How To Remove a GPT Protective Partition

How to Remove a GPT Protective Partition

As part of my recent storage upgrade project in my PC at home I came across something I hadn’t dealt with in ages: A GPT Protective Partition!

For the unacquainted, these are (as the name implies) protected partitions that can’t be formatted or removed. Once you’ve created a protective partition, you’re pretty much stuck with it. In Windows, you can remove the partition using the Microsoft DiskPart utility run over the command line.

This is specifically noteworthy because all partitioning is usually done through the Computer Management > Storage > Disk Management snap-in. This is how you find out the disk has a GPT partition on it. Read more

5 Tips for Learning a New Programming Language

5 Tips for Learning a New Programming Language

Learning a programming language has to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever attempted to do. I constantly start the learning process, get through the introductory steps and then end up losing interest or procrastinating. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve written a Hello World program!

Recently however, things have changed. I was introduced to the Python programming language by (yet again) my friend, Bob who’s very proficient in the language. After seeing some of the amazing things he’s created with the language I was pretty motivated to get learning.

It didn’t take long before I’d actually created my own program. Not a program that a book or course required me to build but something I wanted to build for myself. After successfully creating the app, it hit me why I’d never been able to get this far before and what was different this time around. Here’s what I discovered. Read more

Pebble Time Steel Review

Pebble Time Steel Review

Click here to check out my top 5 favourite apps on the Pebble Time Steel!

I’m a massive Pebble fan: I backed the original Pebble and jumped on the Pebble Time Steel as soon as it was announced. After two months or so with this baby strapped to my left wrist, here is my surprising list of pros and cons.

I have to admit, there are a lot of pros but after having owned the original Pebble, the Pebble Time experience was less mind blowing this time around. The original Pebble made my jaw drop because it was the first real smartwatch. (I could finally receive emails on my wrist!)

Now however, with every Tom, Dick and Harry creating their own smartwatch, the Pebble Time doesn’t feel as crash hot anymore. It’s still a beautiful piece of tech that I love but in a market saturated with competition… I’m just not sure how it stands up against the rest. There is a ton on offer though, so first let’s look at the pros.

Pebble Time Pros:

Sex Appeal

From the moment you open the box, you’re drooling. Read more

Pomodoro and a Challenge

Pomodoro Technique

Pomodoro! Totally sounds like something I’d eat for dinner… mmmm pomodoro…

Quite the opposite! For those who haven’t heard of it, it’s a technique used to maximise your productivity. We’ve all heard of these things, especially if you work in the corporate world. (HR and management love to go on at length about some sort of productivity method sooner or later).

Pomodoro is one that actually speaks to me and was introduced to me by my good mate Bob. The gist of it is this:

  1. Note what tasks you want to accomplish in the day. (I write them down on my to-do list the morning of or the night before).
  2. Set aside a certain time block to go completely offline and work on one of those tasks.
  3. Set the timer, close off all distractions (email, text messages, phone calls, family, kids, facebook) and FOCUS on the task at hand.
  4. When the time is up, take a short break.
  5. Repeat.

The idea is that you’re going to go completely off grid for a specific amount of time and give 100% focus and attention to a task.

How awesome is that?

These days we’re constantly switched on. I even get bloody emails, texts and calls on my watch. I’m literally connected 24/7 so giving a task 100% of my attention becomes a feat in itself. This is probably why I’ve been pretty slack at blogging (being honest here!).

How Long do I Pomodoro?

You customise Pomodoro to suit you. Read more

Playing Around with Feedburner

Right now this post will have no content, aside from this sentence. Why? Because I’ve decided to try something new!

Until now I’ve been using SumoMe to manage email subscriptions to the blog. Unfortunately it wasn’t working out for me.

Enter FeedBurner! This is simply a test post that’ll remain on the site for about 30-40mins and will allow me to test the email newsletter functionality.

Let’s see how it goes!

Removing Bloatware – Declutter Your Computer

Removing Bloatware

Bloatware! It’s the stuff of nightmares for computer savvy folk. This is my latest encounter with the stuff, yuck!

A week or so ago, my dad gave me a call, said he needed a new laptop and wanted me to help him buy one (because I’m totally awesome right?). Naturally I obliged, did all of the research and price comparisons then bought him the laptop. I got it for a great price too! Go Team!

It arrived a few days ago and today I finally had the chance to switch it on and set it up for him. There I was, all excited about this shiny, sexy and speedy new Lenovo, ready to configure accounts and install my choice of software when I noticed it still hadn’t booted. About 2 minutes had passed and it still wasn’t up! This is after the initial Windows configuration too. I’d set up the account name and password but the thing was still chugging along.

