/ Weekly Notes

Weekly Bits and Pieces

Cover photo: Stream by James Gilleard

First, the big news. After a month of hard studying, I took and successfully passed the CompTIA Project+ certification! This is the reason I have stayed under the radar for a while. I have been studying and preparing for the exam. Having passed, I am happy that this is all over, and am excited as to what challenges it would bring me. I firmly believe that project management is something that you learn by doing and not out of a book. Nevertheless, I appreciate the opportunity to sit down and read bit about the bigger picture in managing projects, and not just make assumptions based on the limits of my experience. I will cut the details about the exam and my preparation for it here, and will probably write a separate post about it instead. I think that my experience might be helpful to potential exam takers, and those who are still wondering if something like that is worth it.

Finally, having a bit more time for side projects and self-education, I got back to bring my poor and bare Kaggle profile back on its feet. I have developed quite a few Jupyter notebooks with different experiments over the past few months. I am in the period of revising them and releasing them as Kaggle kernels - the first one being a neural network photo colorisation algorithm, roughly based on Emil Wallner’s Medium post.

Apple

Apple released a new iPad this week. It brings a slight bump in the specs (mainly, a faster processor) and the option to use the Apple Pencil on it. As usually these last couple of years, the community response was “was that it?”. My opinion on this is that the secret to happiness lies in lowering your expectations. I personally like the new product, and will buy one. My iPad Mini 2 still heroically serves my needs, including reading, writing, making music, consuming media content, etc. As old as it is, the Mini 2 runs iOS 11 with all of its bells and whistles, and does a pretty good job at that, albeit with a slightly degrading performance (which is perfectly normal for a 5 yo product). I love the form factor, and were going to replace my Mini 2 with a new one, had Apple gone forward with the series, and not left it in the set-discontinued state in which it is now. So, the new iPad it is!

Besides the hardware news, there were two software updates from Apple — iOS 11.3, XCode 9.3, and Swift 4.1. I haven’t had a chance to try either, but as a Swift developer myself, I am more excited as to what the future direction of the language looks like.

Swift.org - Swift 4.1 Released!
What’s New in Swift 4.1? | Ray Wenderlich

Cryptocurrencies

The world has fallen in love with the magical Rube Goldberg machine of money — TOKENS. Everyone wants to tokenize everything, and there’s a massive pipeline of token supply that is coming to market. But without any demand for these assets, what is a token actually worth?

via Drowning in Tokens – Meltem Demirors – Medium

Nothing spectacular happening in the cryptocurrency markets this week. Pretty “boring” as Ivan Liljeqvist likes to call them. This gives us an opportunity to sit down, read a little, and rethink our strategies. This is what I’m doing now. I rekindled my interest in the NEO platform. I believe, it was one of my missed opportunities of last year, and I’m trying to setup some entry positions into it, at the low of the crypto market.

here are a few readings I’m catching upon, while crypto markets stabilize:

Mastering Bitcoin: Programming the Open Blockchain - a book by Andreas M. Antonopoulos
The original Bitcoin Lightning whitepaper
Bitcoin has a huge scaling problem—Lightning could be the solution | Ars Technica

Apps

Charles is available for iOS - EUR/$ 9.99 on the App Store
Charles is a popular HTTP inspector proxy, perhaps best known among the developer community writing code on or for the Apple ecosystem. One of its frequent use cases has been using it as an interceptor proxy for debugging iOS app traffic. The release of the iOS app would make HTTP interception a piece of cake, without the necessary bells and whistles of setting up a connection to a Charles instance running on desktop. I’m excited as to what opportunities (but also, potential misuse), having an application like this on your phone might bring. As far as I know, the iOS version only reports the intercepted requests/responses, without allowing the developer apply apply modifications to them. Even at this early stage, interesting discussions around how much exactly our apps track behind our backs, started floating around Twitter:

Misc

One interesting thing I figured out this week. My provider had to shut my server down for a few hours of scheduled maintenance. Afraid that I might abruptly kick out incoming visitors, I looked at the analytics to see the incoming traffic. To my surprise, there where a few active visitors to my page 😲I double-checked, ad indeed, the page was gone. So how come do these users still keep browsing around? Then under deeper-inspection, I figured out the thing. Turns out, the analytics was receiving scheduled heartbeat events from every site that was still open. As long as the user didn’t move anywhere but kept it open, this heartbeat event were sent. This led to the interesting realisation that the majority of active reader time is probably coming from tabs that are still open, but the user might not be actively looking at. Same as in my case, I guess. I frequently open a bunch of tabs, then forget that I ever opened them, and so the remain, semi-active for days.

Ideas

One thing that came to my mind while running, is creating Telegram bot that periodically checks highlights from top Medium articles and sends one at random to subscribers, together with a link to the original article.