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The Nottingham Tech Community

This is a great post by https://mindthe.net/devices/ about the awesome tech community we have in Nottingham and why its such a lovely place to be personally and professionally.

Recommended read: The Nottingham Tech Community https://blog.dddeastmidlands.com/2019/10/10/nottingham-tech-community.html

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Modding, Vim, i3, and Efficiency

I've found that I can use Vim for just about everything I do day-to-day (be it personal or professional work) but just not with Java. I feel I need too much of IntelliJ's functionality, and that's OK! I'm happy to admit that it is a better experience for me.

Recommended read: Modding, Vim, i3, and Efficiency https://nora.codes/post/modding-vim-i3-and-efficiency/

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Meetup.com alternatives

With the recent news of Meetup.com increasing prices for organisers https://twitter.com/securestep9/status/1183798804371386369?s=19 this is great to see the alternatives mapped out!

Recommended read: Meetup.com alternatives https://www.notion.so/Meetup-Alternatives-36d73649d34f4bba9e2065f1fa8cd03f

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Meetup Mates

Dominique shared this at DevOpsDays London, and it's a really great idea.

Because it can be difficult attending meetups on your own, Dominique and co have set up a community that makes it possible to meet folks before a meetup, maybe have a drink and a chat, and then head over together.

It has made a huge difference to folks wanting to attend, and has given people a lower barrier to attending an event, because they'll be able to chat to others on Slack before they go, so it won't be as awkward.

This is something that Tech Nottingham and Women in Tech Nottingham do, where before the event there will be some folks meeting at the Theatre Royal, and then they can walk over together, getting a chance to meet others.

Several of the organisers in the Nottingham tech scene chatted with Dominique about this at DevOpsDays, and we'll be looking to see if we can roll it out in Nottingham, too.

Anna has started to use her /events/ page as a way to help others see what events she's attending and for others to join her, too, and I think I'm going to be copying her and doing similar to make it easier for folks to see what upcoming events I'm attending.

Recommended read: Meetup Mates https://www.meetup-mates.com

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How our security team handle secrets

This is a really interesting post to hear how some other folks in a similar environment to us manage their secrets.

It's always cool to see how other folks are doing similar things, anyway, and as usual, Monzo have a great blog post.

Recommended read: How our security team handle secrets https://monzo.com/blog/2019/10/11/how-our-security-team-handle-secrets/

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The Web Can't Survive a Monoculture

This is a great article on why we can't just let Google Chrome / Chromium take over the Web, and need to fight for other alternatives.

But as well as looking at the browsers, we need to look to the platforms too. If everyone ie uses Twitter, then Twitter are less likely to make changes because no one has an alternative. Whereas when we have multiple viable options, folks can jump around and use better platforms if they exist.

The IndieWeb is looking to do this - check out https://indieweb.org/why for a bit more info

Recommended read: The Web Can't Survive a Monoculture http://mikepennisi.com/blog/2019/the-web-cant-survive-a-monoculture/

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Apple Successfully Implements OpenID Connect with Sign In with Apple

This is very good news - open standards like OpenID Connect (OIDC) make interoperability and integration easier, so hats off to Apple!

Recommended read: Apple Successfully Implements OpenID Connect with Sign In with Apple https://openid.net/2019/09/30/apple-successfully-implements-openid-connect-with-sign-in-with-apple/

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Logs were our lifeblood. Now they're our liability

This is an interesting post, and is an important one to think about. We need to remember that although now we've got lax data privacy / retention laws, it's only going to get more user-focused and protect everyone more (which is universally a good thing!) but that we need to make sure we're architecting things in the right way to handle this.

Also, while you're thinking about this - have a read through some production logs and wonder "what could a bad actor do with these? Could they phish a customer? Could they steal their identity? Or are these so useless that we may as well not be logging anything at all?"

Recommended read: Logs were our lifeblood. Now they're our liability https://vicki.substack.com/p/logs-were-our-lifeblood-now-theyre

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RSVP Rant

Completely agree with this, as a meetup organiser, and would go one step further to say if you're able to RSVP if you're not coming that'd help too, otherwise there's the assumption you'll turn up, especially if you're a regular!

Recommended read: RSVP Rant https://www.danclarke.com/rsvp-rant

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Against TDD

This is an interesting read - I'm a big fan of TDD but a few things here hold true

Recommended read: Against TDD http://neopragma.com/index.php/2019/09/29/against-tdd/

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Let’s write more blog posts: an experiment

#10MoreBlogPosts sounds like a great initiative - hope that it'll help get more folks into blogging.

I've found it's really helped me personally since starting to work on blogumentation (blogging as a form of self-documentation https://www.jvt.me/posts/2017/06/25/blogumentation/ )

Recommended read: Let’s write more blog posts: an experiment https://amyhupe.co.uk/articles/lets-write-more-blog-posts-an-experiment/

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cd-linter

I've just seen in my GitLab repo's issues that I've had an issue raised about my CI/CD configuration (https://gitlab.com/jamietanna/jvt.me/issues/664).

This seems like a great solution to try and find common issues in pipelines.