This laptop isn’t something to laugh at either. With a dual core 2GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of memory and a dedicated graphics chip, it should have powered through boot up and been sitting waiting for me. What was going on?!

Once Windows finally logged in I was presented with a very cluttered desktop. Bloatware. Of course.

I couldn’t believe how much of the stuff was installed on this thing!

What is Bloatware?

The short and sweet is that Bloatware is all of the vendor specific and 3rd party software that comes preinstalled on a computer when you buy it from a shop. Things like trial anti-virus suites or DVD playing software. The sorts of shoddy deals that hover around and pop up after a month saying they’ve expired.

This isn’t something I deal with often either as I build the computers for myself and everyone in my immediate family. My company laptop comes pre-installed with a custom version of Windows that suits my job so I don’t deal with it there either.

What do I do about it?

Well! You blast it all to hell! Or you can uninstall it. Essentially, declutter your computer the way you’d declutter your house!

First thing’s first, Read more

Where Does the Time Go?

I can’t believe my last post was on September 6th 2015! That’s almost 2 months ago!

I’m pretty sure I mastered the art of procrastination during this hiatus. Every time I wanted to make a new post, something came up. It was pretty important stuff but still, where’s the dedication Julian?!

Over the past few weeks a LOT has happened. For the bulk of the time we had my wife’s parents visiting from the other side of the planet. Clearly no time for blogging!

Work also took over for a bit with me being added to a new project – fun but exhausting.

And one of my favourite things… I was able to work on and launch my new course on Udemy. Very happy about that! It’s the course I mentioned in my Secure Password Management post. I’ll have a post on the course later. Know that I’m super excited though!

Other than that, all spare time has been spent with my boys. It’s just incredible how quickly the little one is growing. He’s already 5 months old! Time is just flying! It’s the reason why I’ve decided not to stick to a regular posting schedule. I don’t want to sacrifice time with my boys for the blog. The blog will always be here, their baby/toddler years won’t.

I’m sure all you parents out there understand!

That said, posts are coming, so stay tuned!

The Single, Greatest Trick to Completely Avoiding Credit Card Debt

Credit Card

Credit cards are pure evil. Whenever I think of a credit card, I picture a maniacal, little goblin cackling away at how much we’ve all been suckered.

It’s not a surprise there are so many people out there with insane amounts of credit card debt. I’m probably one of the few who can safely say they not only have zero credit card debt but have also never paid a cent in interest!

How you ask?

Don’t Own One!

Bam! Totally obvious right? Yes but not really doable or achievable for the most of us. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic advice, especially if you’re the kind of person with zero self control (be honest with yourself when it comes to your finances!).

If you have no self control then cut up the credit card. Simple as that.

Again, this won’t really apply to the most of us – it certainly doesn’t to me. In fact, this isn’t the simple trick I wanted to write about. I avoid any and all credit card debt by following one simple rule… Read more

Secure Password Management

Secure Password Management

With the sheer amount of services available online it feels like we’re constantly being asked to create new passwords and accounts.

It’s so easy and tempting to fall into the trap of using one password for everything. I was a serial offender once upon a time… I mean who wants to remember 50 different passwords right??

As much as we hate to admit it, it’s a terrible habit. Imagine using a single key for every lock you own: locks in your house, your car, padlocks, safe deposit boxes etc.
Now imagine someone stole the key. You’d be pretty boned!

So why then is it seemingly acceptable to use a single password for our most private information?

I know of people who use the same password for both Facebook and their online banking. Worse yet, the password is painfully simple! (If your password is “password”, please seek help).

It’s something we all know we need to change but it’s so damn hard to kick the habit! How do we remember that many unique passwords? Read more

Budgeting Wake up Call!

Budgeting Wake Up Call

For those that don’t know me, I’m a massive fan of budgeting. Not in the same way that I’m a fan of sleeping in more than once a year (thanks kids!) but y’know!

Budgeting gives me a sense of power! A sense of control over something that for so long was out of control. Looking back, my spending habits as a teen were less than perfect. I worked in retail from the age of 15, got paid weekly and would spend the cash on all of the little things I’d always wanted that my parents would never buy for me. What else was there? A mortgage? Hell no!

 

Nokia 3315
My very first purchase! The beastly Noka 3315

 

Eventually I wisened up and started saving a bit. Not for my future of course but purely to see the amount in my bank account get higher and higher. Every thousand dollars was a milestone! I’d then end up spending a huge chunk of that lump sum on something spectacular. Over the years I went on multiple overseas holidays and bought myself a schmick car. I remember thinking, “this saving thing isn’t hard at all!”. And that’s how it was living at home with your parents.

 

nissan-maxima_2004
My first car. The 2004 Nissan Maxima Ti. *Sniff* Good times!

Read more