unreasonable expectations of our abilities most times.

But where magicians only need a few moments of concentration to abracadabra your desires into being, for programmers there are many many hours of concentration required to plan, develop and release software.


“… for programmers there are many hours of concentration required…”

A quote comes to mind (which is from Arthur C. Clarke, but to my shame I recalled the quote from the Thor movie):
“Magic is just science we don’t understand yet”

Perhaps the link is more apparent than I care to give it credit.

Now, I must disappear!

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Top 9 “Carry On” Coding Terms

When a non-programmer looks over at my computer screen whilst I’m coding, I’m met with varying reactions. The usual reaction is one of confusion, amazement, sometimes admiration but every now and then… bewilderment at seemingly filthy language.

The bewilderment often comes after a closer look at what I’m typing. Take for example:

> git pull

> make clean | head

Out of context, one could get the wrong idea. A lot of our commands sound like something out of a Carry On movie. Strangely enough this doesn’t usually occur to the everyday friendly neighbourhood programmer like myself. Not because our minds aren’t as filthy as the rest of the world, but just because we’re used to the technical usage of these terms.


“A lot of our commands sound like something out of a Carry On movie”

Often friends have called me out on these. “Git?”, they’d say between chuckles, “Why are you typing git?”. In my head, I’m thinking “how can you not know what ‘git’ is!?” which of course is a nonsensical question. Why should they know?

Well, here is a short blog to give you what I consider to be the top 9 misunderstood “Carry On Coding” computer commands, in no particular order. (For the technical beings amongst you, I am taking my cue from Linux BaSH scripting commands).

  1. head: You see anyone typing this, don’t be alarmed. The command simply retrieves the first few lines of a file (or stream of text).
  2. touch: If you see a programmer type touch me, they are simply creating a blank file called “me” if it doesn’t exist. If it does, it changes the modified date of the file as if the file has been updated.
  3. git: One of the more frequent commands you may find a programmer using, it is not an insult to anyone. It is simply a tool to manage a repository of files. Ok, let me try that again – imagine a remote filing system (like Dropbox or Google Drive) which also stores every version of every file and directory. It’s something close to that. Why this tool was called “git” in the first place? Google it.

    That’s right, I have no idea.

  4. tail: This is similar to head except it retrieves the last few lines of a file. That is the only rear end it is referring to.
  5. kill: The only thing getting murdered with this command is a process on your computer. Think of this as a program killer. If you use Windows, think of when (not if) you have had to type Ctrl-Alt-Del to see everything that is running, and stopping (or killing) processes or applications that aren’t responding, for example.
  6. killall: See kill… but referring to the app you want to kill by name.
  7. wc: This is a command to count the number of words in a file. It is not a request for a public lavatory. Next.
  8. df: If you’re curious about the confusion here with this term, Urban Dictionary will tell you it’s another way of saying “wtf”. Rest assured, when we type df we’re not expressing such frustration at the computer (much as we’d like to). It simply checks how much space is free on your machine. (df = disk free).
  9. bash: Why am I clarifying this one? Look up Urban Dictionary. Bash is the name of a Linux command environment… erm… translates garbage coders type into things a computer can understand. That’s as far as I’ll go into that, apologies to the coders out there.

Honourable mentions: finger, unzip, fork and mount. If you’re burning with curiosity regarding the technical meaning of these, go ask a programmer. But most likely, you’re giggling like a school child and couldn’t care less about the technical meaning…

So there you have it. Hopefully that clears a few things up. If you look at a coder’s screen and think you saw something dirty, you can no longer claim ignorance!

Carry On Coding!
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How to Hack your Motivation in 3 Easy Steps

Happy New Day! Yes, you read that correctly. The New Year hype has been programmed into most of us and spikes our motivation to better ourselves with inevitable new year resolutions. Unfortunately, motivation is useless, am I right? Let me explain…

I apologise for getting all Sheldon Cooper on you, but the new year is simply a new day. Why would one wait for such a day to decide on a list of things they’re going to improve about themselves? Hype. So many digits becoming 0 when the clock strikes midnight usually means a party, some fireworks and the inevitable new year’s resolution. The hype appeals to our motivation. Our motivation is usually based on emotion. This often makes us create lofty goals that we focus on… for the next few days… or until that Haagen Dazs ice cream is on sale.

