Notes to myself, shared with the world. A collection of projects, thoughts, and ideas — mostly about computers.
See all my blog posts, sorted by year, in my blog archive.
One of the top stories on Hacker News today was a blog post called macOS 10.15: Slow by Design. I loved reading it – I find it fascinating to see how a problem like that was discovered through some reverse engineering. But it also got me thinking about macOS vs Linux vs Windows and reminded me why I love using Linux. Many people I know think the Linux Desktop is buggy and hard to use. And sometimes it is. But it’s worth remembering that neither macOS nor Windows comes without its own set of problems. There are trade-offs between any operating system (and apparently, the OS slowing down some executables by making network requests is now one of those trade-offs 😂). At the end of the day, I just want my OS to get out of the way and not be broken so I can be productive, and it seems to me that in the last several years, Ubuntu is getting closer to Windows and macOS in terms of stability and ease-of-use. On top of this, Ubuntu has always been lightyears ahead of Windows and macOS in terms of data collection and privacy.
When you run the Ubuntu installer, there’s an option to dual-boot Ubuntu with an existing Windows installation. There’s also an option to encrypt your Ubuntu installation, but only if you erase everything and install ubuntu. There’s no automatic way to install Ubuntu alongside Windows 11 with encryption. And while there are plenty of tutorials for dual-booting Ubuntu and Windows, many of them are outdated – often referencing an MBR partition table – and almost none of them seem to address encrypting your Ubuntu partition.
This might turn into a bit of a rant, but humor me. The other day, I was working on a hobby software project when I got hit with one of these:
Recently, I bought a new computer. My goal was to find the ultimate developer laptop! Well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration… I actually set a fairly reasonable budget for myself. So maybe the ultimate affordable developer laptop™ is more accurate. In any case, I put a lot of thought and research into what my ideal machine would be like, so hopefully my research and experience can help you find the computer of your dreams too!
I think most software developers love short feedback cycles, whether they realize it or not. And it makes sense! Really short feedback cycles are one of the first things most developers experience when they write their first “Hello, world!” program. A lot of developers get hooked when they see that any change they make to the code is reflected immediately in the output. This feedback cycle is nearly instantaneous, and many developers love that about programming.
I enjoy listening to tech talks from expert software engineers. When you listen to a good tech talk, you’re given the opportunity to learn from someone else’s experiences, and this is really valuable in such a fast-moving industry. A lot of tech talks from big developer conferences are posted online for free, and I’ve kept a list of some of my favorite tech talks from the last several years. These are the five tech talks that have had the most influence on me personally, and I think that anyone who’s a web developer should listen to them if you haven’t already. Although most of them are several years old by now, I think the ideas presented in them have already stood the test of time. So while some technological details might change, the big ideas presented are still relevant and will continue to be for a long time.
It’s been nearly 2 years since I originally wrote about How I Manage Passwords with KeePass. That blog entry was inspired by Troy Hunt’s post, “The only secure password is one you can’t remember”. Using KeePass was a wonderful experience, and I’m thoroughly convinced that everyone should use a password manager. The ease of use and level of security a password manager provides is way better than anything else you could do to remember your passwords. One of the most common ways a person can be hacked is by reusing the same password on many websites. The problem is that if any website has a data breach, all the websites you used that password on are compromised. And a password manager solves this problem by using a different password on every site.
It’s October, and Hacktoberfest is in full swing! It’s a great time to contribute to open source. I love open source software and the open source community, and I think contributing to open source software has lots of benefits for professional software engineers. Here’s 5 reasons you should contribute to open source software.