A Case For Native Smart Card Support in Browsers

February 22, 2017

A smart card is a device that holds a private key securely without letting it out of its storage. The chip on your credit card is a “smart card” (yup, terminology is ambiguous – the card and the chip are interchangeably called “smart card”). There are smaller USB-pluggable hardware readers that only hold the chip […]

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Computer Science Concepts That Non-Technical People Should Know

February 12, 2017

Sometimes it happens that people speak different languages. Even when speaking the same language. People have their own professional specifics. Biologist may see the world as the way a cell work, cosmologist may see relationships between people as attraction between planets. And as with languages different professional experiences give you a useful way of conceptualizing […]

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Why I Chose to Be a Government Advisor

January 22, 2017

A year and a half ago I agreed to become advisor in the cabinet of the deputy primer minister of my country (Bulgaria). It might have looked like a bizarre career move, given that at the time I was a well positioned and well paid contractor (software engineer), working with modern technologies (Scala, Riak, AWS) […]

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Forget ISO-8859-1

January 16, 2017

UTF-8 was first presented in 1993. One would assume that 24 years is enough to time for it to become ubiquitous, especially given that the Internet is global. ASCII doesn’t even cover French letters, not to mention Cyrillic or Devanagari (the Hindi script). That’s why ASCII was replaced by ISO-8859-1, which kind of covers most […]

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Anemic Objects Are OK

December 25, 2016

I thought for a while that object-oriented purism has died off. But it hasn’t – every now and then there’s an article that tries to tell us how evil setters and getters are, how bad (Java) annotations are, and how horrible and anti-object-oriented the anemic data model is (when functionality-only services act upon data-only objects) […]

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Amend Your Contract To Allow For Side Projects

December 14, 2016

The other day Joel Spolsky blogged a wonderful overview of the copyright issues with software companies in terms of its employees. The bottom line is: most companies have an explicit clause in their contracts which states that all intellectual property created by a developer is owned by the employer. This is needed, because the default […]

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Progress in Electronic Governance [talk]

December 2, 2016

I’ve been an advisor to the depury prime minister of Bulgaria for the past year and a half. And on this year’s OpenFest conference I tried to report on what we’ve achieved. It is not that much and there are no visible results, which is a bit disappointing, but we (a small motivated team) believe […]

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Short DNS Record TTL And Centralization Are Serious Risks For The Internet

October 22, 2016

Yesterday Dyn, a DNS-provider, went down after a massive DDoS. That led to many popular websites being inaccessible, including twitter, LinkedIn, eBay and others. The internet seemed to be “crawling on its knees”. We’ll probably read an interesting post-mortem from Dyn, but why did that happen? First, DDoS capacity is increasing, using insecure and infected […]

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The Broken Scientific Publishing Model and My Attempt to Improve It

October 12, 2016

I’ll begin this post with a rant about the state of scientific publishing, then review the technology “disruption” landscape and offer a partial improvement that I developed (source). Scientific publishing is quite important – all of science is based on previously confirmed “science”, so knowing what the rest of the scientific community has done or […]

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I Stopped Contributing To Stackoverflow, But It’s Not Declining

September 26, 2016

“The decline of Stackoverflow” is now trending on reddit, and I started this post as a comment in the thread, but it got too long. I’m in the 0.01% (which means rank #34) but I haven’t contributed almost anything in the past 4 years. Why I stopped is maybe part of the explanation why “the […]

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