Anyone? Just me? Fine, moving on.

I have recently been reading some excellent literature from James Clear, which articulated something which I have always known, but haven’t actively thought about when planning my own goals – motivation is unreliable. It tends to spawn overnight unrealistic goals.


King of goal setters

Lose 20kg in 2 months!
Get rich in just 4 months! (Could do with this one myself)

Given motivation is based on emotion, what happens when that motivation is low, or dies altogether? You then end up in the depressed state and you can drop your goals altogether. “New Year Resolutions” get swept under the rug only to be rediscovered the following 1st of January. Anyone can work hard whilst motivated. After a talk on something you’re passionate about, seeing someone’s success or overcoming adversity in the Olympics, or following a success of your own – it’s so easy to be so determined to succeed.

So what’s the hack here? Habits.

James Clear wrote something I knew as a former track and field athlete:

“What’s the difference between the best athletes and everyone else. What do the really successful people do that most people don’t?”

“At some point, it comes down to who can handle the boredom of training every day and doing the same lifts over and over and over again.”

At the end of the day, our life is the sum of our habits. Most of us like to avoid the habitual changes we would need to make in our life on a daily basis in order to achieve a goal. The difference between successful people and the rest of us is that they go through a daily grind of the “boring” things.


Most of us like to avoid the habitual changes we would need to make…

It’s not about the event, it’s about the process. You need to fall in love with boredom and monotony of the process.

Without further ado, let me jump into the 3 ways you can hack your motivation:

Focus on habits more than goals

Goals are great to have. It’s good to be motivated, I love the feeling myself. But translate those into habitual changes.

If you’re a fan of “Only Fools and Horses”, you’ll be aware of Delboy’s famous quote “This time next year, we’ll be millionaires”. How did he eventually get there? It wasn’t really the goal setting. He well and truly loved what he did and kept doing it whether he was succeeding or failing. He was continually hustling, continually selling… ok, sometimes what he did was fraudulent.

Er, that may not be the best of examples, but you see my point. So let’s revisit the overnight hype statements here:

Lose 20k in 2 months!
Becomes

  • Stop using the lift at work.
  • Stop having sugary drinks.
  • Go to the gym 3 times a week.

Get rich in 4 months!
Becomes

  • Save £X or $X every month. (Set up a standing order)
  • Only buy take out or restaurants at the weekend
  • If I want to impulse buy, wait 3 days and consider again.

These are just examples, but you get the point. They are habits to change on a daily basis, you will reach the goal eventually. The time frame is a guess anyway, what matters is what you do to get there.

You want to be a brilliant writer? Fall in love with writing something everyday. Athletes have to wake up every morning and hit the track or gym and do repetitive exercises or runs. It will get boring. But we are creatures of habit, once we develop the habit we eventually fall in love with the habit.

Shameful plug alert! As if my Cyman digital butler app knew what my blog topic was, when I asked it to motivate me, he said:

“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned”

Fall in love with the process. Fall in love with repetition.

KISS – keep it simple, stupid

I’ve always found the “stupid” part at the end of that phrase grating. It’s like someone really wanted that phrase to abbreviate to “KISS”. Forced abbreviation is forced.

Moving on.


Don’t over-engineer your plans

Keep the habit changes simple and don’t over-engineer them. We do better with smaller increments. Massive overnight changes simply won’t last. Let’s take my tragic penchant for ice cream as an example. I simply won’t “give up” on ice cream. However, I can be motivated to do so, but once that motivation dies, it’s game over. But if I started by restricting it to weekends, or only ever buying one at a time, or not having a whole tub at a time (did I just say that?) – then we’ve really got something here.

Those of you who have actively reduced the amount of sugar they put in their tea or coffee can relate. To train your taste buds, you might have been a 2-sugar person. So reduce it to 1 and a half teaspons of sugar. Stick to it for weeks, months. You will find that 2 teaspoons will taste too sweet. Again reduce to 1 teaspoon of sugar and so on.

