The push to HTTPS

Last year, Google started giving websites that have an SSL cert a ranking boost. As part of that announcement they said it was done to push the web to be more secure. But they also wanted to go even further and push for “HTTPS everywhere”.

This week it was announced this measure is going to be taken a step further with a new feature in Chrome where it will show a big red “X” on unsecured sites. Firefox also has plans for this.

The EFF and security researchers are applauding the move. One example is it prevents governments from blocking specific pages. They instead have to block the whole domain which is much more noticeable. You can read about Russia’s WikiPedia ban for more context.

Dave Winer is one proponent against this and in a recent post he said:

I wonder if they’ve even tried to quantify the outages they’ll cause. So many sites are simply residing on a hard disk somewhere, served by an ancient version of some unknown and not maintained server software, chugging along as someone keeps paying the electric bill, and replaces a broken hardware component when needed. The people who created the site might not have understood HTTPS or how to deploy it, and many are long gone. Some of course are dead. We are certainly not all sitting around doing nothing waiting for a handful of programmers on a mail list to make us perform a ridiculous act of security theater for our blog posts written in 2002. 

Most of these sites do not need HTTPS. It isn’t an issue for my ancient blog posts. Or yours.

I personally think the current proposal with a red “X” is not the right solution. Yes, users will notice it at first, but give it two weeks and that icon will be totally ignored. I like the proposal on the Firefox report where someone suggested the browser just alert when submitting a form on an unsecure site, but I think it’ll be ignored after a while as well.

Free SSL’s

Let’s Encrypt and AWS are two service now offering free SSL certs. As the market shifts toward free services I’m sure implementation will get easier and easier until all web hosts just have support by default.

Of course, this would be a lot of work and a lot of companies would need to make big architecture​ changes.

SourceForge and Slashdot Sold

Via FossForce

“With SourceForge, our plans all surround returning the site to being the ‘gold standard’ and most trusted destination for open source software discovery, development, collaboration and distribution on the web. We will improve and accelerate development of useful open source software developer tools in addition to rekindling the original spirit of open source that made SourceForge an industry leader.”

I can’t see this happening. How many things that have lost this much momentum ever climbed back up?1 Especially when the target market is developers.

I think of the code editor changes over the years. Textmate was hugely popular, it lost momentum on the v2 release and never recovered. Eclipse and Netbeans taken over by PhpStorm.

Even BitBucket which is almost on par with GitHub just can’t seem to pick up steam from the open source community. But I know of a lot of consultant shops using it.

I just can’t see how SourceForge will ever return from how bad the name is tarnished. It’ll be an uphill battle and will take coming up with something truly​ innovative.


  1. Maybe Vim. It’ll survive the apocolypse. 

The iPad Decline

Apple reported sales of iPads declined 25% during the last quarter and pundit’s everywhere are screaming the sky is falling.

No one can predict the future and all we have to go on is what is here and now. As an Apple fanboy here is my reason for the decline of iPad sales.

Toward the end of last year, Apple released the iPhone 6s and 6s plus and before the announcement I had been debating between getting a new phone or an iPad. I already had a phone and I didn’t need a new one so I leaned heavily toward the iPad, but the more I thought about it the more I came back to thinking the phone was the right choice.

I made up my mind and purchased a 6s plus. What pushed me toward it was the better camera. (My iPhone is my only camera) It’s always with me and it has cell service.

After using the new phone for a month, I knew I had made the right decision. The screen is smaller than the iPad mini but I can still do everything on it that I could with an iPad. I watch TV, read books, write blog posts, edit images, everything but software development, which you can’t really do on the iPad either.

The only thing I’ve found lacking is some professional apps are iPad only but I can’t fault Apple for that. I’m sure the developers had good reasons to only support the one device.

At the end of the day, iPad sales are declining because of the bigger screen on the iPhone plus model.

The GitHub Silo

People have been complaining​ about silos since the first one was built. I think if we took a trip back in time with Marty McFly we would see hundreds of people standing by that first one and arguing about it.

Of course, we can all agree silos are mostly bad and especially whenever it’s such an integral piece of modern tooling.

Tonight, GitHub is down and that means it’s impossible to read project documentation, install packages, or browse gists. Everything just comes to a halt.

The irony in this is that Git is distributed​ and designed to work even if you don’t have an internet connection but because we, as developers, rallied​ around this one company now literally everything is in their hands.

It’s one of those things where you don’t think about it until it’s down. Then you realize just how fragile a developers toolkit is.

Time is Money

When you first start out as a developer you find a problem and build a solution. This is how you learn and progress.

As you become older your outlook changes and you’d rather pay money to save time. Of course, you could still build it, but eventually, you hit a tipping point.

Developers are some of the worst offenders of this problem. We have a problem and spend lots of hours building or own version when we could become typical consumers.

To give a real world example of this, I decided to create a weekly newsletter and instead of paying monthly for a service I did it all myself.

After a few months, I realized I was spending close to five hours a week just getting it ready to send. I then switched to a paid service and it cut my time down tremendously. I could then spend the hours saved on more important things.

Free Stock Photos

In the past few years, free stock photography sites have been cropping all over the web. I was first exposed to these from one of the most popular sites Unsplash and have been using more and more of these services since then.

The problem now is many others have found Unsplash and I’ve scrolled through their list so many times I have them memorized. In order to be different, I’ve started keeping a list of bookmarks to other services that might not be as well known.

Continue reading “Free Stock Photos”