• Help – A Covid-19 Tracker app has been secretly installed on my Phone!

    On LinkedIn the other day I noticed a post claiming that Covid-19 tracker apps had been installed on everybody’s smartphone and that we were all being tracked.

    covid 19 settings

    Ok, so lets ignore the fact that we can be tracked via our phones anyway and look at what the fuss is about.

    If I open up the settings on my OnePlus 6T Android phone I see a new item – ‘COVID-19 exposure notifications’. This is what some people are losing their minds about right now.

    I on the other hand am not. Why not?

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  • Sending Secure SMS – That’s Crazy Talk!

    yyyy Many of us know that when we send an SMS (aka text message) it is sent in plain text and can be read by anyone with sufficient access.

    This is normally limited to your cell provider but there are hackers out there using readily available hardware to act as a cell tower and initiate a man-in-the-middle attack.

    Now I don’t know about you but I seldom send a regular SMS message – I use WhatsApp most of the time. Not only does it allow group chats (very handy for communicating with the family – especially during Covid-19 Lockdown) but it also provides end-to-end encryption. This means that only the intended recipient(s) and myself can read the message content.

    It’s not that I’m doing anything illegal of course, it’s all about privacy.

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  • That’s All Folks – I’m Out!

    TLDR; I’m another statistic – IR35 and the Covid-19 outbreak have forced me into a position where I have to close down my contracting company and seek alternative employment. Image Copyright of Warner Brothers

    looney tunes logo

    Well, that’s that! Today I instructed my accountant to ‘Pull the Pin’ on my company and start the process of winding it up. A sad but somehow inevitable day for me – I’ve seen it coming for a month or so but it’s not easy being here now.

    I’ve been contracting through my limited company for the last 9 years and in the time I have worked on numerous projects across numerous sectors – an experience that has, I believe, left me a better developer that I would otherwise had been. I have no regrets – none!

    But a combination of unfair an tax legislation and a worldwide pandemic have left me in an untenable situation – while the company might (just might) survive the Covid-19 Lockdown the specter of IR35 looms large on the horizon and I’d rather take a different fork in the road instead of heading into more uncertainty.

    So how did I get this this point? Well it wasn’t just one thing but a combination which left me in an untenable situation.

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  • Online Tool: UnminifyCode

    unminify site logo If you’re a web developer, regardless of what programming language you are using, you’ll be familiar with minified CSS, Javascript and HTML files. For the uninitiated these are files which have had unnecessary whitespace, line breaks and formatting removed with variable/function names shortened where applicable.

    While this results in files that are difficult for humans to read, browsers are still able to load and parse the data (unless the minification process has been a bit heavy-handed).

    These files are normally used in preference over the unminified versions because of the reduced file size – making for quicker page load times.

    That’s all well and good, but what happens when all you have is a minified file, from say a third party library, and you want to edit or, in the case of Javascript, add breakpoints to debug one of these files?

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  • Getting stuff done under Lockdown

    plualsight profile banner As we enter week six of the Covid-19 lockdown here in the UK I am still ‘between contracts’. I’ve had a handful of video interviews but these haven’t led anywhere yet – but I’m not sitting around idle.

    Notwithstanding the decorating, gardening and spring-cleaning (of office and summerhouse – I’m not trusted to attack the house itself) I have been hitting Pluralsight online tech training hard for the past few weeks.

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