Learning how to code

Learning how to code has been a challenging adventure. I started coding from the age of 16 but I never really got into it. I was doing software design and development in high school and learnt Visual Basic and objective orientated programming but I never further developed my skills into computer science at university and I went into the traditional sciences, studying chemistry, biology, geology eventually earning a Bachelor Degree in Science. I never really had a huge interest in computer science, but now I see that I probably should have continued on that path of computer science. However it is irrelevant to look at the past and what you could have done and how you could have done it. All you have is the future to plan for and execute. I learnt the basics of computing and web development, now I just have to commit to learning every day how to create compelling, interactive and compelling websites. I have decided to follow the curriculum of freecodecamp.com and really try and finish that curriculum. It’s currently difficult with holding a full-time job, but I must find time every day to do it. This the key is getting up every day and realise that you have a bunch of problems to solve and that those problems cannot wait. They have to be fixed

Toastmasters Speech

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, distinguished toastmaster and guests. My name is Iliya *pause* This name might not be familiar to you. I don’t blame you….. It is quite rare. However it does and I am here to explain to you the origins of my name #pause# Consider yourself lucky if you have a simple name like Ben, Tom, Alex, Angela #pause# you don’t have to spell it out every time you have to buy a coffee. Iliya, *spell* I l I y a  oh so many I’s and l’s it’s just too confusing. My family came to Australia in the year 1997 from the European country of Croatia. I completed a Bachelor of Science in 2010 and I have worked ever since following my passions and interests.

 So today I will give you a brief autobiography of my life. How my NAME came to be and its origins. Where I came from and how my IDNETITY was formed and finally what I ended up doing at university and a good part of my life.

I was born in the year 1988 and I was named after my grandfather. It is Hebrew name…… meaning “the name of my God is Yahweh”…… It has many derivatives, Elijah in English, Elias in Greek, Iliyas in Arabic and Iliya is the Slavic version, and we also have a Female version Ilijana. The name also has many deviations in spelling depending on the country you are in. However the best definition of it comes from the website Urban Dictionary.

  “Someone who is very zen, in touch with himself, and channels his inner being to perfection. Never in a rush, always laidback, cool and calm but that doesn’t mean he won’t be a wise-ass and slick when needed. Charmer with the people and very well-educated.” Which is quite faltering. Thanks Urban Dictionary.

 I was born on the Croatian Adriatic Coast in a city called Zadar. The region is called Dalmatia and I could call myself a Dalmatian, but that would confuse people with the dog….. So I don’t do that.  I only lived there for about 5 years before moving to the capital of Serbia Belgrade and finally at the age of 9 my family settled in Australia. This was in the year 1997. My ethnicity is truly mixed now, I was born in Croatia, to Serbian parents but consider myself culturally Australian. I grew up on the South Coast, the most stunning coast in Australia, I went to Wollongong Primary School, Wollongong High School and finally Wollongong University. Completing the Wollongong education trifecta. The outcome of all this education in Wollongong is a Bachelor Degree in Science majoring in geology.

 Science has always been my strong suit and a passion of mine. I have been trying to understanding the world around us and how we all fit in it. I would read science text books given in class in a matter of days, while other students would not read it at all. I found out I was a natural in Earth Sciences and understanding concepts from that field was easy for me …….so I naturally gravitated to it. This led me to complete my BSC in geology and 2 months later I was working on drillings rigs in Queensland.

 The geologist life is not for everyone, you are constantly on the move. Your office is outside and the scenery changes every time the drilling rig moves. You start work at 530 in the morning. You will work in -5 degree mornings and 40 degree afternoons, you will encounter dangerous animals like brown snakes and funnel web spiders , you might get run over by a dump truck, literally squashed in your car. You drive your car a lot, practically living it and your car will get stuck in mud, you will get a flat tire and you will have to open a hundreds of barbed wire gates If  you get chosen you can end up working in the depths of an underground mine. Working in the underground environment is especially dangerous due to geotechnical hazards. The roof collapsing on your head is a real and present danger. The upside is of all of this danger is that you get paid 6 figure sums.

You could consider it a bad ass life and in some instances it is. On the other hand it can be quite lonely and isolated life. It has its upsides and downsides but you take the good with the bad. Looking back I really enjoyed being a geologist even though at time I tough it was a very tough job.

 Around the middle of 2012 the mining boom ended, everybody got made redundant and I decided to switch it up. At first I moved into the geotechnical industry starting a masters in Geotechnical Engineering, trying to learn how to build foundations of buildings and infrastructure but what I really wanted to do is move into the tech industry. At first I learnt how to code so I started designing websites and then I moved into the Electronic Security Industry, implementing security architectures. It’s a large pivot from where I originally started in Earth Sciences but by diversifying my knowledge base into science, technology, computer science and business I can really achieve more than just being a geologist. My current job is not the same as traveling 500kms by car to reach a place in the middle of nowhere but I enjoy the services that large cities provide. Great restaurants, good coffee and fast internet. I currently live with my girlfriend in Alexandria and I have joined the dreaded daily commute into the CBD.

