Fergus In London

The musings of a man with a keyboard and an internet connection.


2019-04-08 2 min read Fergus

So it’s that time of year again; one where I inevitably decide to change my blog, in the vein hope that this time I wont neglect it, this time I wont get embarrassed about the lack of activity, this time will be different! Well, we’ll see how that turns out.. In the mean time however*, you may notice a couple of changes:

In depth articles are not here.

Nope. If any post has a reading time of greater then 10minutes, then I’ve made a mistake!

This blog is going to be limited to quite short posts; longer posts - i.e design documents and technical guidance - are now over at articles.fergus.london. This is largely because I found myself with upwards of 50,000 unpublished words: which obviously doesn’t help with the motivation to keep a blog active..

Automated workflow via Hugo

In an another attempt at making sure this is actually updated a bit more, I’ve switched entirely to hugo, with deployment done courtesy of a Gitlab CI pipeline.

I do nearly all of my writing in Markdown as it is, so using anything else seemed like a needless step.

*Note: Right now there’s a few ongoing issues that may distract me, or prevent me from going in to too much detail about work/personal circumstances; I’m limited in what I can actually say at the moment - but all will likely be explained over the course of the next few weeks and/or months.

Data Transformations for APIs via Struct Composition in Golang

2019-03-11 8 min read Fergus

I enjoy writing Go. It lacks the magic and obfuscation present in other languages, whilst possessing an intuitive syntax that still allows the concise expression of complex ideas. It’s awesome.

What’s less awesome, unfortunately, is that the flexibility of the language often leads to it’s simplicity being overlooked; and this is no more apparent than in data transformation layers. If you find yourself regularly writing convulated transformers, then there’s a good chance that you’re not actually understanding the language properly.

And what’s the point in writing Go if you’re simply going to write Java/C#/PHP?

Continue reading

Go Generate: Quick, Easy, and oh so Powerful

2019-02-24 4 min read Fergus
If you’ve had the misfortune of talking to me about development over the past year, you may well have noticed me evangelising about Go. It’s true: I’ve become guilty of something I previously mocked colleagues for. Perhaps it’s because the book “The Go Programming Language” reminds me of the first ever programming book I picked up - “The C Programming Language” - when I was around 13? Maybe it’s the simplicity and distinct lack of “magic” that the language has? Continue reading

Kial mi lernas Esperanton, kaj kiel?

2018-11-29 4 min read Fergus
I’ve never learnt any languages (not those ones!) other than English, and this has often felt a bit embarrassing. I’ve definitely flirted with various languages - I did a Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) course when I was a teenager, I tried to learn Swedish when I was spending time working outside Malmö, I tinkered with German on Duolingo before, and at one point I even learnt the Cyrillic alphabet in preperation of giving Russian a go… Continue reading

Book Review: "Weapons of Math Destruction", by Cathy O'Neil

2018-10-21 6 min read Fergus
I recently finished reading “Weapons of Math Destruction” by Cathy O’Neil, and continuing my quest to not only read more - but to also actually digest the content - here’s another book review! Cathy O’Neil sounds like a fascinating person, with quite a surprising career path; upon leaving academia she found herself working as a Quantitive Analyst at a hedge fund, and from this privileged position she was able to witness the effects of the 2008 financial crisis first hand, subsequently she changed allegiances and even found herself part of the Occupy movement. Continue reading

Book Review: 'Stasiland' and 'Red Notice'

2018-10-17 3 min read Fergus
This post is going to be a bit different; it’s not about tech, it’s not about security, and it’s not even about health - it’s about books; or more specifically, it’s a book review. In an attempt to fix some issues with my sleep pattern lately, I’ve been avoiding screen time of an evening - and this has led to me rekindling my love of books. As such, I’ve recently finished two of the best books I think I’ve read in years, books which on the surface may sound similar, but in reality portray entirely different messages. Continue reading

You can help Europol fight Child Sexual Exploitation.

2018-08-15 2 min read Fergus
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) affects the youngest and most vulnerable in society; with risk factors including emotional instability, social isolation, poverty and prior histories of abuse, it’s not difficult to imagine how cases can often go undetected. Whilst it’s easy to think that the problem of CSE is distant from the UK, this is sadly incorrect; and National Crime Agency figures suggest that around 560 children were trafficked in to the UK for Sexual Exploitation last year, whilst over 2,400 children were abused at the hands of gangs and organised groups during 2010. Continue reading

You should probably learn how Git works.

2018-07-17 8 min read Fergus
Imagine a carpenter who couldn’t use a chisel, or a plumber who didn’t understand piping. A pretty ludicrous thought, right? After all, those are key parts of the job. In a rather familiar story though, Software Development breaks the norms.. Strap yourselves in, this could be a long one. One of the most vital tools in a Developer’s toolkit is source control, and in much (most?) of the industry this means Git. Continue reading

Road to Recovery: A healthy body is a healthy mind.

2018-06-04 4 min read Fergus
I’ve recently shared my own battles with mental illness, and I also set the scene of a transformative journey that was just beginning. As a progression, I’d like to share some of the techniques and tools I’ve been utilising as I traverse that journey. Today I’d like to share with you some of the physical changes I’ve made. It’s common knowledge that a healthy body enables a healthy mind, and the effect that exercise has on mental health is well documented. Continue reading

Docker multi-stage builds are awesome.

2018-05-23 3 min read Fergus
I have a new found love of Docker; despite my early frustrations with CoreOS (as it was) in 2015, I have come to love the simplicity and encapsulation that containers provide. Run a single command and whoosh - you now have a completely functional unit that runs whichever package you require, and it’s nice and isolated too: awesome! In contrast though, I have no love for build processes: you’re always one step away from dependency hell, small environmental issues can prove to be show-stoppers, and you end up polluting your development or build environment with various tools and libraries. Continue reading
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