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Web Development Reading List #180: DNS Over HTTPS, HAProxy Performance, And Decentralized AI

We all have fears and doubts. It’s not different for you than for me. Over the last weeks, “well-known” people on Twitter started to share mistakes they made in life or their careers. I think it’s very helpful to read that we all make mistakes.

We all have to learn and improve, and people who are on a stage at an event for the 100th time are still known to be extremely nervous. Let’s realign our views, our expectations and, instead of being afraid of making mistakes, try to improve our knowledge and let others learn from the things that didn’t go as expected.

Further Reading on SmashingMag: Link

Concept & Design Link

Using React to write Sketch files? React-sketchapp8 makes it possible. (Image credit9)

Tools & Workflows Link

  • Caddy, an HTTP/2 server that has automatic HTTPS built in, was released in version 0.1010 and brings man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack detection and HTTP/2 Server Push.
  • Kenneth Auchenberg published a new tool called “Remote Debug iOS WebKit Adapter11.” It lets you debug Safari and other WebViews remotely12 on iOS via Developer Tools in Chrome, Firefox, and even in Microsoft’s VS Code.
  • secureoperator13 is a proxy for DNS that uses Google’s DNS over HTTPS14 technology. A nice experiment that brings security to a still weak bridge. And while technologies to add security to the DNS do already exist (DANE and DNSSEC, for example), they’re not as widespread and not free of weak points. However, using DNS via Google also means trusting a third party that could intercept the requests at any time. One thing is for certain, according to their privacy policy15, they do store logs with your IP address and other information.
  • Due to its improvements over MySQL and independence from Oracle, MariaDB is getting lots of traction at the moment. However, there are certain differences in how MariaDB/MySQL and PostgreSQL handle data16. If you take a closer look, you’ll notice that running into weird miscalculations or errors is much more likely with MariaDB/MySQL while PostgreSQL will return a strict fail if a value doesn’t match a field type.

Security Link

  • Clémentine Maurice and other researchers found a way to steal data from the CPU cache shared by two Virtual Machines17. This was demonstrated on Amazon Web Services but affects all Virtual Machine-based environments. Clear evidence that we still have little idea of how secure or insecure cloud environments actually are.

Privacy Link

  • Amazon announced “Echo Look”, an improved Alexa device that does not only listen to a room’s activity but also has a camera18 to see what’s happening. The purpose? To give you a style check. And as you would expect from Amazon, they say they store the captured data for an indefinite amount of time in their cloud. I bet that a lot of people will buy this device despite of this, even those who claim to care about their privacy.

Web Performance Link

HTML & SVG Link font choices21 provides valuable insights into how they reconsidered their long-established font choices22 to improve readability. (Image credit: Cătălin Bridinel23)

JavaScript Link

Going Beyond… Link

  • Jonathan Taplin wrote an essay about the tech moguls dominating the free market today25 and why it’s important that we as consumers are aware of the huge influence monopolies have not only on our lives but on politics, too.
  • The outdoor clothing manufacturer Patagonia started to sell used clothing for little money26. An unusual move for such a company as it undermines its traditional business model of selling new clothes.
  • Iterating on their already existing, centralized AI technology, Google researchers shared their vision of federated machine learning27. This basically means that every Google device will contribute to the training data by locally processing the information — a much more efficient and less costly approach for Google. The technology is already being tested on Android via Google’s software keyboard. Let’s see how this will work out when it comes to dealing with fake news, spam content or violence promotion in Google’s search results.
  • Mastodon is a relatively new social microblogging network, aiming to replace Twitter. It uses a federated approach, which means everyone can create an instance that shares data with other instances. But it’s not as easy as one would initially think. By providing an instance, you suddenly become responsible for the content of other people, which can be a pretty nasty experience as this story shows28.

And with that, I’ll close for this week. If you like what I write each week, please support me with a donation29 or share this resource with other people. You can learn more about the costs of the project here30. It’s available via email, RSS and online.

— Anselm

Footnotes Link

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is a freelance front-end developer who cares about sustainable front-end experiences and ethical choices in life. He writes the WDRL, and is co-founder of the event platform Colloq.

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    Like you, I have a keen interest in technology’s evergrowing impact on society, so I gobble up stories like the NYTimes article on Google that you linked. Same goes for your comments on Amazon Echo (for the life of me, i cannot understand what real purpose it serves & don’t even get me started on their Button, jesus). But then you mentioned Mastadon—my first time reading of it—and linked me to a Medium article that is indicative of the content provided by that platform: hollow, without depth, and utterly worthless in enhancing my understanding of anything. Maybe it got the conversation started, but it didn’t really lead anywhere.

    But I’m just griping because I yearn for real analysis and hate how survival of those providing content on Google’s information superhighway has left standing those who push out duplicative click bait. I otherwise love the well-rounded foundation for your weekly posts.


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