Whirlwind: What my first 'real' software engineering job taught me

8 Sep 2019 - 14 minutes
Having speed makes others happy in the short term. Having velocity makes you happy in the long term. One of the biggest lessons I learned was to prioritise ‘velocity’ over ‘speed’. This probably sounds meaningless to you, but allow me to explain. At some point around a year ago, during my one to ones with my manager, we were discussing the fact that I was heavily distracted and finding it tough to concentrate on tasks I wanted to work on.

How do I make breaking changes in Go without annoying people?

22 Jul 2019 - 11 minutes
Knowing when and how to make breaking changes is tough. It is even tougher in the Go ecosystem. After being burned by making a breaking change and annoying people, I’m going to investigate how best to mitigate this annoyance. Disclaimer: This is mostly opinion, and only my opinion. This post is not associated with my employer in any way. You can contact me @normankev141 What even is a breaking change, anyway A simple definition of a breaking change is any change you make to your code that could break other code which directly or indirectly depends on it.

Exploiting UPnP, literally childsplay.

5 Jul 2019 - 8 minutes
As a kid, I used to love playing Minecraft. I was technically precocious from a fairly young age, and naturally gravitated to attempting to host my own Minecraft server for me and my band of geeky pals to play on. The problem was, I had no idea what port forwarding was, nor how to log into a router. The solution I found was about as novel as it was dumb.

Stories from previous jobs: Those damn Romanians and their damn data protection laws.

24 Apr 2019 - 3 minutes
A long time ago I worked for an ISP as Tier 1 technical support. This is just one of many stories I have from my time here. These were originally published elsewhere on the internet, but are being reworked and republished here. Sometimes, the degree of insanity in a conversation can reach such a fever pitch that it is hard to recover. Sometimes, people can say things that leave you so flabbergasted that you aren’t sure if you’re being trolled or not.

Beating round-trip latency with Redis pipelining

16 Apr 2019 - 5 minutes
I worked on a task which involved checking every single value in a Redis instance, and modifying ones which matched a certain format. This script needed to run in a fairly timely fashion, as it would need to be run frequently. Making requests sequentially didn’t cut it, so I learned about pipelining. This simple optimization meant that a script which I originally calculated to take over 50 hours to run ran in under 4 minutes.

That time a sticker made me an accidental domain squatter

10 Apr 2019 - 5 minutes
It all started with my noticing of these stickers absolutely everywhere all over London. I’d also seen them in other European cities. I was never curious enough to actually search for it, so I just noticed and moved on. The method by which I discovered their true meaning was something I never expected. The sticker in question Every now and then I’d come across one and the question would briefly pop back into my head, but it’s surprising how high the barrier to looking something up is for me.

Initiative Q - Get Rich Quick in 2018?!

25 Oct 2018 - 4 minutes
I personally don’t pay a massive amount of my attention to cryptocurrency. This isn’t because I dislike them, more because they’re just not that interesting to me at the moment. I’ll occasionally hear about Bitcoin rallying or some Etherium app getting hacked, but other than that I avoid it. Recently, I’ve had a bunch of people who wouldn’t normally be interested in such things ping me about Initiative Q, asking what I thought of it.

News in the morning: a simple hack - Part 1

3 Jun 2018 - 2 minutes
Like many people, I find it difficult to wake up in the morning. I want to automate some of the things I do in the morning in order to continue to hack away at my laziness. To this effect, I want my television to switch on and over to BBC news in the morning. Unfortunately, Hisense do not provide a way to control the television remotely as far as I can tell, and nmapping it doesn’t give me anything too interesting.

NotSoEducated - a project from a while ago

2 Jun 2018 - 1 minutes
A while ago, I and a friend of mine got rather annoyed at a ridiculous propaganda attempt regarding e-cigarettes, so we countered it by parodying the complete lies with a well cited, truthful account. They’ve long since taken the site down, I suspect in response, but you can somewhat experience it thanks to the Wayback Machine. A poster designed for the project

Wear OS is upsetting, and I'm gonna rant about it

5 Apr 2018 - 6 minutes
I’ve personally been maintaining a policy that generally dumber tech is better. I don’t own any smart speakers because they creep me out, I don’t own any smart lightbulbs because i’m genuinely terrified of the prospect of having a web server in a lightbulb socket, and I definitely don’t own any smart cameras or the such for the same reason. I’m not opposed to such things existing, I just think they’ve got a long way to go before I’d trust them.