So going back to our “hype” examples.

If you have trouble going to the gym 3 times a week to do your workout, start by forming the habit of just going. Even if your session is 10-15 minutes. That way there’s no excuse if you didn’t leave enough time for a full workout. Just keep going at your designated time just to build the habit in your psyche. Eventually you will start doing more.

If you have trouble with the habit of saving money, save a ridiculously small amount, but don’t touch it in your account. Save £50, £20 – doesn’t matter. Just start the habit of saving something. The fact that something is building up will actually help in motivating you further and you can increase by small increments rather than make unrealistic goals. You’ll feel better for the habits you have instilled.

Make a Schedule, not a Deadline

Deadlines tend to make us the most motivated beings at two points. After the deadline is set, and towards the end of the deadline.

Think about it, the gyms are filled early January, Personal Trainers are hi-fiving each other – it’s their moment. The next time the spike occurs? Summer. When people realise the bronzed body goal they were going for has been forgotten, and the holiday deadline approaches.

I find this behaviour is prevalent in other areas too – writing a novel, completing a programming project, an entrepreneurial venture.

We have enough deadlines that are enforced upon us that we can’t control. For those goals we have, it works best to set a schedule for our habit changes, otherwise they simply won’t happen.

“I will go to the gym 3 times a week” doesn’t pan out. Which 3 times will you go?

“I will write a blog post every month” is great. But when will you be writing it? Better to say “I will write something every week day in a month”. Even if it’s not much you’re writing each time (see “kiss” in my previous point).

It doesn’t mean you have to be so regimented as to have a particular time to everything you’re doing. But if you have a habit you need to change, you need to attach it to a time or event.

You can also try using “triggers” which James Clear also talks about in his book. For example, you can use waking up as a trigger for a jog in the morning. Brushing your teeth can be the trigger to using mouthwash. Use things you already do every day as a trigger for a new habit you want to form. It’s much easier to include that habit in your daily repertoire.

In Summary, those are 3 ways you can hack your motivation centre. There are other very useful ways to help you to build habits which James Clear outlines very nicely in his book Transform Your Habits: The Science of How to Stick to Good Habits and Break Bad Ones. I have just articulated 3 of my favourites.

Given, I’ve only been at it for a couple of months, it could be argued that this blog post was born of emotional motivation. So perhaps this whole post is moot because… paradox.

I will let you know how my own habit changes are going some day in the future…

… just don’t expect it on New Year’s Day, ok?

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7 Must-See Movie Dates of 2016

If you have recovered from your Christmas-induced food coma, by now you’re probably thinking about what adventures 2016 will bring. In true Futurist fashion, I present you the biggest movies of 2016. (So it is written, so it shall be)


The Marvel Cinematic Universe – including movies yet to come.

These all happen to be gleaned from the Superhero genre – mainly because the biggest movies these days are in that field, or the sci-fi genre. Superhero movies is, much like Spaghetti Westerns of the 60s and 70s, a money making genre that appears to generate the most hype and have a growing fan base. This can be both good and bad.

Just look at some internet comments from fans of these movies, and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Someone expressing their love or hate for one of these movies on the net risks initiating World War 3. With that being said, I will enjoy reading the comments stemming from this post…

Enough of the rambling, let’s head to the movies that you should ensure you book well in advance of their respective release dates!

Deadpool

4th February 2016

A long time coming, many have not heard of the wise-cracking, sword wielding, fourth wall breaking Deadpool. Deadpool is a mutant with a healing ability not unlike Wolverine with a severely scarred body. Which is why he’s always wearing the suit. He also has a dark sense of humour – he literally cannot shut up. Ryan Reynolds was born to play this guy.

Deadpool is special because in the comics, he consistently talks to the “readers” (what is known as breaking the 4th wall). He is the only one aware he is in a comic book. The same is true with the movie version. In fact in the Deadpool trailer, Ryan Reynolds’ character says “cue the music” at the point where the beat drops from the trailer – as he knows he is in a trailer. Also he makes references to the failed Green Lantern movie which he acted the main character: “Don’t make my costume green… or animated”.

