23 MUST READ TECH STORIES – Hacker Noon

Check out our new podcast: “Ending The Crypto Winter with Garry Tan and Brett Gibson of Initialized Capital” (who recently raised a $225M fund). This Hacker Noon podcast would not be possible without Datadog. Listen on iTunes, Google Podcast, or watch the interview on YouTube.

Hey, my thought of the week: get out and vote.

It’s your right to vote or not vote, but many people have fought for you to have that right and many people around the world are unsuccessfully fighting for their own right to vote right now. If you don’t know the race or the issue, turn to sites like ballotpedia, vote.gov, or just search the candidates names in Youtube and watch them talk. You got opinions — it won’t take long for them to become votes. Anyhow, I think this election is important but that’s not what you signed up.

What you signed up for was the Hacker Noon — here are the 23 MUST READ TECH STORIES this week:

Artificial Intelligence

Getting started with AI? Start here by Cassie Kozyrkov [18 min read]. Many teams try to start an applied AI project by diving into algorithms and data before figuring out desired outputs and objectives. Unfortunately, that’s like raising a puppy in a New York City apartment for a few years, then being surprised that it can’t herd sheep for you.

20 top lawyers were beaten by legal AI. Here are their surprising responses by Jonathan Marciano [6 min read]. The study, carried out with leading legal academics and experts, saw the LawGeex AI achieve an average 94% accuracy rate, higher than the lawyers who achieved an average rate of 85%. It took the lawyers an average of 92 minutes to complete the NDA issue spotting, compared to 26 seconds for the LawGeex AI. The longest time taken by a lawyer to complete the test was 156 minutes, and the shortest time was 51 minutes.

Crypto

Bitcoin at 10 by Beautyon [13 min read]. Bitcoin was it. Bitcoin is what I had been waiting for. Bitcoin put together all of the battle-hardened software techniques, peer to peer architecture from file sharing, sound monetary theory from the Austrian School, a predictable emission curve, balanced adversarial incentives and infallible cryptography in a tour de force of techniques to create a single brilliant and robust system that required only user participation at any level to be a success.

Post-Bitcoin-Maximalism: A call for embracing the currency competition by Ferdous Bhai. In early-2013, when I learned about Bitcoin, I dropped everything else I was doing and focused on building on, advocating for, and acquiring Bitcoin. This still continues to be the case today, but my stance on “Bitcoin maximalism” has changed in light of lessons I’ve learned along the way. Important to note here, I do not favor any particular alternative to Bitcoin. I simply do not think that every other alternative to Bitcoin are scams, nor do I think that the founders and the community of these competing projects are motivated only by greed or ill intentions. In addition, I think that the altcoins serve an important role today, as we will explore in this post.

What Will It Take for Crypto to Boom Again? by Daniel Jeffries [17 min read]. A bubble is a bubble and nothing can change basic physics. What goes up must come down. But you were right too. Crypto will change the world. It’s just going to take longer than you expected. And nothing is ever all good or all bad. The dream of a brand new world where smart contracts create objectively fair systems is a pipe dream and it always will be because people still need to write those smart contracts and those people will always be flawed. You can count on three things in life: Death, taxes and people doing the absolute dumbest and worst things in the name of truth and light. You can’t correct for the human element no matter how hard you try.

Dapps

The State of Dapp Development — Blockchain Summer 2018 by Elie Steinbock. The decentralised applications (dapp) landscape has been growing steadily over the past year. The recent launch of EOS and continued work to scale Ethereum are reasons for developers to be excited in the year ahead. This post will cover the current state of dapp development and some of the improvements we can expect to see over the next year. It will be largely focused on Ethereum and EOS based dapps since these two blockchains are the most popular platforms to build on today. The most popular dapps fall into the following categories: (1) Games/Collectibles, (2) Exchanges, (3) Gambling, (4) Other.

