Labnotes

Weekend Reading — Move fast and break things

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Design Objective

Selfish Accessibility Another great presentation on accessibility. This one asks what happens when you grow older, get into an accident, or just computing while eating at your desk, and how we can design for accessibility that helps all of us in our day to day.

Responsive Design: Why and how we ditched the good old select element Rather than replacing select with a custom, half broken, HTML element, this article talks about reinventing the selector with a smarter UI that combines search, quicklist with history, alternative views (list, calendar), etc.

A story about Jessica @SwiftOnSecurity nails it by pointing out how hostile software security is to the average person, through no fault of theirs:

Perhaps it’s the very design of General Purpose Computing. And who built this world of freedom, a world that has so well served 17-year-old Jessica? You did. We did.

So whose fault is it.

Tap In, Check Out: Swipe culture is tinderizing our lives

Swipe culture was meant to provide us with the fastest and surest route to what we wanted, but instead it presents us so swiftly with such a bewildering number of options that we’re no longer truly sure what we want anymore.

Statistical Significance Does Not Equal Validity (or Why You Get Imaginary Lifts) Don't trust small sample size.


Tools of the Trade

gleemail "Remember when developing HTML emails used to be fun?" Gleemail includins tooling, Mustache templates, and custom HTML tags for making HTML email development less horrible.

SweetAlert A beautiful alternative to the browser's own native alert box, which sadly has not been improved upon by browser makers.

Proof-of-concept for a super-distributed CDN storing data in DNS records We're using DNS in a similar fashion but for distributed configuration. I'm sure there's a few more off-label uses for DNS you can think of.

OverAPI A collection of cheatsheets for various APIs, with cheat links back to the full docs. Includes jQuery, Node, PHP, Ruby, CSS, etc.

Secret Express.js Settings Three settings that are not well known, and worth trying out: json spaces, etag equality and query parsers.


Lines of Code

@fatneckbeardguy:

"With enough eyes, all bugs are shallow" is to software what the "invisible hand" is to economics.

Distributed systems theory for the distributed systems engineer This looks like a interesting blog. Subscribed.

Proof that engineers are not purely functional


Locked Doors

Inside Shellshock: How hackers are using it to exploit systems This is a must read if you want to understand how hackers are sniffing for vulnerable servers and some of the tricks they use to DoS and take control over them. HTTP and HTTPS are both vulnerable to the same extent, as is SMTP (not covered by this article).

How RAM Scrapers Work: The Sneaky Tools Behind the Latest Credit Card Hacks This is how hackers exfiltrate credit card numbers out of companies like Target and Home Depot.

Compromise needed on smartphone encryption Nice sci-fi piece from the Washington Post editorial board, where backdoors are only used by good guys, always under court orders, never hacked, never abused for mass surveillance.

Nine Epic Failures of Regulating Cryptography The EFF on why regulated cryptography provides no tangile security.

‘Stalker app’ company CEO arrested, faces federal charges of conspiracy and spyware marketing The Stalker app is basically a stealth spyware you can install on someone else's phone. Creepy to the max. Glad to see the feds stepping in to do something about that.

@paulbradshaw: "I've noticed a security flaw on Brussels Airlines..."


Startup Life

Quinn: Listening to the VC dog whistle When VCs say startup burn rates are "higher than ever", what they're really doing is setting lower expectations for future rounds.

Y Combinator and the negative externalities of Hacker News Hacker News is a horrible place for people from a marginalized background who also works in tech, yet also where YC sources deals. You do the math.

@khrabrov:

Experienced startup engineers are looking for a full-stack Business Guy to be CEO, COO, PM, marketer, account manager, HR, and receptionist.


None of the Above

Mining Bitcoin with pencil and paper: 0.67 hashes per day Because you can.

Confessions of a former internet troll:

It's why trolling isn't really trolling anymore. The motive isn't sublimated. The rage is bare. Trolls don't expose the vanities of the world these days; the world exposes the vanity of trolls. I don't know if it will ever go back to how it was.

Inside the Koch Brothers' Toxic Empire The secret to getting crazy rich off the commons:

The Koch brothers get richer as the costs of what Koch destroys are foisted on the rest of us – in the form of ill health, foul water and a climate crisis that threatens life as we know it on this planet.

Uber Optics "Something, something, teachers, free markets, living wages, man." Disgusting.