Mike's Blog

A collection of projects, thoughts, and ideas about computers.

See all my blog posts, sorted by year, in my blog archive.

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My First Program

My First Program

On the StackOverflow Podcast, they always ask their guests on the show how they got introduced to programming. Whenever I listen to that segment of the podcast, I always think back to my first experiences with programming, and how I built on those to get where I am today. I like the podcast segment a lot, and I think it’s fun to share these stories. So, in honor of Computer Science Education Week, I’m going to write a blog post about some of my first programming experiences.

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Hacktoberfest 2017

Hacktoberfest 2017

Hacktoberfest is a project sponsored by Digital Ocean and Github that encourages contributions to open source software. Anyone who contributes at least 4 pull requests to open source projects on Github during the month of October will get a free Hacktoberfest shirt for their participation.

This year, I participated in Hacktoberfest for the first time as a project maintainer. After learning about the event, I decided to create several issues in my Container Immersion project (which I wrote about in February) with the Hacktoberfest label, inviting new developers to help out. Initially, I was surprised by the quick response of several people willing to help. This is probably the best benefit of Hacktoberfest - it creates an environment where people are actively looking for projects to work on, and projects that normally wouldn’t receive much attention are given a chance to gain exposure and receive contributions from the community.

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How To: Deploy a Simple Java Web Service with AWS Lambda and API Gateway

How To: Deploy a Simple Java Web Service with AWS Lambda and API Gateway

AWS is incredible technology, making it easy for anyone to deploy a web service without needing to worry about managing servers. In this quick tutorial, we’re going to see how to deploy a simple web service to AWS Lambda and make that service available on the internet with AWS API Gateway. Let’s get started.

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Bufferbloat?

Bufferbloat?

Have you ever noticed your internet connection get slower when uploading a large file? I have, but I never put too much thought into it or realized I could do anything about it… Until I stumbled upon this blog post from a systems engineer at Ookla (the company behind speedtest.net). As it turns out, there’s a term for this (bufferbloat), and this is an easily solvable problem.

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Why CI?

Why CI?

In recent years (and in some cases, for many years), Continuous Integration (CI) has been taking off. Almost any open source project you look at is using some kind of CI tool like Jenkins, TravisCI, or CodeShip. In the simplest cast, the CI server is just running unit tests. In more complex cases, the CI server runs unit and integration tests, produces a build, and maybe even deploys the software.

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Fitbit Surge vs. Garmin Forerunner 35

Fitbit Surge vs. Garmin Forerunner 35

I was recently shopping around for a new GPS running watch, and I tried both the Fitbit Surge and the Garmin Forerunner 35. These devices are both good GPS watches with a similar feature set, so I thought it would be worthwhile to see how they stack up against each other.

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When's My Code Going Out?

When's My Code Going Out?

At SpotX, we manage our codebase with Git. Our commits flow from our develop branch to production, with a code-freeze branch in-between. Like this:

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How I Manage Passwords with KeePass

How I Manage Passwords with KeePass

Several weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about how horrible it is to have to deal with the various password restrictions websites use. Of course, that post was influenced by Jeff Atwood’s post, Password Rules are Bullshit. While writing the post, I did some research on what makes a good password. And after writing it, I spent several weeks thinking about my own password management strategies.

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Chasing Bugs: PHPUnit Hides Errors

Chasing Bugs: PHPUnit Hides Errors

I love stories about hunting down interesting bugs. I find things like left-pad breaking the internet, cloudbleed, and the sleep bug in Eve Online extraordinarily interesting.

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Dealing with Passwords

Dealing with Passwords

Jeff Atwood wrote a post on Coding Horror today calling out bullshit password rules. And he’s dead on. Password rules, as most sites implement them today, are not improving security. They might actually be hurting it. Even NIST agrees.

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