Recommended read: cd-linter https://bitbucket.org/sealuzh/cd-linter/

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Use the Unofficial Bash Strict Mode (Unless You Looove Debugging)

This is a great article about how to be safer when writing shell scripts. I am a huge proponent of not using them where possible, and instead moving them to another scripting language (Ruby, Python, Node) which you can test, and use a shared standard library.

Recommended read: Use the Unofficial Bash Strict Mode (Unless You Looove Debugging) http://redsymbol.net/articles/unofficial-bash-strict-mode/

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Rate of Successful Retire

Justin talks us through the ability to retiring old systems being a really important capability for a company, making sure that it doesn't impact the users.

Recommended read: Rate of Successful Retire https://www.justingarrison.com/blog/rate-of-successful-retire/

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Google Has My Dead Grandpa’s Data And He Never Used The Internet

This is a very interesting read - privacy and data ownership is quite familiar to those of us who have been using tech for some meaningful amount of our lives, but what about those who've never touched the Internet, but have suddenly found their data is being collected and owned by someone, somewhere?

Recommended read: Google Has My Dead Grandpa’s Data And He Never Used The Internet https://www.forbes.com/sites/joetoscano1/2019/09/03/google-has-my-dead-grandpas-data-and-he-never-used-the-internet/

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The Dark Side of AWS Lambda

This is quite an interesting little gotcha that many may not know (for instance I did not) about a 75GB limit of storage of Lambdas.

Recommended read: The Dark Side of AWS Lambda https://medium.com/fluidity/the-dark-side-of-aws-lambda-5c9f620b7dd2

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Continuous Verification of Friday Deploys

I quite like this idea. As https://charity.wtf puts it, we should be comfortable with deploying no matter what day or time of the week, because our tooling and processes should give us confidence. It's an antipattern and a sign that something is wrong if we don't want to do it.

But at the same time, you don't want to be staying up late on a Friday because someone pushed something, and then have it potentially ruin your weekend.

It's definitely a hard line to walk, but as this article says, we should opt for something a bit more risky, to give us more confidence

Recommended read: Continuous Verification of Friday Deploys http://willgallego.com/2019/08/23/continuous-verification-of-friday-deploys/

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Bookmark of https://twitter.com/DuckDuckGo/status/1166390671705612293

I've been using DuckDuckGo for a couple of years now, and have no complaints. The privacy baked into the product is great, and their extensibility for things like !gh to search on GitHub or searching "html pretty print" is awesome for quick productivity boosting.

I'd recommend you giving it a go, and see how you feel after a while. And if you're finding search results aren't so great every so often, you can !g to get your Google results!

Recommended read: Bookmark of https://twitter.com/DuckDuckGo/status/1166390671705612293 https://twitter.com/DuckDuckGo/status/1166390671705612293

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Consume less, create more

This is a really great post about how we should look to use our time more wisely. Taking time to create something new instead of just consuming others' content, especially as you're all going to have some really interesting things to share.

However, we also need to remember that it's OK to have downtime, and consuming others' content is ok! (And yes, this is a little ironic coming from me, a person who is seemingly always productive and pushing out new content)!

Recommended read: Consume less, create more https://tjcx.me/posts/consumption-distraction/

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Introducing Strong Customer Authentication: What you need to know

This blog post from Monzo is such a good explanation of what the Strong Customer Authentication regulations are, especially coming from someone who's been working on it for some time. It's going to be interesting to see how the industry works at making it secure, but unobtrusive to the customer - as it's something that could cause quite a User Experience difficulty, at the risk of providing real security for our users.

Recommended read: Introducing Strong Customer Authentication: What you need to know https://monzo.com/blog/2019/08/22/strong-customer-authentication

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Absolute scale corrupts absolutely

This is an interesting article about how the increased size of the Internet is a cautionary tale for whether things need to be on the Cloud / accessible from the Internet.

Recommended read: Absolute scale corrupts absolutely https://apenwarr.ca/log/20190819

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George RR Martin: 'Game of Thrones finishing is freeing, I’m at my own pace'

This interview with George RR Martin is incredibly insightful into how George has been dealing with the TV series of Game of Thrones overtaking his literary pieces, and I'd really recommend a read to see his thought processes and the pros and cons of his writing being behind.

Recommended read: George RR Martin: 'Game of Thrones finishing is freeing, I’m at my own pace' https://theguardian.com/books/2019/aug/18/george-rr-martin-interview-game-of-thrones-at-own-pace-now

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It's all Greek to me: Thoughts on code readability and aesthetics

Readability of code is a very important, but so is using idiomatic language style. However the difficulty, as this article calls out, is that some folks won't find it easy to read or write code in an 'idiomatic' way. And also, who cares if you convert the readable four-line code snippet into a horrible to read one-liner? All it does is make it harder for the next person!

Recommended read: It's all Greek to me: Thoughts on code readability and aesthetics https://avraam.dev/posts/greek-to-me/

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YAML: probably not so great after all

This is a great read about some of the risks of using YAML, especially the way that most YAML parsers default to executing arbitrary, unsafe commands from a file you're parsing.

Recommended read: YAML: probably not so great after all https://arp242.net/yaml-config.html