He is definitely an anti-hero with a difference. Definitely not a movie for kids incidentally.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

25th March 2016

DC and Warner Brothers are finally working towards their answer to Marvel Studio’s movie dominance. The rivals, Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is approaching their 13th movie – they have built up 12 interconnected movies so far. DC entered with Man of Steel, and have gone for pitting Batman against Superman already. Too soon? But wait, there’s more.

Wonder Woman and Aquaman are also scheduled to make an apperance. The main villain looks to be an interesting take on Lex Luthor acted by Mike Zuckerb… I mean, Jesse Eisenberg. Oh, not enough bad guys for you? Then let’s throw in Doomsday too. Not to worry, I would like DC and Warner Brothers to do well. I’m not a blind Marvel fan. But I am pointing out that DC are taking a big risk introducing so many characters in their second movie. It would be the equivalent of Marvel releasing Iron Man, and then The Avengers – with no build up of Captain America, Thor, Nick Fury, Black Widow, or Hawkeye.

It is a risk by DC, but one that may pay off given the popularity of their characters. It will be the first time in cinematic history that Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman share the same movie. So far, the trailers look visually stunning. Let’s all hope it delivers!

Captain America: Civil War

29th April 2016

I have a whole blog post dedicated to why one should watch this movie in the post Captain America: Civil War… Why Should You Care?, sooo… I’m not going to waste time here. That’s right. Add to my post view count. Go ahead.

Ok fine, here’s a tidbit. In general, this movie has been dubbed as “Avengers 2.5”, given most of the Avengers show up in this movie. After continuing escalation of disasters involving superhumans leads to a government sanction to register people with powers, the heroes are split right down the middle, forcing them to fight against each other. The opposing sides are led by Captain America and Iron Man.

X-Men: Apocalypse

27th May 2016

The Fox produced X-Men movies have had some ups and downs, but the recent two movies, X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past have reinvigorated the franchise and have X-Men fans enthused about this latest instalment.

It features the immortal mutant Apocalypse – the first mutant to exist as the main antagonist. His powers, including total control over his molecules so he can alter his size, are so vast that through the ages he has been worshipped. Of course what I’m trying to say, is that his powers are so vague, I don’t really know them all. He usually recruits 4 mutants (ok, forces 4 mutants) and gives them power. They become… wait for it… the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Get it?

Suicide Squad

5th August 2016

This movie has the potential of being the sneak success of the year. The main synopsis is that a government agency, Argus, assembles a group of villains to complete missions for their country. There have been animated movies of this group as well as an adaptation on the TV series Arrow. There is usually some implanted chip in each of the villains ready to be detonated by the head of Argus, Amanda Waller should they step out of line.

Why should this be so successful? The same reason The Dirty Dozen was successful. Assembling a group of misfits have been done successfully in Marvel’s The Avengers. But it will be especially interesting watching a group of villains, who care nothing about saving the world ordinarily, trying to work together. We have yet another iteration of The Joker making an appearance, and fan-favourite Harley Quinn making her movie debut. Will Smith stars as the expert marksman Deadshot.

Gambit

7th October 2016

I’ll be honest, besides the fact that Channing Tatum will be playing Gambit, and… he’s an X-Men character…

I’ve got nothing.

They did try to show us Gambit in X-Men: Wolverine Origins, but evidently it wasn’t too impressive. Perhaps the fact that not much is known about this movie so far will help it in the long run. The guy was my favourite X-Men character. Hence, it’s in this list.

Moving on.

Dr Strange

4th November 2016

My top two movies for 2016 are Captain America: Civil War, and this one – Dr Strange.

Not many know about this character, besides comic book fans. The next entry is Marvel Studios’ introduction to a character whose powers lies in the mystical. His full title is Dr Strange, Sorcerer Supreme. He is to be portrayed by a very talented actor Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Star Trek Into Darkness). Now that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has touched on the technological, the political, and the cosmic, they are now expanding on the mystical/magical side… or is it?

