Fergus In London

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

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

Finding Balance in the Quest for Privacy

2018-04-16 3 min read Fergus
Privacy is incredibly important to me. It’s what stops bad guys from being able to commit identity fraud. It’s what stops dictatorships from eliminating dissent, and allows whistleblowers to stand against corruption. It’s the concept that allows people to live a life free of persecution for their religions, their sexualities, or even their literary preferences. Alas, there’s a murkier side to privacy; the side that allows the bad guys to do their thing, the one that covers up horrific abuses, and cloaks abhorrent plots to disrupt, kill and maim. Continue reading

OAuth 101: The stuff you actually need to know

2018-03-27 7 min read Fergus
I feel the pain of anyone working with OAuth for the first time: with an RFC (6749) of 75 pages - written in a niche vernacular of “tokens”, “grants”, and “scopes” - it can seem quite daunting when you’re first introduced to it. The good news is that if you can remember a few simple principles, it becomes quite a simple technology to work with. The even better news? Most of these principles are pretty much common sense, like number one… Continue reading

Fedora Linux on a MacBook Air. Easy.

2018-03-14 5 min read Fergus
I’ve previously written about going over to Linux full-time, and abandoning my aged Macbook Air for everything other than simple admin tasks - letters, spreadsheets, and the like. Since then I’ve also decided to go for Linux - in this case Fedora - on the Macbook Air too.. and it was quite easy. In the past 6 months or so Apple has been the subject of numerous concerning new stories - stories that may boil down to either gross QA failures, or gross security failures… either way, it doesn’t inspire confidence! Continue reading

Simplest static-site workflow known to man

2018-02-19 3 min read Fergus
This weekend I managed to tick quite a hefty task off of my to-do list: go through 3 months of drafts on this blog, or around 15 posts. Whilst doing so, I decided that I no longer wanted my politics/current affairs musings to be mixed in with my technical pieces. (This was really for no reason other than to reduce the signal-to-noise ratio, and make things seem a bit more… “tidy”. Continue reading

Pre-empting Tech Burn-Out and "Inconsequential Bullshit"

2018-01-14 5 min read Fergus
The term “burning out” is seemingly an every day one in some tech circles; with most developers that have been in the industry for more than a couple of years having a personal story of times where things have just been too much. Although the phenomenon would appear to be staggeringly (and disappointingly) common, there stills seems to be a lack of understanding over the basics - i.e the “how, why, and when”. Continue reading

Over-engineering 101: Pimping your home network

2017-12-28 5 min read Fergus
Doesn’t it seem bizarre that in a world where home-offices are commonplace, and the concept of remote working is considered quite normal, that we don’t pay more attention to the infrastructure of our home network? No? That’s fine, maybe I just wanted an excuse to do something cool over Christmas. Objectives I had a few days spare, and I wanted to iron out a few frustrations that I’ve been having lately. Continue reading

RFC2119, do you speak it?

2017-12-18 4 min read Fergus
As a developer you should not only be familiar with Request For Comments, or RFCs, but capable of reading them and understanding the concepts they describe. There’s also a lot to love with them: their initials line up perfectly on a standard QWERTY keyboard (seriously, take a peek!), and they detail some of the greatest technical advances of the last few decades. One RFC in particular - RFC 2119 - is arguably of particular importance though; it details the concept of ‘requirement levels” that are used in many many subsequent RFCs. Continue reading

Vim for Productivity and Profit

2017-10-16 5 min read Fergus
If retro mailing list flame-wars taught us anything, it’s that the advent of the personal computer provided mankind with a great unanswered question. A question that should rightly take it’s place amongst those other great questions such as “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”, or “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”. That question is of course, “emacs or vim? Continue reading

Retiring my MacBook: why can't Linux break the Developers' love affair with Apple?

2017-10-04 4 min read Fergus
Today I’ve officially retired my MacBook: client data has been wiped, development tools removed, and SSH keys migrated. From now on my trusty old MacBook will be taking it easy; no longer will it need to worry about the likes of compilers and build systems. For the past three years I’ve used a MacBook Air as my everyday laptop - I initially bought it for personal use, but quickly became quite impressed with how well it coped with everything I threw at it. Continue reading
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