Code Review Like You Mean It

Building a solid development workflow is very different now than it was a few years ago1. The biggest improvements of workflow and the increase in quality is probably due to the concept of pull requests2, which has made code collaboration explode thanks to the decreased friction that goes into contributing to a project.

This article describe how to properly do code reviews and working with pull requests. Having a focus not solely on finding errors, but using it as a tool for learning and sharing knowledge, as well as for building a common code quality and coding style for an entire project, spanning all involved authors.

  1. Basically before GitHub. 

  2. Called Merge requests in Gitlab and is basically a request to merge a branch back to the master branch, and has social aspects such as discussions and inline comments, perfect for code reviews. 

Enemy of the state (1998)

Tonight I went back to the classics with Enemy of the state (1998), the story of hotshot lawyer Robert Dean who becomes the victim of a high stakes identity theft after unknowingly receiving a video portraying a murder. The NSA sets out to recover the tape and to take Dean down in the process.

Seeing this movie after the recent scandals facing the NSA makes this movie all the more important. They foretell a world where mass-surveillance is omnipresent, and everyone should be considered being under suspicion. It seems writer David Marconi wasn’t too far off.

This is one of my favorite movies from the late nineties with high paced action scenes bundled with a dystopian present where trust is no where to be found.

Score: 8/10 (Great)

V for Vendetta (2005)

V for Vendetta (2005) is a movie set in the near future where Great Britain has become a fascist state and a masked vigilante known as “V” conducts guerrilla warfare against the British Government. When “V” rescues a young woman from being arrested by the secret police, he finds an ally to fight the oppressive government forces.

It’s easy to see the parallels with the classic dystopian fiction 1984, both having the totalitarian state and a control of fear. What sets this movie apart is the anarchist vigilante having a firm agenda and executing on it with absolute precision.

Score: 9/10 (Superb)

Veronica Mars (2014)

Veronica Mars (2014) is a crowd-funded movie about private investigator Veronica Mars who returns to her hometown to help her old high-school friend who has been accused of murder. Arriving back at Neptune, she soon realizes that things aren’t what they seem and starts unraveling a deep coverup.

I have watched and rather enjoyed the old Veronica Mars TV series, so I was delighted to hear that a movie had been made to complete the story a decade later. I was pleasantly surprised that they managed to bring back that old fuzzy feeling, reminiscent of the old series. They did it fairly well, and I enjoyed watching every minute of it, even though the movie was riddled with clichés and an undeniably predictable plot.

Since being a fan of the original series left me with a marshmellowy veil covering my senses, one could say that I am somewhat biased and looking at this movie as a self-contained unit instead of and extension of the old series, it barely holds up. The viewer is presented with an small history lesson in the beginning of the movie, but it’s far from enough to convince the viewer to ignore the cheesy characters and predictable plot.

If you are a fan of the TV series, just watch this movie already – if not, don’t bother.

Score: 7/10 (Good)

The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)

I have finally taken the time to watch The Place Beyond the Pines (2012). The plot itself seems quite straight-forward at first glance, but what makes this movie unique is the way three separate stories are connected in sequence, yet intertwined at the same time.

A motorcycle stunt rider considers committing a crime in order to provide for his wife and child, an act that puts him on a collision course with a cop-turned-politician.

The movie starts on an excellent note with Ryan Gosling doing what he does best. It loses some momentum in the middle though, and continues to dwindle as the movie progresses. The characters don’t really evolve during the story and they have a couple of questionable motivators12.

I would have preferred a greater focus on the first part and further developed the motorcycle riding and the life of crime with Goslings life spiraling further down the drain, and perhaps even leave the other parts out.

Score: 8/10 (Great)

  1. Why did he have to find a way to provide money to his son? They seemed to manage just fine without his intervention. 

  2. Why would robbing a bank be the first alternative when finding a way to make money? 

Heartbleed Status

Heartbleed is the name of a recently disclosed vulnerability in the widely used security software called OpenSSL, which is used for securing web communications.

What makes Heartbleed so venerable is the way it stays completely undetectable and is very easy to exploit. Cloudflare posted a challenge for people to extract the private key from their intentionally vulnerable server, and it was just a matter of time before someone managed to break it.

What makes this possible is the ability to send a malformed request to a TLS extension called heartbeat, which makes the server respond with arbitrary memory data up to 64k. It can contain anything, such as user passwords and even the private keys used to secure the connection in the first place.

xkcd provides probably the simplest way of explaining what the Heartbleed is all about in xkcd 1354.

If you are not running your own site, you won’t have to bother with patching the software and issuing new certificates. You will however need to change your password on affected sites, and Mashable provides a list of popular sites and their current status.

Bruce Schneier writes about Heartbleed and his post contain links for further reading and discussions and is well worth a browse.

on security, tech, productivity and motorcycles