My Life For The Code Retrospective

I would like to thank Shawn Rakowski for inviting me onto his show. He was a great host and I enjoyed speaking with him very much. You can listen to it here:

Episode 23 – The Learning Path with Kevin O’Shaughnessy

Someone that I can see a lot of good qualities in, security expert and developer extraordinare Troy Hunt, wrote an article that I found a lot of value in recently on speaker anti-patterns. I found the introductory section especially revealing:

I realised that many of the talks demonstrated common speaking anti-patterns that I see all over the world in different talks. What’s more, at one time or another I have demonstrated every single one of them myself in my own talks. I know this because I watch them all again (at least once) and tear them apart.

Practice makes perfect, but only if we are honest with ourselves and continually look for areas of improvement.

So, here goes… *deep breath* *holds breath*


When I first hear myself again, I cringe! I’ve never understood how everybody else’s recorded voices can sound exactly the same, yet mine can sound completely different, and completely worse! I had forgotten how much I hate hearing my voice played back, and I am going to need to practice my enunciation because I sound pretty slurry at times (I wasn’t drunk, honest!)

Hello World Moment

This Wrecking Crew video brings back some old memories. More recently I’ve loved the level editing potential of Trials Evolution.

Here’s The Games Factory if you’re interested.

History as a software developer

Clean coder and social developer. The experience with SQL Server case sensitivity was useful when moving from VB.NET to C#. I’m happy with this answer.


Financial services is a very good industry for getting experience of a variety of business applications, big and small. On the downside, the software technology tends to be older than in some other industries, and there were times when many people said that there was too much office politics going around. I would not rule out going back into financial services, but I am not currently missing it (except for a few old friends).


If you’re interested in making the most of Pluralsight, the Outlier Developer post is here. Most of the tips are also easily transferable to other online video training providers.

I sort of imply that you can become an expert in some subjects by watching the learning paths. I don’t actually think that anyone can become an expert at anything just be watching alone. For an explanation of this see Passive to Active: Good, Better, Best

I really appreciate that Shawn made the effort to insert a (perfectly worded) note on Ethical Hacking, sparing my blushes, as many people don’t fully understand the differences between hacking and ethical hacking.

In addition to great hacking skills (better than any black hat, who only need to find a single way in) an ethical hacker must have the highest levels of discipline and professionalism. In order to mature into a more professional industry, I believe that we need more ethical hackers, and more companies investing in those ethical hackers as well as other information security professionals.

Here’s the programming in pink article: programming isn’t boring, it’s fun

F# and functional programming

In the developer on fire interview (coming out 9th May) I said I wasn’t going to learn F#, but it does appeal to me.

The unofficial path is here.


I would like to re-iterate that my colleagues are NOT tools!   🙂


Although I hated hearing my voice back, I am fairly happy with how it went. I enjoyed speaking to Shawn, and I hope that you enjoyed it as well.

8 thoughts on “My Life For The Code Retrospective

  1. You know what? I was reading that exact post the other day and thinking the same thing. “I need to listen to my squeaky voice and tear my podcasts apart”. I applaud you for not only going through the motions, but also doing so in public.

    I also loved the podcast, and can really get behind your message of clean code. I too am surrounded by wonderful employees and can relate. I also loved the link back to “Get involved”. Love that video.

    Your dedication to consuming pluralsight videos is inspiring and I really like what you’re doing with the learning paths this year. I’d also like to second Shawn’s suggestion: You should create a course about learning from Pluralsight. I find that there are a few neat tips / tricks one can have to skim and get a rough idea about new technologies and dive in to get ones hands dirty and have a great learning experience by going to-and -fro from code to video. I’m sure you have many other tips.

    Thanks for sharing Kevin. Please, keep on being awesome.

    • Many thanks for the kind words Pavneet. Posts like these break one of the so called “golden rules” of blogging (don’t talk about yourself) so it is good to know that someone else got something out of it.

      I would very much like to be a Pluralsight author one day, although not this year.

      I don’t think there needs to be a whole course on Pluralsight about how to use Pluralsight because everything that you need to know is already available on Outlier Developer here:

      I have reviewed that article several times now looking for more to add, but what is there is really all there is to it.

      This has reminded me of some advice which I missed the opportunity to give on both podcasts which is to have a clear idea of what your priorities are and to act consistently according to those priorities. It is something that I have struggled with many times over the years but I am gradually getting better at.

      Outside of my day job my family is my top priority, followed by my commitment to completing the new learning path each month, followed by meeting friends, then reading books and writing blog posts.

      When I first decided to do the learning path challenge, I estimated that I would be able to achieve it as long as no emergencies came up. There was a family emergency recently so I fell behind on Pluralsight and it will be a push to complete the final course by the end of this month, but I will manage it.

      There are a couple of old friends that I haven’t seen in months because I have had too much else going on, and its very important that I address that soon. Also my next SimpleProgrammer article is one month overdue. That is a shame as well and something else to do, but friends come higher IMO. That is not saying or suggesting what anyone elses priorities should be in life, because we all have our own lives to live. I just mean if you know what is most important to you then everything follows from that.

  2. Great priorities. It’s all about balance, really. We can sacrifice some things, but others have to have priority. Family is one of them. I have a post about my priorities this year as well:

    In regards to the “golden rules”… I didn’t get that memo. I usually have a personal approach to my posts. ;). Have you found that style to be “bad”? Could you recommend any good resources about blogging do’s / don’ts?

    • I have been reading a book called “the golden rules of blogging (and when to break them)”. I think it is fine to talk about yourself as long as it is done in a way that the reader can relate to or identify with and learn from. What really alienates readers is self congratulatory stuff. Talking about your experiences and what you learned from them on the other hand is useful, at least in my opinion.

      • Here we go, excerpts from

        Rule #10: Blog about your topic, not about yourself
        “If I subscribe to a blog about self build cabins, I want to read about how to get started, or look for some cabin inspiration; I don’t want to hear about the bloggers impending divorce.”

        “…but some bloggers have found that sharing something real and personal with readers has given them a new and more powerful connection.”

        “…when a blogger not known for oversharing brings up one of life’s big issues, it can have a far-reaching effect.”

      • Wonderful, thank you for finding and sharing these resources. Now I can dig a lot deeper into what exactly I’m doing rather than following my “gut feeling”.

        It’s good to have some confirmation about my approach as well. Thank you 🙂

  3. Pingback: Developer On Fire Retrospective | Zombie Code Kill

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