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How to think like a hacker
Contrary to the popular belief, hackers are not always the people who breach website security and steal personal data. The word also refers to the software developers who build revolutionary software by putting together some components in such a way that nobody thought of before. This is why when you hear somebody referring to Mark Zuckerberg as a hacker, this doesn't necessarily mean that he is out there to steal your data, as many assume. What it means in the context is that he has built the most successful social media network in the world from his university dorms.
What is more interesting, however, is that the hackers think in a particular way and this way of thinking is not only applicable to technology. It can be applied anywhere. Regardless of who you are and what you do, if you learn to think like a hacker, the quality of your life will improve significantly.
This mode of thinking is not exclusively present in those who are traditionally referred to as hackers. Some of the best scientists, artists and other creative individuals have it too. And, at its base, it is quite simple. It is all about thinking out of the box and not accepting the status quo. This is the core skill that needs to be developed before anything else if one aspires to become a hacker or learn to think like one. This way of thinking is what allows the hackers to use various things for something other than their intended purpose. The rest of the equation, the specialist skills, are much easier to learn.
One human trait that slows down humanity's progress
There is one thing in the IT industry that happens often, yet makes no sense. When a given project is not progressing at the pace it was planned to, quite often this has nothing to do with how efficient the participants of the project are. More often than not, this is due to underestimation of the effort required at the beginning of the project. In such case, unless there are clear indicators that there are other factors affecting the speed of the delivery, there is little that can be done to improve it.
Unfortunately, this is not how some project managers think. In some teams, when certain deadlines aren't met, the measures that are introduced from the above are increase in length and frequency of meetings and the requirement on each team member to write all of their tasks into a weekly, or sometimes even daily, time report. Of course, as stretched as the team members already are, they can now spend even less time doing the actual project work. So do the managers themselves. After all, they are the ones who have to read all of those time reports. After these measures are implemented, the progress usually slows down even further.
The practice is obviously irrational, so why is it so widespread? The answer to this is simple. These seemingly irrational actions are driven by a deeply ingrained human trait:
The irresistible urge to take action when things aren't fully satisfactory, regardless of whether any action is appropriate in a given situation or not
See everything that Facebook and Google know about you
Not very long ago, Facebook has, once again, ended up in the middle of controversy related to personal data of its users. Although many people were outraged, nobody was surprised. After all, it wasn't the first time a global tech giant compromised privacy of those who entrusted their data to it.
But if you do use Facebook, how would you know what the company knows about you? Quite conveniently, the company itself has provided its users with tools that will enable them to do exactly that. So did another tech giant, Google.
Want to know everything that Facebook and Google know about you? If you do, read on. Here is the set of links that will allow you to view or download all of your data. You will probably be surprised.
How society conditions you for mediocrity
Why, despite a strong economy and virtually unlimited opportunities, only a small number of people in developed countries live the life that they are fully satisfied with? There are many reasons for this and, sometimes, there are individual circumstances beyond people's control that get in people's way. However, there is one key reason why most of the people are not achieving what they personally would define as success: the society deliberately conditions people for mediocrity.
This is not just another conspiracy theory. As you will see, there are plenty of observable and demonstrable facts which suggest that the society indeed conditions people for mediocrity, or is at least trying to. There are many things going on in the society which are widespread and socially acceptable that either provide no benefit to people who do them or even make their lives worse. Likewise, there are things that, despite not causing any harm to anyone, aren't considered to be socially acceptable, despite the fact that practicing those can have a great positive effect on one's life.
Before I continue, I need to make an important statement: there is, actually, nothing wrong with being mediocre. If you are living an ordinary life and are fully satisfied with it, there is no need to change anything in your life. This article is not aimed at you, although you may still want to read it out of interest. However, if you, just like me, have a nagging feeling that you are not living up to your full potential, read on.
Why you should care about functional programming
While releasing version 15.7 update to Visual Studio IDE, Microsoft has announced that its main functional language, F#, has been given a whole new set of cutting edge features and tooling, far better than anything available in any other of its popular languages. This has got the software development community excited and the official Visual Studio Magazine article where the announcement was made soon became one of the most visited pages on the magazine's website. This is yet another proof that there is an interest in functional programming.
However, there are some very good and pragmatic reasons why functional languages are worth learning. Let's dive into them.