Dr Stephen Strange was actually mentioned in Captain America: The Winter Soldier if you paid enough attention. His background is as a world renowned surgeon who, after an accident, lost the use of his hands. He tried everything scientific to bring them back. He ended up meeting a character called The Ancient One who showed him how to harness inter-dimensional power.

Chiwetel Ejiofor will be acting as Baron Mordo, another sorcerer who trains under The Ancient One, but his jealousy of Dr Strange being Sorcerer Supreme instead of himself leads him to the dark side of… wait, that’s a Star Wars reference… leads him to evil. Yeah. Evil.

This movie will be a game changer for Marvel, and one of the most visually stunning movies they have produced, so don’t miss it!

Honourable mentions:
There are of course other highly expected movies over the course of 2016 to watch out for…

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Michael Bay reloaded)
Finding Dory
Now You See Me 2
Independence Day: Resurgence
Star Trek Beyond

Make sure you book your tickets early – these movies are likely to be sold out early. Also, a number of these are sequels or part of a franchise. Catch up, or go with someone who knows!

No, I’m busy.

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Why Hacking is NOT Illegal

I love hacking.
That statement has consistently rung alarm bells amongst my non-techy pals whenever I make that statement. Typical responses include:

“You’re a hacker??”
“Don’t say that too loud.”
“I’ll visit you in prison.”




Instagram @futuristmindset

Imagine, the reactions when I go further to mention that I’ve been to some Hackathons in my time!?

tldr; There are two definitions given in Dictionary.com for the word “hack”:

Computers.

  1. to modify (a computer program or electronic device) or write (a program) in a skilful or clever way: Developers have hacked the app.
    I hacked my tablet to do some very cool things.
  2. to circumvent security and break into (a network, computer, file, etc.), usually with malicious intent: Criminals hacked the bank’s servers yesterday.
    Our team systematically hacks our network to find vulnerabilities.

Now, I do understand the confusion. I get why everyone always jumps to the negative connotation first. The answer is simple. Media.

Hacking is simply creatively and relentlessly solving a technical problem.


Instagram @futuristmindset

Unfortunately, the only time you hear the term “hacking” in the media is when some media company like Sony or a bank has been broken into. Or organised groups  attempting to derail a website. Not the more positive connotation like hacking to build new wearable technology, or even charitable hacking. Because… news.

Social media has spread this misunderstanding. When someone posts a silly status on someone else’s account, somehow “hacking” is a word that gets bandied about.

It’s a bit like the term downloading. You only hear the word when associated with illegally downloading movies or music. But it’s simply the act of retrieving files from a remote location – online or on another device – and saving it onto another.

Now I’m no conspiracy theorist, but the media does tend to warp meanings and opinions effortlessly.

I realise of course that I have inadvertently included myself in that last statement, and I am ok with that. And I’m not ok with that.

Hackathons themselves are amazing. There are so many challenges organised within and between different companies, where individuals or groups are challenged to create something innovative within 24 hours, 72 hours, or any other time period. It’s a great excuse to consume pizza and block out life for a small period of time, but the results are astounding, and the competition is healthy.


AT&T Mobile App Hackathon

Imagine if something like that existed for your chosen profession or hobby?

So you can sleep soundly knowing that there are literally millions of us hacking each and every day. Comforting right…?

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Top 6 James Bond Gun Barrel Openings

Back to the topic of movies and media. The movie which is front and centre at the moment is the latest James Bond flick, Spectre. Say what you want about the movie, the biggest takeaway is the return of the iconic “gun barrel” James Bond opening.

You know the one I’m talking about. Bond casually walking across with a gun of some unknown assassin pointed at him. For some reason this person doesn’t shoot Bond before Bond turns to shoot. The blood then somehow seeps through a cross section of the barrel of the gun…

I am of course nit-picking and teasing here. I am actually a big fan of this opening. So much so that I went and watched each version of this throughout all the Bond movies. You wouldn’t believe the differences between them all! From design, to the music, to the walking style of each Bond actor.

So, I have here a ranking of the top 6 Bond gun barrel openings to help you procrastinate on things that matter for another 5 minutes. I think the order will surprise you!

