My latest bag of interesting articles and talks I've recently read, watched or listened too (you can check which podcasts I listen to here).
#NoEstimates (Allen Holub): One of those inspiring talks I wish every manager, CTO and CEO watched, digested and understood. Do yourself a favor and watch it
AWS Lambda - 3 pro tips for working with Kinesis streams: I found this article very appropiate, because now seems everybody wants to "lambda-everything" and there are good and bad scenarios. Also good tips for kinesis, dead letter queues, etc.
UUID or GUID as Primary Keys? Be Careful!: I still think UUID benefits outweight the caveats, but probably I'm biased due to past troublesome DB migrations (in which UUIDs saved the day).
How does language, memory and package size affect cold starts of AWS Lambda?: Nice comparison, although as you can imagine Java and C# are the slowest ones due to their VM, related booting up.
Zachary Johnson & Andrew Reitano:NESpectre: The Massively Multi-Haunted NES | JSConf EU 2017: A modded NES that allows multiplayer inputs and hacks, impressive.
The Ultimate Game Boy Talk (33c3): If you're into Gameboy development, this talk is a rollercoaster of details and features (and a few hints). It is so packed you'll probably watch it twice.
The Ultimate Commodore 64 Talk: Same as previous but regarding the Commodore-64. Amazing how the visual mode hacks allowed for higher amount of colors, extra sprites and even drawing outside of the "main" screen!
Securely access AWS Parameter Store from your Elastic Beanstalk Docker containers: Accessing AWS Parameter Store from Docker containers is not straightforward, so this post gives a brief but working approach to do it.
ev3dev is a Debian Linux-based operating system that runs on several LEGO MINDSTORMS: Great if you own an EV3 and wish to change the OS (no need to override the original one, just format an SD-card).
With new browser tech, Apple preserves privacy and Google preserves trackers: Sad truth, one sells hardware and the other sells Ads, so privacy is secondary to ad serving and user tracking.
Scroogled no more: Gmail won’t scan e-mails for ad personalisation: It is probably to avoid more suing and possible fines for privacy violations and regulations, but in the end we "win".
Postgres full-text search is Good Enough!: If you use Postgres, really worth read about how to properly do full-text search.
Latest massive ransomware attack was actually something much worse: Interesting details, like it was created to actually destroy data but fake the intentions as ransomware.
Twitter says Trump's tweet doesn't violate its rules: because we're equal... until we're not and it is convenient to have people breaking the rules in the system (as increments platform engagement)
Is it possible to host Facebook on AWS?: an attempt to calculate if and how could FB move to AWS
You can use the new Chrome 59 dev tools to see what scripts aren't being used: Love this useful new feature!
Github recently added code owners: Nice feature, although more than owners I prefer "guardians", because code is not mine, but I can be the "reference guy" due to my knowledge about it.
Hard truths about tech: I recommend reading the full article but this is the list of points:
What Really Happened with Vista: Really interesting article on why Windows Vista was such a disaster despite being a full codebase rewrite and having such high hopes.
Amazon's SQS performance and latency: Interesting numbers to at least grasp how fast is SQS.
Lip-syncing Obama: New tools turn audio clips into realistic video: Really scary article... makes me fear in few years we won't be able to trust the media at all...
What does your car know about you and will it share your secrets?: And more scary stuff, in this case the telemetry that self-driving cars is storing about everything.
Mac as a first-class gaming platform: Are we there yet?: TL;DR no, but it's on the right path.
The Secret of High-Performing Developers: Best highlight: "if you need to debug — you've already lost your way"
What happened to John Carmack after the book Masters of Doom?: Interesting summary of the thinking of this genious. You don't have to agree with everything he did/promotes, but he's still an incredible developer and engine creator.
Facebook wants to analyse your emotions as you browse: It is a patent to discreetly take control of the phone/laptop camera to analyse your emotions while you browse the site and serve ads tailored to your reactions.
China forces its Muslim minority to install spyware on their phones: Scary country, I wouldn't like to live there, there are so many privacy cuts.
Videos from the recent EuroPython 2015 Italy: Too bad they are not split but per room and day instead :(
(Now More Than Ever) You Might Not Need jQuery: Interesting to see more and more vanilla JS "powers".
A hacker stole $31M of Ether — how it happened, and what it means for Ethereum: Very long but instructive post about Ethereum, how it works, and how it was hacked to steal that money. Key summarizing point: "this ecosystem is young and immature. [...] But we're going to have to get there for blockchain to be successful in the long run".
Games software/hardware over $150B in 2017, $200B by 2021: Incredible numbers, I've been recently reading old videogame magazines from the late 80s and the 90s and it is amazing how they grew from a niche to now being almost everywhere, from a children toy to now even more appealing for adults.
What Does It Really Take To Track A Million Cell Phones?: Scary conclussions (it is really easy and quick).
I love videogames and I grow up with what now is called retrogaming. I also switched from Windows to Linux a while ago and, despite having a dedicated gaming desktop PC, it is mainly for recent titles. Taking advantage of some holidays I decided to setup some emulators at the laptop. It wasn't always easy so I decided to write this post, both for myself in case I need to repeat it and just in case it is of use to anybody else.
Note: At the time of writing this blog post, my system is an Ubuntu 16.04 x64. Based on my experience, Linux software is very sensitive to operating system versions (way more than Windows), so I can't guarantee that everything will run for example at Ubuntu 17.04.
For Arcade machines I use MAME, I use the oficial Ubuntu Software Center MAME Arcade build/binaries plus the GNOME Video Arcade GUI (available at Ubuntu Software Center too). The main issue is that it is a barebones GUI, missing many many features from things like MAMEUI, so I also keep MAMEUI inside a virtualized Windows XP SP3.