What the heck is WebAssembly
Desktop apps are not dead. Here is why
Many people entering a software development career are often told to focus on web applications over desktop ones. Apparently, many believe that desktop apps are a dying technology. While it is true that certain business functionality that was, in the past, performed by desktop apps is now commonly performed by hosted browser-based web apps, there are still many use cases for desktop apps and none of them are going away any time soon.
It is extremely difficult to imagine your life without desktop apps. Anything that is actually installed on a full-sized computer is one of them. Yes, web apps can do many things, but the browser that is needed to access them is, itself, a desktop app. Any integrated development environment (IDE) that programmers use to build software is a desktop app, even when it's only ever used to write code for the web. There are countless of other examples that you can find if you'll think about it.
Of course, web apps do have distinct advantages over desktop apps in some areas. However, it is the other way round in some other areas. So, if you are undecided which way to take your programming career, let's have a look at the pros and cons of both technologies.
How to play sound on .NET Core
.NET Core certainly came a long way since Visual Studio 2017 was first release. It is now at the stage where the framework itself and the technologies that support it are mature enough to be used in production. However, although .NET Core can be deployed on any of the most widely-used operating systems and any CPU architecture that supports those, the framework is still pretty bare-bone compared to it's predecessor, .NET Framework.
Many things that .NET Framework can do are very Windows-specific with no platform-independent equivalent, therefore .NET Core does not natively support those. One of such functionalities is the ability to play sound from the code. With .NET Framework, you have native classes that support it, such as SoundPlayer from System.Media namespace and third-party NuGet packages, such as NAudio. Neither of these are available in .NET Core and, if you browse NuGet repository for sound libraries compatible with .NET Core, you'll soon realise that there is nothing that will enable you to play sound from the code in a straight-forward manner. At best, you can download some library that acts as a wrapper around some other assembly that needs to be compiled specifically for a particular operating system or a specific CPU architecture. As well as potentially not being available for a particular type of a machine, most of such libraries have a strictly enforced paid-for license.
So, how can .NET Core play sound then? The answer is that it can't. However, Node.js can! The good news is, however, that with NodeServices library officially provided for ASP.NET Core by Microsoft, you can launch Node.js apps from your .NET Core code and in a fully interactive manner.
Pocket Spy Sound Recorder
Did you ever have to deal with a toxic boss or harassment at work? Are you tired of dealing with corrupt government officials? Do you need to collect evidence of a crime? Are you an investigative journalist? Do you simply want to be able to record sound at a high professional quality? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then this app is for you.
Pocket Spy Sound Recorder is a hidden sound recording app that allows you to turn your mobile phone or tablet into a powerful listening device, unnoticeable to the people in your surrounding. It is a perfect tool for collecting evidence or investigative journalism. The whole purpose of the app is to secretly record the sound while keeping your device fully usable in the process. The app does not show any annoying adverts and all features of the app are available instantly without any in-app purchases.
Mail My Pics
MailMyPics app can capture several pictures in a batch and send them to a specified email address, transfer them to cloud or share them on social media instantly. This app makes it convenient to share your photos straight after taking them.
Although there are many uses for this app, an important one is the ability to covertly collect evidence if you become a witness of crime or some other wrongdoing. The camera is silent, so you should not worry about being heard taking pictures if you are in a volatile situation. Likewise, the photos can instantly be sent to the specified email address (e.g. police or your close ones), so there is no way for anyone to destroy the evidence, even if they take possession of your device.
Pocket Interest Rate
Do you want a powerful tool to help you make important financial decisions quickly and save you valuable time? Do you get confused by financial jargon related to loans and savings? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then this app is for you!
This inexpensive app is a collection of 6 powerful tools which calculate everything involving interest rates, ranging from time it would take to fully repay a credit card debt to an amount accumulated in a savings account over time.
Microsoft is focusing on artificial intelligence
F# is given a boost in the latest Visual Studio update
"The S@!t Bank" is in a big trouble due to IT glitch
Microsoft makes its own Linux and its own chip
You can run .NET code directly in the browser
Facebook has been involved in some shady practices again
Microsoft will ban you for cussing in a Word document
Anonymous software developers can now be unmasked
A major Windows 10 update is about to be launched
Google recruiter was told to discriminate when hiring
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