Programming insights to Storytelling, it's all here.
One of the sites I worked on was regularly getting hacked. The attacker did not leave much traces and eventually we learned how to deal with the symptoms of the attack rather than fix it. The common agreement was that maybe he was exploiting a bug in the framework. Recently, I did a deployment and didn't follow the exact procedures and we got hacked again. I got mad for getting blamed for it and decided it was time take a deeper look into the problem.
I am a web developer by trade and I program as a hobby. I love the idea that people who choose this career path are considered smart. Some of my non-tech savvy friends ask me questions like how Facebook works and they are awed when I answer: Facebook uses a giant database. In front of them I feel like a winner. The go to guy when we are talking about anything technical. But then I go back home. I open my local repository and look at my past, present, and future projects. Then I think to myself: I have absolutely no idea what I am doing.
I was recently monitoring my server logs and I noticed multiple requests to a unusual path. /humans.txt. The request returned a 404 since it didn't exist but it got my attention. A few seconds of googling revealed a very interesting idea: a website can talk to bots with the robots.txt file and talk to humans with humans.txt.
In high school I always wondered how some kids memorized all the math formulas. Especially the long ones. I am not particularly good in math but since I am terrified with the idea of giving up I kept at it until I found ways to deal with it. I couldn't memorize the formulas but knowing the first few digits of a sine and cosine of special angles (30,45,60 and so on) proved to be very useful. I loved computers since I was a kid and I was labeled the computer guy in the family. Everyone came to me (and still do) to get help with the Microsoft Word issues, Excel, modem setup, unresponsive mouse, broken screen (not that I could do much with a broken CRT monitor), driver update, unplugged cable, and so on. I may be very disorganized but one thing I can say for sure is I almost aways find a solution to the problems presented to me.
Google, Facebook, and many, use your information to re-target ads. It is their way of making money. It was fine in the beginning because they came from humble backgrounds. It was the kid in his college dorm trying to build a cool new thing. We admired and cheered for them until they became the giants that basically govern the Internet today. Despite all the talks of how evil they are, we wouldn't be using their services if they weren't doing such a fine job.
After watching Jobs, the movie about Steve Jobs, I was left inspired. Despite all the negative criticism, there was still something to get out of it. Documentaries about civil right activists or people who made it against all odds also give me the same kind of feeling. So right after watching, I re-evaluate my own life and start setting goals. I want to make a difference, I want to be successful, I want to inspire the world. With all the excitement, I write down these resolutions. No doubt in mind, I will reach them all. The days go by, the excitement tones down, and I stumble upon this notebook where my life changing goals were jotted down. I realize that there is no way I can accomplish all this. I have simply created another to-do list that I will never get to.
It is very amusing to speculate what the next big thing is going to be. But history has shown that we are not particularly good at getting it right. The year 2000 has long passed and we have yet to see a flying cars; some actually find it to be quite a ridiculous statement. However, it is much easier to look back in the past and decide what was the next big thing.
Vim is my favorite text editor on the terminal. After playing for a little while with nano and emacs, I finally settled with vim for its simplicity (bare with me please). Although it can be customized and used like an entire IDE, I use it mostly for editing files on my servers and making small but crucial changes. Let's not get into Editor war and get started.
Making your own website shouldn't be too difficult. Hosting companies like Godaddy or Hostgator make it super easy for anyone to get started; they allow you to create a whole website without ever writing code. For most people, it is plenty to run a WordPress blog. If this is what you are looking for you should head to Godaddy.com right now. We are done here. But on the other hand, if you want to have control and not be limited by the short comings of a shared hosting without busting your wallet, you have come to the right place.