Before continuing, a small intermission to explain the reasoning behind that Windows XP virtual machine. VirtualBox has come a long way regarding Virtualization, and even under Linux (where I haven't been able to make work 3D emulation) it works quite nicely and I use it mainly for three tasks that have to do with videogames (among other unrelated tasks):
For old Nintendo systems (Gameboy, GameBoy Color, Gameboy Advance, NES/Famicon and SuperNintendo/SuperFamicon) I use Higan. You have recent versions at PlayDeb2, but wherever you grab it, should at least be v103. The main reason (apart from typical better emulation and speed) is that GameBoyAdvance BIOS ROM loading was mostly broken under Linux and got fixed around version v100. One remark, to run GameBoy Advance ROMs, you need the BIOS ROM.
My beloved Commodore AMIGA 500 still works nicely, but floppy disk loading times and the like are tiring, so I also play this great computer via emulation. Especifically, using FS-UAE + FS-UAE Launcher. A few notes/tips also here:
And finally, to play old MS-DOS games either not available at Good Old Games or that I already own, nothing beats the great DOSBox, which can for example be found at Ubuntu Software Center. This is a generic operating system virtualization so each game might need individual tweaks, but many work perfectly out of the box.
One thing that I haven't tried yet is Playstation/PSX emulation. PS2 is still not 100% emulated under Windows so I don't even care, but I have pending to check for Linux PSX emulators, there should be something decent already...
Once setup, all this software works nicely, but it is not an easy task (at least not without this post summarizing it ;). There is a great all-in-one solution that I tried, RetroArch. It is a multi-emulator GUI-software-thingy that supports plugins to run many many systems, from legacy ones to really recent stuff like Wii's Dolphin emu. The reason I wasn't convinced by it is that at least when I tried it a few months ago, the Linux build was unstable and only worked with some systems. Windows build looked way more robust (I tested it) but as wasn't my plan uninstalled. It is the base system used at the RetroPie distribution, so the distro is correctly setup and already contains many basic features I probably missed out, but it wasn't as trivial as I thought.
My laptop is an old 2012 Dell XPS but runs perfectly the systems mentioned above. I know a Raspberry Pi can even run now Neo-Geo games at a decent framerate so one day I'll get one, but my two main reasons for waiting are a) I wanted to do this learning experience before grabbing a quick'n easy solution, and b) I still want to wait a bit further until commodity hardware evolves and runs more powerful machines like the PSX or GBA without frame skipping (probably something like a Raspberry pi 4 will do).
Hope this list helped you out!
This is a small post just to write about what we use at work and what I'm starting to use at home too for personal experiments. I thought would be interesting to share as at least two friends showed interest about the topic.
First, we're using Python 3.6. I've been using Python for around a year and a half only, and I have almost fully skipped python 2.x, so I am not biased with the "2 is better, don't migrate to 3!" war. I just like a lot all the new features and the way better encoding handling so my ignorance makes me not understand why would people keep with an old and worse version... ¯\(ツ)/¯
Then, we use flake8 as our linter, with every restriction on except the line size rule (which we've upped to a more reasonable 120 characters). But as some people have tendency to drift away from coding standards, to make sure everybody follows it my colleages have setup an integration test that uses
flake8.api.legacy to run the checks and make sure there are no violations. It can look silly sometimes, but helps a lot to maintain a uniform codebase.
And finally, again thanks to my colleages we're doing typed Python using mypy. It adds optional type checking both to Python 2 and 3 and provides a linter-check call which reports any error (so can be actually made mandatory). Added to the same battery than the normal linter test, it means all new code must be fully typed or you won't be able to push a build. It is quite robust and you have typing hints for everything, from basic types to optional parameters, callable function handlers, generics and multiple return values (
Union type, you still need to specify to it which values are allowed). It stings a bit when you begin using it but after a while it's so nice to forget about weak typing errors (one of my main complaints of scripted languages).
I highly recommend you to watch this PyCon 2017 talk of the creators of mypy to both see it in action and learn about its internals:
All of this combined with some decent tests (kind-of-TDD-without-being-always-strict) means I can do non-trivial changes and refactors without worrying of breaking unexpected things. If you do python, you should try too, the absence of fear makes you feel really nice.
Oh, and just in case you want to check it out, I keep a small gist where I from time to time write notes and miscellaneous things regarding Python that I learn and wish to keep for the future.
As a tiny sample, I wrote a Python implementation of a double linked list that you can check at my GitHub. It has both flake8 and mypy "linter tests" that check the code for errors or missing typings. Sadly, variable type hinting is only available from Python 3.6 onwards so I've used comment annotations at two places I needed to, as I'm for now using Python 3.5.
And finally, if your IDE is Sublime Text as it is mine, I wrote a post about installing a few linters on the application to directly code clean and best-practices approved Python.
UPDATE #1: Added Youtube talk video.
UPDATE #2: Added my double linked list example.
UPDATE #3: Added link to my post about Sublime Text Python linters.
Latest bunch of posts, articles and links I found out interesting.
DELETEs), by generating on the client a unique id sent with the request, so that id forces the server to not repeat multiple retries of the same operation but instead keep (somehow) the state of that id's operations and fullfil it.
And, while not news, I also wanted to mention (as I'm recommending to my friends) anybody to do the following (free) Coursera course: Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects. It is from the University of California and, despite being a 4 weeks course, you can do it more or less in half the time (if you have enough spare time). It not only teaches you how your brain works but really provides good tips to improve your learning lessons. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it. I'll probably mention other online courses when I finish them.
Got delayed so more and more news piled up... ending up with a not-so-small list of relevant articles (in my opinion at least!).