Criteria:

  • I’ll be allowing just one entry per Bond actor, to give an insight into the varying styles.
  • Also, I will be sensitive to the time period of the Bond.
  • Marks are awarded for originality/style (whilst paying sufficient homage to the originals), the musical score, and how classy and practical the walk and turn of Bond was.
  • Note this is not a ranking of the best Bonds.

One last important note. These are all my opinion. Feel free to complain in the comments, I’ll be happy for explain why your opinion is incorrect here.

I kid of course.

But seriously, this list is definitive.

Without further ado, let us begin.

6. Roger Moore


For Your Eyes Only

It’s a shame the gun barrel version in Roger Moore’s era ended up last, given the music was so darn awesome and upbeat. It invigorated John Barry’s original arrangement with the disco-esque style which was dominant in the 70’s to create something quite rhythmical.

What really let this down, was the walk and turn of Roger Moore. He might be a smooth talker, but he almost lazily turns towards the shooter… he’d have been shot already! Perhaps using two hands to grip the gun wasn’t the best idea for speed. The visuals and style were pretty much the same as what came before.

Originality/style: 2
Musical Score: 4
Walk and turn: 2
Total Score: 8

5. Sean Connery


Thunderball

How do you score the original? The one which set the bar for the rest? The opening has become an icon of any Bond movie, as well as the musical soundtrack. Well, given it was the original, and to give it room for improvement I gave the style a 4 out of 5.

The score itself I’ve given an average score. As good as it is, some other versions improve on it just a little. Doesn’t take anything away from this original masterpiece. As for the walk and turn, if you notice, Sean Connery has a little trouble keeping himself still after swivelling around. It is however better than the first version of Connery’s walk, which ended in him jumping into a shooting position. (Look it up, it’s quite funny, but a classic).

Originality/style: 4
Musical Score: 3
Walk and turn: 2
Total Score: 9

3= Daniel Craig


Casino Royale

Daniel Craig was really saved by Casino Royale. The gun barrel “after thoughts” of Quantum of Solace and Skyfall left much to be desired. Awkward walk, strangely fast sequence or weird Photoshop graphics of the gun barrel were problems that plagued those two. The Spectre one is actually very good and very classic. But Casino Royale tops all the Bonds with originality whilst paying homage to the original.

It gave a reason for Bond to be turning like that, which Daniel Craig did in style. It smoothly transitioned into the song title sequence. It had the most realistic blood pouring down the screen. So the originality and style makes up for the lack of walk on, or use of the original theme. This shares joint 3rd with the next one I will mention…

Originality/style: 5
Musical Score: 2
Walk and turn: 3
Total Score: 10

3= Timothy Dalton


License to Kill

A lot of people aren’t fans of Timothy Dalton’s portrayal as Bond. Personally I do like him. He’s a little more emotional than the other Bonds, and a lot of people might not like that. Fair enough. But the swagger on him when he walks on is brilliant. His turn is quick, not overcooked or slow (like a certain Roger Moore).

The music itself was great. The movie it introduces is quite the epic in that Bond loses his license to kill for the first time. He’s also on a personal vendetta for Felix, his CIA counterpart. The music in this opening sequence reflects that in how different, but epic it is, whilst keeping the original elements recognisable.

Originality/style: 2
Musical Score: 4
Walk and turn: 4
Total Score: 10

2. Pierce Brosnan


Goldeneye

Now in terms of improvements on the styling and soundtrack as a whole, the Pierce Brosnan gun barrel intros had it mastered. It was even hard to pick which one to put on display. All of the musical scores had some difference to them, a couple of them fairly bombastic in their use of rhythm and speed differences. The common theme? They left me feeling excited.

