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Improve your command line demos with three simple changes ...

Years ago, at Siebel, I would always set up bookmarks and open multiple browser tabs to make the demo flow smoothly. I never wasted time navigating through screens if I could avoid it. I would also change the default font type and size for any demo I gave. This made the text easier to read on a big screen when the viewer was several feet away. I often had people ask why my version of Siebel looked different - better infact, It told me that, while a font change is subtle - it can make enough of a difference in the demo and the perception of the product overall.

Today, I see a lot of demonstrations carried out from the command line. The same principles can be applied to command line demos - but sadly rarely employed. How many times have you watched a demo where the developer is typing 'cd ../..' when navigating around or you find yourself struggling to read the text in the console window? At one recent demo the developer wasted so much time trying to mess about with his screen …
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Create your own media center (with movies, BBC and ITV) in under 15 minutes

Kodi (formerly XMBC) is a free, cross platform media player that supports remote control over HDMI, HTTP (so any device your network) and has plug-ins for the BBC and ITV.
I had everything up and running in less than 15 minutes. I am able to watch movies, BBC and ITV all from one single interface.




Additionally I can control the movies using the TV remote and I can use my phone to control the
content for movies or UK TV.  And best of all, I don't need to use iTunes anymore and I'm not flooding the network streaming movies to the Apple TV.

Here are the steps:

PreparationOld Mac (or PC or Raspberry Pi) with an active Ethernet/WIFI network connection (must have internet access)HDMI out (you could use a VGA or DVI adapter if you're Mac is really old - but you will need to use your Audio Out cable). Make sure your audio is set to play on HDMI and not the Mac's internal speaker. (To do this go to System Preferences->Sound->Output on your Mac and select HDMI).Ensure all y…

Create an Alexa Skill for your Amazon Alexa or Echo Dot

So you've bought an Alexa Dot and you want to create your own voice app - but you are wondering how difficult is it to build, how do you build the app and how much will it cost to run?  If you have basic programming skills then building the application is really easy. If you have written a function or script in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets - then you can build an Alexa voice app. I'm providing all the basic stuff you need to get started ...

Note: This post is not intended to give you an exhaustive guide to building a skill. Instead it aims to give you the overview to get up and running quickly. Amazon provides a build-it-yourself walkthrough (here), samples (here) and a free course on Udemy (here).  I recommend starting with the free course then following the walkthrough.

How much does it cost ? It costs nothing to build and run a simple Alexa app. $0 / £0 / €0.  Zero.  Furthermore the app is hosted on Amazon's cloud, it's secure, load balanced and managed for you …