Diversity

I am not diversity by Angela Zhang [5 min read]. As a female software engineer, I am counted in most diversity statistics and involved in many diversity initiatives. I’ve been to Grace Hopper for the last 5 years, including giving a tech talk last year on web performance. I was a mentor for Women Who Code, teaching algorithms and coding weekly to women entering the tech industry. I am literally on this list of women engineers even though I have no idea how I got added in the first place. Here’s a surprise for you: I am not that diverse.

Education

Everything I Knew About Reading Was Wrong by Johnny [13 min read]. I realized this about a year ago. All those rules I took for granted were holding me back. Once I let go, I rediscovered the joy in reading — something I haven’t felt since I was a teenager, skipping classes to read Nietzsche or Albert Camus. It all started with a podcast. It wasn’t even my insight. It was one of those rare occasions where you take someone’s advice, apply it to your life — and the results are instant and overwhelming. The guest was Naval Ravikant. I’ve listened to this episode multiple times, but this time I was ready to get the message.

Six Skills Every Developer Should Have Besides Coding Skills by Barri Sambaris [8 min read]. A programmer’s life, contrary to public beliefs and movies does not just involve sitting and staring all day at the computer with a headphone. It is not about how fast they can type rapidly on a keyboard while chewing a burger. Developers are more than cavemen and nerds. They are not loners in the basement. Developers have to deal with clients, bosses, management, investors, shareholders, fellow colleagues and themselves. It is therefore imperative that a developer is well rounded and armed with other skills other than coding skills.

Top Five Kotlin Programming Courses for Java and Android Programmers by javinpaul [7 min read] This is the year to learn Kotlin! I expect Kotlin to surpass Java for Android development in a few years because of its distinguished position as the official language for Android development.

How We Dress

Let’s Talk About Dress Codes and Clothes by Erik P.M. Vermeulen. “The digital transformation is clearly visible in this room.” This was the opening statement of one of the speakers at a digital transformation event I attended recently. For effect, he paused as the audience looked around struggling to find who or what he was referring to. “Nobody is wearing a suit.” The response was interesting; awkward laughter as the audience couldn’t tell whether he was joking or not.

Javascript

3 JavaScript Performance Mistakes You Should Stop Doing by Yotam Kadishay [4 min read]. What if I told you everything you knew was a lie, what will happen if you learn some of the key features our beloved ECMAScript have published over the recent years, are actually dangerous performance traps, sugar coated in a slick looking one line callback functional code? This story starts a few years ago, back in the naive days of ES5…

Conditional JavaScript for Experts by Glad Chinda [8 min read]. Conditionals are a very important aspect of the syntax of every programming language. If you have been programming for sometime in any of the popular languages, you should already be familiar with the if..elif..else or switch conditional statements. They are very useful for making decisions in programs.

Linux

Why Linux Developers Should Use GitPrompt by Christer Enfors [3 min read]. For the past 23 years, I’ve been a Linux developer (I started with Linux version 1.2.1). I live in the command prompt. Because of that, I want the prompt itself to look nice, and to provide useful information at a glance. Therefore, I wrote a script called gitprompt, which customizes the prompt. I’ve been using it at work for a while, and a number of my coworkers noticed it and asked for a copy. So since I know there’s at least some amount of interest in it, I’m publishing this brief article about it, in case you want to try it out for yourself.

Music

The Programming Language of Music by Rohan Arthur. TL;DR: music and software, similar approaches; if you appreciate one, then there’s a real good chance that you might appreciate the other. Also, a bit of nerd-ing about the pentatonic scale. If you know music theory, I suggest you skip this one. ☺

Python

Why you should use pyenv + Pipenv for your Python projects by Daniel van Flymen [5 min read]. The missing guide for setting up a great local development workflow for your Python projects. This is an opinionated way of developing with Python locally. You’ve probably discovered that it’s a pain in the ass to manage different projects with dependencies targeting different Python versions on your local machine.