 My name is weird and its meaning is equally weird. The name of my god is Yahway, but I have accepted it for what it is. I am culturally Australian but my background is European. I have learnt so much and traveled widely. My current work is not as exciting as my previous work but it gives me an opportunity to learn new things. One day I hope to return to doing geology but right now I love living in Sydney. Thank You.

Stripping WordPress for Speed

Just as a test case I have decided to strip my WordPress site of all features that might slow down its loading time using the Microsoft Azure Shared Tier. I wanted to see how much of an improvement I can achieve if I only use text and the default theme Twenty Fifteen. I was able to to get an 8x reduction in loading times from my custom WordPress theme which had a Revolutions Slider and all the expectations of a modern website. The load time 2.62 seconds is very good if you are an impatient web surfer. I would like to keep my load times under 5 seconds.

Even thought internet but it still is 2.62 seconds. Sub-second loading would be ideal as in real life we expect things to load instantly.


Microsoft Azure and WordPress on a shoestring budget

I have been playing with Microsoft Azure and WordPress for a year and a bit, trying to make it work. I’m no pro developer just an enthusiast developing websites. At the beginning I though it’s a great service allowing you to create a personal blog in seconds and for no upfront costs. This is however where the fun ends. The problem lies in the service tiers. The shared tier is $12 AUD a month allowing for customized domains while the basic tier is $73 AUD a month. This is a huge jump, a 7 fold increase in price. You get stuck between a rock and a hard place. The basic tier is too expensive and the shared tier is really slow. This in effect creates no incentives for small WordPress blogs and low traffic business websites to migrate to Azure.

The speed at which a customized wordpress site can load on a Shared tier really needs to be looked at by Microsoft. It could be a tier that Microsoft can really make their money on. Migrating low traffic websites on to their service from hosts like GoDaddy and other host service providers.

Belmore Falls

There was a 4 day long weekend last week and I could not decide what to essentially do. Me and my girlfriend eventually settled on going down to our hometown of Wollongong and possibly exploring things further south. Basically fluking it. I had grandiose of plans of going to Queenstown, New Zealand and seeing Milford Sound but that kinda fell apart. Have to really plan that one. My back up plan was travelling down to Eden on the far South Coast. A great little town that I have been previously been to when on a geology field trip.

Friday we basically chilled in our Sydney apartment until about midday when we decided to head south. We arrived in Wollongong and I had a good catch up my family and the next day was our planned adventure to Eden. However my lack of planning made me think about this adventure more carefully. First of all it was nearly 500km away, that’s a 6 hour drive with no stops. My car needs a service badly and i did not want it to breakdown. However I must admit my Peugeot 307 has not let me down even when it had a broken gearbox. It would have gotten me home I know that. The biggest deal breaker was that I had not booked accommodation. Eventually I decided to go up to Robinson in the Southern Highlands and see the three waterfalls in that area.


Outspoken, adventurous, proud and audacious: Belgrade is by no means a ‘pretty’ capital, but its gritty exuberance makes it one of the most happening cities in Europe. While it hurtles towards a brighter future, its chaotic past unfolds before your eyes: socialist blocks are squeezed between art nouveau masterpieces, and remnants of the Habsburg legacy contrast with Ottoman relics.

It is here where the Sava River meets the Danube (Dunav), contemplative parkland nudges hectic urban sprawl, and old-world culture gives way to new-world nightlife.

Grandiose coffee houses, quirky sidewalk ice-creameries and smoky dens all find rightful place along Knez Mihailova, a lively pedestrian boulevard flanked by historical buildings all the way to the ancient Kalemegdan Citadel, crown of the city. The old riverside Savamala quarter has gone from ruin to resurrection, and is the city’s creative headquarters. Deeper in Belgrade’s bowels are museums guarding the cultural, religious and military heritage of the country. Josip Broz Tito and other ghosts of the past have been laid to rest here.

‘Belgrade’ literally translates as ‘White City’, but Serbia’s colourful capital is red hot.

Royal National Park

The Royal National Park is the closest National park to Sydney and which I with my beautiful girlfriend go to frequently. Originally created as a playground and escape from “bad air” by 19th century Sydneysiders it is now a cherished untouched natural jewel in the financial capital of the Asia-Pacific region. It has been able to withstand the urban sprawl that occurred in Sydney after the Babyboomers arrived and it is truly something to see even if you don’t live in Sydney.

Being a geologist

In all honesty, I never knew I would have Bachelor Degree in Science majoring in Geology. Its one of those things that happened without being forced, like when a wave crashes on the shore. Maybe a bad analogy but close enough. The thing is I loved the study of Earth, it intrigued me how the mountains formed, how the rivers ran and how it all (everything) came to be from the beginning. If you seek those answers you will find answers in Geology. It is an over encompassing subject that cover all areas of science. Most professional geologist are more or less polymaths crossing a number of strands of science to get to the answers they seek.

This is really what got me into Geology, the huge breath of knowledge that one understand to be good at it.

To be geologist to practice it day in day out take a special person though. First that person has to incredibly smart, second the preson has to love the outdoors, the person has to be slightly weird, not like crazy weird but like this person doesn’t act like other 99% percent.