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Generating free trusted SSL certificates with Let's Encrypt

July 19, 2016

I've always hated the idea of having to pay for SSL certificates. You could always generate them yourself for free with OpenSSL and they're just as secure as the paid ones. But if you're running a public-facing website, you're pretty much stuck and have to pay for one if you don't want your visitors seeing security warnings in their browser. At least that was the case until Let's Encrypt ...

SSH tunneling and dealing with webhooks that require a trusted SSL certificate when developing locally with Django

July 15, 2016

I'm currently working on version 2 of our Shopify app where we'll be adding custom Slack slash commands. When adding slash commands to a custom app, Slack requires the receiving server to have a trusted (not self-signed) SSL certificate.

Normally, what we do is simply create a reverse SSH tunnel to our stage server which is publicly accessible to receive webhooks, for example:

ssh root@stage.example.com -R 8000:localhost:80

The ...

Send Shopify events to Slack with Slacky

May 28, 2016

Around a couple of months ago, a good friend of mine who's also a developer and I were chatting on Slack about app platforms we could build apps for on the side. One platform that came up was Shopify and after doing some research on the Shopify App Store we decided to team up to build our first app. We called our company Highview Apps.

We brainstormed for a bit, trying to come up ...

Ansible playbook for provisioning a Jenkins CI server

May 27, 2016

I've finally decided to set up a Jenkins CI server for my Django projects earlier this week. For a long time, I've been deploying code via command line with Ansible. It worked very well but occasionally I find myself deploying from a coffee shop with unreliable connection, causing the deployment to get interrupted. Deploying instead from a virtual private server in the cloud would solve this and using Jenkins to do it was ...

Free alternatives to Mandrill for sending transactional emails

March 12, 2016

If you're a Mandrill user, you've probably already gotten an email from Mandrill that they will completely be integrated with MailChimp and will require a paid MailChimp subscription to continue its use. The cheapest paid MailChimp subscription at the moment goes for $20/month.

If you're bootstrapping a startup, you look for any savings you can get. That $20/month could be used for other things, like 4 DigitalOcean servers to run ...

Working from a 24-hour manga cafe in Kyoto, Japan

January 30, 2016

Popeye Media Cafe - Kyoto, Japan

I decided to spend a week in Kyoto a few weeks ago before leaving South Korea as it was only an hour flight away. I had client work to do that week and since my client is 14 hours behind and the apartment I was staying in wasn't really comfortable to work in, I had to look for 24-hour cafes to work from.

One option is the 24-hour McDonald's and I did work ...

ASUS Zenbook UX305LA 13.3-Inch Ultrabook with Ubuntu 14.04 Review

December 27, 2015

I finally replaced my 3-year-old Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook about 3 weeks ago with this cheaper ASUS Zenbook UX305LA model.

I originally intended to replace it with the newer developer edition of the XPS 13 line but then I found out a couple of days after I placed my order that an even newer model with a newer generation CPU that's more efficient and a faster SSD was just released. The newer edition also ...

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