Newsletter: February 1, 2021
Welcome Back: Plain Text Talk & More
We hope you have had a good new year, and have survived your exams. Over the next term we have some great things to offer you, starting with an exciting selection of speakers.
Plain Text - A talk by Dylan Beattie
Coming up tomorrow (2nd of February) at 7pm on Zoom we have a talk from Dylan Beattie on plain text.
Software is complicated. Machine learning, microservice architectures, message queues... every few months there's another revolutionary idea to consider, another framework to learn. And underneath so many of these amazing ideas and abstractions is text. When you work in software, you spend your life working with text. Some of those text files are source code, some are configuration files, some of them are documentation. Editors, revision control systems, programming languages - everything from C# and HTML to Git and VS Code is based on the idea of "plain text files". But... what if I told you there's no such thing?
When we say something is a "plain text file", we're relying on a huge number of assumptions - about operating systems, editors, file formats, language, culture, history... and, most of the time, that's OK. But when it goes wrong, "plain text" can lead to some of the weirdest bugs you've ever seen... why is there Chinese in the event logs? Why is the city of Aarhus in the wrong place? And why does Magnus Mårtensson have trouble getting into the USA? Join Dylan Beattie for a fascinating look into the hidden world of text files - from the history of mechanical teletypes to encodings, collations and code pages. We'll look at some memorable bugs, some golden rules for working with plain text - and we'll even find out the story behind the mysterious phrase "pike matchbox" and what it has to do with driving in Belarus.
Dylan Beattie is a consultant, software developer and international keynote speaker. He’s been building web applications since the 1990s, and works primarily on Microsoft .NET, HTTP APIs, UX design, and distributed systems. Dylan lives and works in London and when he’s not writing code he plays guitar and writes songs.
Diversity Vs. Inclusion in the Tech Industry - A talk by Dwayne Codling
On the 2nd of March at 7pm on Zoom we have a talk from Dwayne Codling on Diversity Vs. Inclusion in the Tech Industry.
The talk will focus on the generational wealth gap and how this facilitates a difference in circumstances between different races. Highlighting why the status quo is detrimental to the future of the industry, and why this has to change. How can we do better? What are the steps to address this, and get everyone buying into resolving this problem?
Dwayne is a Pod Lead and Front-end developer at JH. He’s a former lecturer and enjoys helping people out and seeing them progress to their full potential. Dwayne’s a family man and believes that life is all about balance, and that family is the most important thing. He is always learning - learning is part of the journey, and Dwayne is always seeking to find new answers.
Every Friday at 7pm we have our Cyber Security Workshops over on Zoom.
During this week's workshop you will have another opportunity to practice going through the process of gaining full control over a vulnerable server hosted on the tryhackme platform. Come along to learn some new valuable skills whilst also gaining an insight into how you can make your own projects more secure. No previous experience of programming or cyber security is required. It would be helpful however if you could install Kali Linux on a virtual machine before the workshop, if you have any problems doing this you could drop a message in the cyber security channel on the HackSoc discord or I can try and help during the workshop. A good tutorial for installing the virtual machine is here.
So whether you are a seasoned hacker, or just interested, be sure to come along.
Give a Lighting Talk Next Term
Got a topic you know a bit about and want to share? This term we will be running some lightning talks, either in a lighting talk night or as a extra thing during our other events. A lighting talk is a short (three to five minute) talk giving a quick dive into a specific topic.
If you want to give a talk open a ticket on the discord server, or drop us an email to [email protected]
Join our Discord
The HackSoc Discord is the place to be this year. It is where you can chat about tech, or anything else, as well as where you can find out the latest information about our upcoming events.