How I Prepared For My First Technical Presentation

29 March 2016 General

How I Prepared For My First Technical Presentation

Recently, as part of a job interview, I had to give a 20 minute presentation on a specifically requested technical subject, with a scope of my choice. The subject material was fine, I can waffle on about it for hours on end, but outside of some poor attempts at University, I had never given a professional presentation before. I gave myself just over a week to prepare and this article covers what I did and the resources I most benefited from as a technical professional.

Research the Subject

The first step was pretty obvious; in order to figure out the scope of my presentation, I needed to research the subject matter and see what already existed. This is not just in terms of documentation, blog posts and articles, but also how others are talking about it. How are they selling it? What are they presenting as its key features? What are they doing right and what are they doing wrong?

I initially took the stance of an audience member, as opposed to a rival speaker, and asked myself...

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Ten Steps to Learn Anything Quickly Review

30 January 2016 General

10 Step to Learn Anything Quickly

10 Steps to Learn Anything Quickly is an online course created by John Sonmez, the man behind Simple Programmer and Soft Skills: The software developer's life manual. The author is famous for being a prolific pluralsight author, having released over 50 courses across multiple disparate technologies. The learning techniques used for creating these courses were alluded to in Soft Skills, however it is only in this video course that they have been fully documented with supporting examples.


The course consists of:

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Identity Server 3 using WS-Federation

30 January 2016 Identity Server

Identity Server 3 is by design an OpenID Connect Provider, however many developers do not have the luxury of using the latest and greatest authentication protocols or have to integrate with existing Identity Providers incompatible with OpenID Connect. To solve this the Identity Server team have enabled the use of various features to enable developers to use the WS-Federation protocol.

OpenID Connect vs WS-Federation

The best way to compare OpenID Connect and WS-Federation is to look at the reason they exist (ie the problem they solved) and the technologies they typically use.

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Python Email Verification Script

24 November 2015 Email Verification

Please note that as of March 2016 I no longer work for Email Hippo Ltd.

Email verification is no secret. All it requires is a little knowledge of the SMTP protocol and your programming language of choice. To prove just how easy it is, I'm going to walk you through the basics using a simple python script. I'm providing this information as-is and completely for free.

Why am I offering this for free?

You may have noticed that I work for Email Hippo, a company whose main product is email verification. At Email Hippo, we are very open about the email verification process; as I said, it is no secret. What separates Email Hippo from a free service or this script, or in fact many of our competitors, is that we can do this with accuracy and in scale (hence the big old hippo).

Warnings and Disclaimers

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Creating OWIN Middleware using Microsoft Katana

30 August 2015 Katana

If you’ve newed up an ASP.NET project template you’re most probably using the OWIN pipeline and are familiar with middleware such as Use, Map, Run or UseCookieAuthentication. These are all extension methods for IAppBuilder, found in your OWIN Startup class, calling logic that will manipulate the current OWIN context or environment.

Using the OwinMiddleware abstract class found in Microsoft.Owin we can start to create our own OWIN Middleware components that we can then integrate with our existing pipeline or distribute as a package.


The abstract OwinMiddleware class looks like this:

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