Keeping Busy

I know I’ve been neglecting this blog lately, that’s largely to do with spending so much time building PYDIEM and the Hostery.

I have however as part of the Hack.Summit() hack.pledge(), I have committed to being a mentor to a developer in 2015 (only for an hour, but I intend to do much more).

As part of that larger commitment and on top of the software developer I am already guiding as part of our team at PYDIEM; I intend to start giving back more to the community and encouraging better programming, computer science and IT decision making from the grass-roots..  that means more presentations and talks at local developer meetups (look out Sydney Python!) and much more blogging of developer news, tips and other things of geek interest here.

Dev Team Tips: Deploying to Beanstalk

So, you’ve found the various howtos and documentation around the ‘net for getting your first Amazon Elastic Beanstalk application up and running. You’ve downloaded the AWS-ElasticBeanstalk command line tools and you happily pull down your latest code and deploy with “git aws.push” – but now it’s time to allow other members of your team to deploy code to your shiny new Beanstalk environment.

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A Deeper Look at Facebook’s Censor Tracker

A huge deal has erupted today across social media on the news that Facebook is tracking our comments even if we choose to not post them. While this is technically true; it is also somewhat misleading. The response has been that Facebook are only tracking the time we spend entering (and then not posting) comments; not the contents of them themselves, however this does not necessarily seem to be the case.

Firstly, Why does Facebook want to do this?   Facebook tracks a lot of our actions on the site and it does it for one simple reason – to improve the user experience and maximise the amount of advertising they can sell (after all that’s what Facebook is all about). The Facebook user experience has constantly evolved – much to the disapproval of large portions of the user base; who don’t realise there is a time line and plan, Facebook rarely surprises those of us who keep up with the social media industry.

Facebook’s ultimate goal is for every user to share more – this creates more content for users, keeps users on the site longer but most of all it feeds Facebook’s massive database of information ready to market directly at you things that you’re much more likely to be interested in.  It’s all about marketing.  If Facebook can encourage you to share more or censor less the more they can learn, the more they can sell.

However, looking deeper, it appears that they are getting all the data of our comments regardless of if we post it; and why would they not store that data if they’re getting it – it could be useful.

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A Little Fact Checking Isn’t Hard

For over four hundred years the profession of journalism has been one to hold in high regard; the reporter always on the hunt to uncover the truth, scoup the story first or get the best photographic or multimedia recording.  Images of the romantic image of the 1920s news paper man or second world war news reels to the popular culture ideals of a cocaine snorting; moustache donning anchor man on the evening TV news all a layer of romance to that fundamental quest – the quest for fact, truth and public interest.

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Why you need Continuous Integration

The answer is simple – your team wants to build more reliable software; more effectively.

One of the biggest issues facing any development team of more than one developer is ensuring that any changes being made do not break other parts of the software you are collaborating on.  While this is often mitigated by developers working on separate parts of the system based on their area of expertise, in the golden age of object oriented, re-usable code the impact of any changes has become harder to track and test.

The initial benefit of a bare implementation of a basic CI system provides an automated approach to something that your developers are probably doing manually already.  Every time a branch is merged back into your main branch (a future article will explore sensible approaches to branching and merging) CI kicks in; prepares a test environment and checks the main branch into it ready for testing – in itself an incredibly useful start.

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New Blog!

It’s been a while; but I’ve got some interesting projects on right now which I feel will provide inspiration for writing again, and I was sick of having a “coming soon” page up as the only content under my domain.  I do still plan to dig up some old content that is still being requested (it’s amazing to watch the 404s in the error log looking for articles I wrote years ago!).

Stay tuned for more shortly!