Posts Tagged ‘technology’

My Cloud Backup Approach

I have continously talked about my drive to never lose a file again, after I lost my first file to a failed floppy disk drive in 1996. The fanatical backup approach has been used to work as follows:

  1. Create a new version of whatever I am working on everyday – for files add the date, for web application development (create a new folder)
  2. For development create a separate folder for staging and production files adding to them as needed
  3. For files whenever I am to make a significant change I create a version too, even if it is for the same day so that I can track when I made made major pivots
  4. Backup to a shared magnetic backup drive (before 2010)
  5. Move backups to a cold storage hard drive which is only used for that purpose

Overall I used to end up with 3 different copies of any file over time, and storage is cheap so duplication was not an issue.

The cloud came and all I had to do was adapt my workflow as the primary, secondary and cold storage are all cloud based

  1. Primary work
    • Dropbox and Google for personal use, these are fast syncing for regular use. I have 13GB in Dropbox gained from various offers at the time of launch, and have a 200GB Google One subscription (the 2TB next package does not add value due to being higher for unused space)
    • Box – for ofice use
  2. Primary Backup – this is Google Drive, with a 200GB Google One subscription where I place archived projects, home photos and miscellaneous files that I need to maintain
  3. Cold Storage – Apple iCloud 50GB where I zip files that I do not expect to use for a long time

What I have learnt:

  1. I work directly in the cloud service folders, therefore do not need to remember to backup or synchronize the files
  2. All cloud services are set to automatically startup on machine reboot so are always active
  3. The primary cloud service you use depends on what you are comfortable with
  4. Most cloud service providers charge about $20 per year for 200GB then $99 per year for 2TB, I found the price jump not justifiable hence the move to iCloud for my cold storage
  5. The power and Internet services in Uganda are not very stable and consistent so the option for a NAS

What’s your approach to backups, what tips and tricks have you learnt along your journey?

Life and Tech – Choices, Decisions and Options

A couple of weeks ago Friday, I shared lessons from my life in technology with a team of upcoming software developers, Life in the Tech Lane, and I got a number of follow-up questions like the one below. On reading the questions, it spurred this post as the responses needed to be long form

For that matter I got a number of questions that I would like you to address that I couldn’t easily ask yesterday. These are the questions that I have:

How did you know that software delivery is your thing, amongst all the various options?

My first taste of technology related work was in my S.6 vacation at an email service firm where I helped develop UNIX training materials, setup & troubleshoot modems for email services, and my initial foray into server scripting. I worked on this through my undergraduate course, even when I worked in a civil engineering consultancy it was all software related work. I was hooked, to the problem solving, creation of digital solutions & learning that came along with the work, making my life very interesting.

Over time, I have embraced the challenges of having to develop solutions quickly, train users, support them as products evolve, which has kept me in the line of work.

I also tried management, and found out it was not for me thus came back in the trenches. However I come with a lot more value, I understand the needs of executives in a sector, can put myself in the eyes/place of a user and have a good handle on technology.

Overall it seems like software delievery chose me, I am still engaged 20+ years later, and see a future as an older software developer/engineer by evolving myself and skillsets to maintain relevance

 Why PHP and not the other languages, I mean there is a number of new technologies and spaces being created everyday, why stick to the”old” one PHP?

I started programming in UNIX shell scripting, Turbo Pascal, Visual Basic 6 and Visual Basic for Applications (for Excel), Java 1.1 & 1.2. At the time of Java we were building enterprise web applications, however deployment was a challenge which was how one of the clients introduced us to PHP.

This is a language made for the web, with lots of libraries through PHP Classes, Stack Overflow and other sites. The frameworks, Symfony, Code Igniter, Yii simplified the process of building and maintaining custom web applications. Addoitional solutions, such as CMSes (Joomla, Xoops, WordPress) were the foundation for website development.

I used PHP for over a decade, during which I became familar with the language, quirks (that were reduced in versions 5.6 and the 7.x series), thus it became a familiar tool which I can keep using within the space for my current and future work.

