Blockchain : The Freeland Passport

Blockchain technology has been in the news a lot lately. Most of the attention however was on the cryptocurrencies and ICOs. But that’s a very tiny part of what the blockchain is all about.

There are many different applications of the blockchain technology – some we already know and some are yet to be discovered. But there’s this one particular milestone, which I consider of ultimate importance.

Freeland, which is a set of social, technological, and business experiments has recently announced the Freeland passport. Watch the above YouTube video (in English, or this one in Russian), which showcases the passport.

Now, with the quick “yes” answer to your question of “Is this real?”, let me ask you a question in return: is your mind blown yet? Mine is.

I think this is a very important milestone in major social, cultural, legal, technological, and financial transformations that are already changing the world. This passport is a beautiful bridge between the two very complex, yet very different worlds we now live in – the physical and the digital.

This is not the beginning, and this is not the end. But this is one of those moments in history, which a lot of people today won’t recognize as such, yet the generations to come will definitely point out and understand.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are living in the very exciting times!

Intro to basic web application security

Intro to basic web application security” is an excellent overview of the most common mistakes web developers make when it comes to security. The article provides practical examples (including code snippets and screenshots), which illustrate the problems and ways to solve them. The list includes:

  • SQL injection (of course! no such guide would be complete without it)
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS)
  • Cross-site Request Forgery (CSRF/XSRF)
  • Local file inclusion (LFI)
  • Insufficient password hashing
  • Man in the middle (MITM)
  • Command injection
  • XML external entity (XXE)
  • Sensitive data exposure (including error messages and exceptions)
  • Login rate limits
  • and a variety of other, small, but potentially dangerous issues.

Mobile Jazz Company Handbook

I’ve seen plenty of company handbooks. Some of those were in the companies that I worked for. Others – shared documents from companies I’ve only heard about. Mos of these handbooks were rather boring HR documents, explaining boring HR rules and polices to mostly new employees – working hours, company structure, dress code, and the like.

Today I came across a different kind of the company handbook. It comes from the Mobile Jazz, which is a mobile and web development company.

Have a look at this PDF. It’s a thing of beauty!

Before I even finished reading through it, I wanted to work for or with the company. It’s cool. It’s fun. It’s awesome!

And it doesn’t matter from which perspective you are looking at it. The design of the document is great. The content is great. The purpose is great. And it radiates the company culture, and what a culture it is!

I just can’t get enough of it. It’s exactly the kind of place most techies want to work for. It’s open. It’s transparent. It has great values. It’s immediately trustworthy.

This is an excellent example for so many companies to follow! Raising the bar, one company handbook at a time…

The Complicated Economy of Open Source Software

Open Source Software is cool and exciting. If you are a developer. But building a business around it is quite challenging. Many have tried and failed. And only a few have succeeded.

Recently, I came across this article – “The Internet Was Built on the Free Labor of Open Source Developers. Is That Sustainable?” – which dives into this issue and explores it pretty deep.

That also reminded me of so many post-mortems for technical startups that I’ve read over the years. “RethinkDB: why we failed” is one such example.

Surely, articles like these shouldn’t stop people from building businesses around the Open Source Software. But they should at least balance out the rosy eyes approach many entrepreneurs have.

Cyprus Tax Calculator

Cyprus Tax Calculator is probably the best implementation of the tax calculator that I’ve seen around. It’s dead simple to use, and allows all kinds of calculations – monthly or annually, with or without 13th salary, and reporting overalls, income tax, social insurance deductions, as well as providing tax breakdowns.

Very handy tool for anyone in the job market. ;)

Refactoring.Guru : Design Patterns + PHP

Refactoring.Guru is a great resource for learning about refactoring best practices and design patterns. A lot of the website’s content is also available as Dive into Design Patterns ebook.

Today I came across this GitHub repository, which makes this resource even better specifically for PHP developers. Yup, that’s right, the GitHub repository features all code examples written in PHP 7.3, making it super easy to jump into coding.

And if you aren’t a PHP developer, have a look at the other repositories, which do the same for a few other programming languages.

Awesome Design Tools

GitHub hosts numerous “awesome lists” with collections of tools, documentation, and resources on a variety of subjects. So far, however, these seemed to be mostly developer-oriented. It’s good to see that other people are joining in. Awesome Design Tools is a curated list of the tools and resources for designers (web, interface, print, brand, etc).

Not even being a designer myself, I had to Google for some of these things plenty recently. In particular – collaboration tools, color pickers, fonts, icons, screenshots, etc.

7 Awesome CloudFormation Hacks

Amazon CloudFormation templates are a bit tricky to write, regardless of whether you are working on your first one or you have been doing it for years. Sure, there are plenty of examples online, tools that make it easier (thanks Ansible!), and copy-pasting sections from your own library. But any tips on how to make the life easier are always welcome.

Hence, here’s a very handy collection of “7 Awesome CloudFormation Hacks“. These include:

  1. Combine two sequent intrinsic functions
  2. Use exported values from other stacks in !Sub
  3. Changes in cfn-init don’t trigger redeployment in AutoScaling Group
  4. Get Stack name of sibling stack in nested stacks
  5. AccountIds with leading zero
  6. Use Dictionaries as Stack Parameter
  7. DependsOn with condition

How To Build a Serverless CI/CD Pipeline On AWS

How To Build a Serverless CI/CD Pipeline On AWS” is a nice guide to some of the newer Amazon AWS services, targeted at developers and DevOps. It shows how to tie together the following:

  • Amazon EC2 (server instances)
  • Docker (containers)
  • Amazon ECR (Elastic Container Registry)
  • Amazon S3 (storage)
  • Amazon IAM (Identity and Access Management)
  • Amazon CodeBuild (Continuous Integration)
  • Amazon CodePipeline (Continuous Delivery)
  • Amazon CloudWatch (monitoring)
  • Amazon CloudTail (logs)

The examples in the article are for setting up the CI/CD pipeline for .NET, but they are easily adoptable for other development stacks.