React

A different way to manage state in React by David Gilbertson [13 min read]. Question: why is React great? Answer: because it changed how we think about applications. We now write apps by defining: (1) “when the data looks like A, the app should look like B”, and (2) “when the user does X, change the data like Y”. We no longer have to write super brittle code like: “when the user does X, update the app to look like B”, which was invariably fiddly because you didn’t necessarily know what the previous state was. And whaddaya know, this meant writing apps became so, so much faster. And more pleasant to boot. At least once a week I find myself whispering into my laptop’s microphone I love you React.

Security

Five Best Programming Languages to Learn for Cyber Security by Dr. Michael J. Garbade. Becoming successful as a cyber security expert requires diverse skills. An all-round professional can confidently implement and monitor security measures that guard computer systems against attacks and unauthorized access. Henrique, a Brazil-based Python expert who teaches people how to create applications using the language, emphasizes that “besides keeping abreast with the latest happenings in the cyber security field, you also need to be acquainted with various programming languages.”

The Dark Side of the Chain: Blockchain Viruses and Decentralized Autonomous Crime Organizations by Itai Damti. How twisted can things get when an anonymous piece of code harms people but can’t be stopped? Two cinematic masterpieces offer us devastating answers and lots of food for thought: Dr. Strangelove (1965). & Black Mirror S03 E03 (2016). Shut Up And Dance

Software Development

Top 12 Things That Destroy Developer Productivity by John Lafleur [8 min read]. No one expects a programmer to get work done without access to a computer, but there are many companies that expect programmers to get work done without access to their mind. This is equally unrealistic. So let’s deep dive into our list of 12 things that prevent your developers from getting “into the zone” and being productive. I will try to prioritize this list from most to least impactful. If you’re wondering if all this is worth the investment, just consider the developer’s salaries. Even 10% more productivity is a LOT!

Space

Why Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Are A National Security Risk And Also An Opportunity For Progress by Luis Elizondo [5 min read]. A career’s worth of intelligence work for the U.S. Government has taught me one key lesson: national security is a lot like playing a game of chess. You have to anticipate your opponent’s every move in order to remain one step ahead. Disclosing your strategy will be used against you. But if you recognize certain opportunities, you can win the match.

Tokens

Money for Nothing and Tokens for Free by Matt Lockyer [11 min read]. Many tokens issued for blockchain projects are worthless. Insufficient value capture mechanisms, haphazard go to market strategies and complicated onboarding processes plague the blockchain ecosystem. The immaturity of the technology ecosystem and a lack of cultural motivations to adopt decentralized technologies are primary drivers. The latest round of speculation on tokens and cryptocurrencies has ended, without crossing the chasm into mainstream adoption of decentralized applications and services. For most projects, there was no onboarding, no users, no earnings and absolutely nothing to hold capital or active users within their token economy.

The Jury is still out on the realities of STOs. Here is why: by Neyma Jahan [11 min read]. The idea behind a security token or STO is that we are digitizing assets and putting them into a liquid format that makes them accessible to people and entities that previously could not have had access to them. A basic example would be if I created say, an ERC-20 contract and issued 100 Unification Equity Tokens (UNDe) thus digitizing the equity for Unificationinto 100 tokens. Each representing ownership of 1% of the company. How these tokens can be used is a long discussion of possibilities (voting rights, board seats, dividends, etc.), but for now let’s just look at the mechanics.

Until next time, don’t take the realities of the world for granted.

Kind Regards,

David Smooke

P.S. Get out your headphones and tune in to The Hacker Noon Podcast, where Garry Tan says things like,“There is too much money chasing too few deals, too few ideas, and too few good people. That’s insane to me. Definitely there’s too much money, but an infinite number of incredibly smart people. If you’re paying attention to Hacker News and Hacker Noon and you’re reading this stuff — this is the stuff I read when I was working for someone else’s startup. You and I are not different, we’re the same.” Rate 5 stars on iTunes to help others find this pod.

P.P.S. Read Hacker Noon’s Latest Tech Stories.

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