I have also learnt and used Python, Ruby on Rails, Java 8 (which I use in my day job), however I find the PHP language my tool of choice to provide technology solutions as it aligns with how I solve problems. This has been made easier with the Laravel framework, which provides a great eco-system with alot of existing tools & solutions, so I can focus on business problems rather than tech and tooling.

What advice would you give me as a young profession who is in the early days of formal employment in the tech industry. I have a challenge about my career path or direction. I want and I feel more joy when doing data science/analytics work but I have failed to get the opportunity of pursuing that space and it’s for that reason that I have taken on the software development path as these are the opportunities that have been available, it’s not that I don’t enjoy it, I do but my utmost passion is data science. What advice would you give me regarding that?

  1. The best way to predict the future is to create it. A future in technology is easier to create leveraging opensource tools and technologies – thus if you want to do data science, I would suggest picking a problem you are passionate about and spend your personal development time growing it, working on it, writing about it (you need to share your lessons and paths) so that you keep growing
  2. Find opportunities within your current employer for the data science/analytics work – if opportunities do not exist, create them by talking to your colleagues, taking part in meetings/discussions or even starting the discussions on leveraging data science/analytics within your organization
  3. Take time to get better at the role you are hired to do, as that can provide the basis to growth and opportunites being taken on you
  4. Join local meetups and activities around data science/analytics to grow your network
  5. Take courses on your chosen path to ensure you are ready to take up any opportunities that come up
  6. Be persistent in finding opportunities along your chosen, do not give up it may take longer than expected

Wish List: My Telecom Service Provider Needs

Looks like the economy is back in the open, but the lingering effects of the COVID19 pandemic have driven a more digital focus on life and work. Looks like our local service providers have not really made any moves over the last 2 years

Here is my checklist based on my exposure across the places I have lived

  1. Having a buffet of services that are paid off at a regular cadence (rythmn)
    • Voice minutes for on-network and off-network – removes the need for multiple simcards
    • Data – mobile data and broadband data
    • SMS messages (yes I still use them)
  2. Family plan to help me manage my household telecom needs (I have teenagers who are due to get their own phones and numbers)
    • Ability to add and remove numbers to a plan, I would be happy to pay for batches of 5 numbers
    • Happy to pay a service fee for each number added to the plan – I already do this when gifting airtime and data
    • Shared pool of minutes across the plan both on and off network
  3. Tax invoices as they are required by URA for tax purposes and/or clients for reimbursements
  4. Weekly/Monthly plan options since this helps manage cash flows and cater for usage pattern changes like school and holidays
  5. Ability to measure usage by different members – who is using the services the most, this is by the default account on the plan. Better if it is an online dashboard so that I can check it regularly and adjust accordingly
  6. Unlimited Internet access in the suburbs outside the CBD with fairly high FUP (350GB and above per month)

What are your telecom service needs – what are they doing right or not?

Tech Tip: Whatsapp Groups for Record Keeping Purposes

Over the years my wife and I have been sharing lots of information via Whatsapp some of which we need for tracking purposes, the most common being weekly metrics from a business operations where I am a silent partner but key stakeholder

One neat trick that I discovered from a friend, I have forgotten who, was to leverage Whatsapp groups as a record keeping tool, this group only has the 2 of us, is named Farm Finances, and only contains the information we need to share with regard to the specific topic

Try this for your next business endeavor, wedding, construction activities, long or short running project whose records you do not want to have across the noise of day-to-day communications as you prepare to move this into a more formal tool

As I wrote this I figured out that you can also do the same for keeping notes for yourself, to-do-lists, project reminders etc

Voice of the ElePHPant Podcast – PHP, Technology Journey, Opensource, Java

I am excited to have been hosted on the Voices of the Elephant podcast by Cal Evans

https://voicesoftheelephpant.com/2020/06/23/interview-with-stephen-s-musoke/

Talking about my technology journey, opensource, Java, PHP (of course) and what I am doing with it in Uganda and Africa

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