I just ran across TopTal (short for "Top Talent"), and thought I'd share it with you all.
In the past I've opined on working from home and my rule of thumb for how to get a job like that is: Hone your craft. Be the best developer you can possibly be. Work on it every day.
But let's say you've done that and now you're an expert at a few things; but the right job is still eluding you. TopTal aims to be a marketplace where expert developers can sign up for full time and part time opportunities for (mostly) remote work; and where companies can go to hire them. It sounds like there are rare occasions where you'll have to fly out and be on-site, but that most companies prefer letting you work remotely. And in general, you're expected to "parachute in" and be productive with their existing team quickly.
I checked, and CFML/ColdFusion is not on their list of technologies. That doesn't mean you couldn't convince them to add it -- there is certainly a demand for ColdFusion talent. But it probably does mean it would be easier to get your foot in the door if you're an expert at something else on their list, too.
I don't have any experience with them -- I'm not a TopTal developer -- so I can't vouch for it or answer any questions. But it does look interesting, and thus, I thought, worth sharing.
Published 2013-11-08 @ 09:26 in
I am not a security guru, but I do know where to find them. I also know good advice when I see it.
For years I've been using 1Password to create long, strong, randomly generated and unique passwords for every website that required one. Things like:
Y69ZZP^MBzC622m=2BkWUu[>8u72[D(>:(T (Which I just generated now for this post). Of course there's no way I'd ever remember that password; but that's kind of the point. By introducing enough entropy (randomness), we make it sufficiently difficult for password crackers to crack our passwords.
It's not helping that 1.9 million people used "123456" as their Adobe account password.
And at the end of the day, I only have to remember one password (get it? 1Password...) - my master password to unlock 1Password. For a while now, that master password was a semi-secure string of upper case and lower case letters, numbers, and punctuation based on the punch line to one of my favorite Dilbert comics. I calculated this based on a custom algorithm that I thought of and can easily remember, that ensures I always have both upper and lower case letters, punctuation, and numbers. I also figured it was pretty safe because it's not an easily obtained fact about me, like my children's names or my birth year, or "123456"... It's "something I know" not "something I am" which makes it harder if I'm being directly targeted.
As it turns out, it's not that secure. I learned this recently by reading a blog post from the 1Password team, which I'd like to direct you to -- that's the point of this blog post.
Toward Better Master Passwords
Basically, after all is said and done, they're advocating for a combination of Diceware words and that semi-secure string based on my favorite Dilbert strip. Here's how it works:
- Roll 5d6 (or 1d6 five times) -- D6 means a 6-sided dice, as pictured here:
- Arrange those numbers in semi-random order
- Since dice tend to go all over the place, I rolled 5d6 into a cardboard box and used them in the order that I read them
- Match the rolled numbers up to the Diceware word list
- If your rolled numbers are 3-6-2-2-4, then your word is:
- Repeat as many times as you like, but generate at least 4 words.
- Replace one of those words with your previous semi-secure string
In my case, one of the words I rolled was a word I wasn't familiar with and that I'm unlikely to remember (let alone remember how to spell)... so I replaced that one with my previous password.
Now, I've introduced a significant amount of entropy into my master password by rolling (at least) 20 dice, and it is still more than just a list of dictionary words separated by spaces because I've replaced one of my words with my custom-algorithm-calculated string.
For the geeks out there (isn't that most of you?) there's a follow-up post based on the familiar XKCD comic, too.
Published 2013-11-05 @ 09:16 in
Extra Life has come and gone once again, and now that I've recovered most of the lost sleep and supplemented the rest with Halloween candy stolen from my kids and leftover energy drinks, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone that made a donation to my campaign and helped spread the word.
Last year my final tally was $762 (with a goal of $512), and this year I increased my goal to $1,024. As of this morning, my 2013 tally is $1,038 (and counting?)...
The generosity of my friends and family never ceases to amaze me. You guys are amazing.
This year I had help!
Last year I was on my own except the hour or two I spent playing some board games with my wife and kids. This year I ended up with two full-time and one part-time helpers. My brothers drove in (to the Philadelphia area) from Oswego, NY (~6 hours) and Frostburg, MD (3.5 hours), and my oldest son Dylan came down to play his drums while we were playing Rock Band. :)
By the end of the 24th hour, we had played a collection of:
- Portal 2
- Rock Band 3
- Doom (XBLA) on Nightmare difficulty, surprisingly fun!
- Castle Crashers
- Catan Junior (with the kids)
- Original Settlers of Catan
- Catan Cities & Knights
By the end of the night, both Justin and Jared gave in to sleep, but I kept going. On my own, I ended up finishing the single player Portal 2 campaign I had started a few weeks back, and spent the early morning hours putting in more time on my ongoing Dragon Age II campaign.
It was an amazing night packed with take-out food, caffeine, beer, lots of laughs with 2 of my favorite adult people in the world, and somehow, magically, we got a lot of generous people (that's you!) to donate more than $1,000 to charity because of it. I'm still amazed.
Thank you so much.
See you again, same time next year!
Published 2013-11-04 @ 11:49 in
Last call for speakers / topics for cf.Objective() 2014 is right now! The deadline is this Friday -- 2 days from now.
Topic submission and voting this year is being done via Trello, so head over and submit your topic now! Even if you're not submitting a topic, voting is already open! The CAB takes community voting into account when choosing topics, so make sure your voice is heard and vote for your favorite topics.
Need some inspiration for a topic submission? Here's a list of topics where they're "light":
- Mobile (Seriously? I thought mobile ws a thing now. I guess no one is doing anything with mobile devices)
- Sys Admin and Cloud
- Tools (Automation, deployment, integration, IDEs, VC, load testing, etc)
- Caching, Performance, Debugging, Troubleshooting
- Digital Asset Management
- Soft Skills
- Web Sockets
- CF Splendor (Based on existing announcements from Adobe)
- Railo 4
Not Sure You Can Make It?
Did you know that speakers get their hotel room and conference registration comped? After that, you're just paying for flights and food, and it's very possible to attend a conference on a low budget -- depending on the cost of flights from your area.
I just took a cursory glance and it looks like a round trip ticket for direct flights from and back to Philadelphia are in the $400-500 range. Assume $40/day for food (which is eating pretty well, given that the conference provides breakfast and lunch), and you're looking at 4 full days of training and networking for less than $700. Any manager should realize that this is a great deal, and all you've got to do is speak!
Not Sure You're Qualified?
Ask any past presenter of any tech conference: The best way to learn is to teach.
If you've got a topic that you'd like to present, and you know the basics but you're not sure you can master it in time to speak authoritatively, I would encourage you to just dive in head first: Submit a proposal, write up an outline, and learn with the goal of teaching. Last year I presented two topics, neither of which I was prepared for before submitting the proposals. The knowledge that you have to teach the subject really changes the way you learn. I promise you, it takes a lot of time to prep for a presentation, but it's not hard work.
See You There!
I've already submitted a topic and I'm actively seeking out topics for which I'll vote. I hope to see you in Minneapolis in May!
Published 2013-10-30 @ 09:17 in