The style of the gun barrel itself is updated and looking glossy. The only let down (which is likely to be controversial) is the walk and turn. The walk was ok, fairly normal, the turn was the other extreme of Roger Moore’s slow “I don’t mind being shot at because they’ll miss anyway” turn for the shot. Pierce turned very suddenly, very quickly – it’s great practically speaking, but there was no swagger, no grace. Not like our surprise number one…

Originality/style: 4
Musical Score: 5
Walk and turn: 2
Total Score: 11

1. George Lazenby


On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Given George Lazenby is probably my least favourite Bond, I did not see this coming. A Bond movie that came in between Sean Connery’s run, the musical score made use of a synthesizer (also used in the movie) to add a nice spy thriller edge. There are other differences in the musical score I could go on about and bore 67% of the readers. (I did the math).

The walk is stylish and cool, not quite on a Timothy Dalton level, but almost there. His turn however was athletic, swiftly swivelling to one knee. Just watch it and try doing it as smoothly as he does whilst keeping your balance. The style of the whole thing was largely the same except for what almost looks like him moonwalking forwards. Probably an accident of the times, but it looks great!

Originality/style: 3
Musical Score: 4
Walk and turn: 5
Total Score: 12

And there you have it. Just know, you will never get these few minutes back again. Of course, the situation is worse for me writing this…

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Why you need a Chromebook | Intro

In 2007, I became a Mac convert. Two MacBook’s and a Mac Mini later, I received my first Chromebook in 2012. A year later, I sold my MacBook Pro on eBay after blowing the dust off the keyboard and screen after a year of not being used.

If you have a problem, if no other device can help, and if you can buy them, maybe you can own… a Chromebook.

A-Team references aside, this is actually a true story. A Chromebook is a light-weight laptop with Google’s Chrome operating system (Chrome OS) running it. What is Chrome? Simply an internet browser like what you may be using to read this (if you’re smart…). Other examples of popular browsers in the market are Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer.

So the question I had a few years ago is – how is one supposed to do all one normally does on a Mac or Windows operating system only on a web browser?

Given my interest in web technology, I wanted to give it a chance, so I embarked on what I called the Chromebook Challenge. A week of using nothing but my Chrome browser on my MacBook Pro at the time, and blogging my results.

More and more of us now own smart phones and tablets. What do we do offline? Perhaps playing games, reading, note-taking, and checking calendar? Although games are increasingly social, books are downloaded from the internet, calendars and notes are synchronised on the cloud. These all need internet connections. When you don’t have an internet connection. You know about it. You complain about it. Then you complain that you can’t post or blog about the complaint.

On our PCs or Macs there are offline applications (apps we use without the internet) we might use frequently. For example writing documents, spreadsheets, editing photos, editing videos, email and much more.

But, now just bear with me here, if we really look at how much time we spend offline vs online, some of us might realise the shift to online activities for virtually everything we do. Socialising, shopping, banking, movie watching… my goodness. We’re all doomed in 20 years to being couch potatoes!

Chrome OS and indeed the Chrome browser have apps and an app store too. These apps are essentially well designed websites which look and feel like apps you might download on your phone or tablet. They utilise key HTML technologies to allow a lot of offline activities.

Sigh, I’ll just get this shameless plug outta the way, shall I? There is a Chrome app for my Cyman Digital Butler app. You can have conversations with your computer and get it to open certain pages or remind you about certain things. Cyman Mark 3 is in the Chrome store rated at 4.5.

That’s right folks, believe it or not, you can edit word documents and spreadsheets and save on Google Drive without being online. Once online, it will synchronise it in the cloud for you. This goes for other key web applications. You can view your mail offline with GMail, and you can even view your Google Calendar offline.

Sounds very much like how our mobile devices work now, am I right?

The Chromebook is a lightweight laptop computer which barely needs the kind of resources that your standard Mac or PC running windows needs to completely drain. Therefore the Chromebook is much faster, safer and crashes a lot less.

I’m going to be showing the results of my experiment on here in 6 or 7 parts. I tried to cover as many areas as possible – from the point of view of an office worker who needs Word and Excel, a musician who needs to write or create music, a programmer like myself, and someone creative who needs something on PhotoShop levels.

What did I get out of writing this? A free Chromebook from Google.

Yeah, I’m feeling pretty smug right about now.

So if you’re thinking about getting a Chromebook, follow on and look out for the “Why you need a Chromebook” series.

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