Net Neutrality Day of Action

Net Neutrality Day of Action

When Art & Logic started doing business in 1991, we were a fully remote company that pre-dated the availability of the consumer internet; by the time I joined up in 1997 that transition had happened. My initial internet connection when I started here saw me upgrade from a dialup connection to a local ISP over a 56Kb/s modem to a pair of bonded ISDN lines that gave me a screaming 128 Kb/s connection to the A&L servers and my co-workers.

As the consumer internet exploded, our project mix followed the same transition that the rest of the world did — we went from 100% of our projects being standalone desktop applications running natively on Windows or macOS, to a few web projects (including a ton of embedded web projects — in 2017 you expect to be able to configure networked hardware by pointing a web browser at it, but in the late 90s that was the New Frontier) to our current mix that’s largely web and mobile with some interesting desktop apps tagging along as well.

We, along with every one of the clients that we’ve developed projects for in that period, have depended on strong net neutrality to enable our innovation — once your service is on the internet, your traffic is on the same footing as everyone else’s. As Gertrude might say today, a bit is a bit is a bit.

Recently, the FCC has proposed rule changes that have the potential to turn this all upside down — here’s a bit of background from meta.stackeschange.com :

Back in 2014, the United States Federal Communication Commission, in response to numerous complaints and concerns, implemented a set of rules that prohibit Internet Service Providers from blocking specific content providers or charging them for access to their networks. Essentially, a set of rules that prevent an ISP from double-dipping on service they’re already being paid for, or blocking access to specific websites just for the hell of it.

In order to do this, they had to change how ISPs were classified, moving them from a “Title I” classification to “Title II” – more or less the same framework for regulation that’s been in place for phone companies for decades, establishing them as a so-called “common carrier” – that is to say, one which may not discriminate between customers. If you already assumed that this is how the Internet worked, you’re not alone; however, due to how they were classified previously the FCC had been unable to enforce rules that would ensure that traffic over the Internet would continue be allowed to work as, well, traffic over the Internet was expected to work.

(also scroll down for the answers on the rest of that page for more discussion and links on the topic than you probably have time for today).

The group Fight for the Future has declared today, 12 July 2017, as a day of action, for “regular friendly Internet users like you to submit your comments and concerns to the FCC about their plans to do away with net neutrality.”

If you’re in the US and would like to participate, you can:

Other links on the topic:

Looking Forward to ARKit and AR Apps in iOS 11

Looking Forward to ARKit and AR Apps in iOS 11

Image credit, Apple WWDC

At WWDC earlier this month Apple previewed ARKit – it’s initial foray into Augmented Reality or AR. Alongside the intro session at WWDC they published Understanding Augmented Reality which provides a nice overview of how ARKit works, best practices, and its limitations.

Following WWDC the development community has put together a number of great demos that highlight the possibilities and potential of ARKit and the Made with ARKit (@madewithARKit) site has been chronicling some of the best of these.

Here are a few of my favorites:

 

 

Persistence

Persistence

Boston

March 1911

Icy wind blew the pages of the young man’s book from beneath his near-frozen fingers. His tattered gloves helped little. He huddled in an alley finding what warmth he could behind a bakery. The scent of baking bread made his mouth water but he dared not spend the few coins he had. His family needed every penny he earned as a newsboy to survive. He returned to the book — a law book — the hundredth he had studied cover to cover since coming to America, a poor Russian child who spoke no English. In a few short minutes, he would head back out onto the street and cry “paper,” just as he had every day since his 10th birthday. But for now, he needed to focus on his studies, no matter how cold he was. (more…)

Our Takeaways from NAB Show 2017

Our Takeaways from NAB Show 2017

A couple of us were among the 100,000+ attendees at the recent NAB Show in April. If you’ve never been to the show, it would be kind of tricky to describe it fully since it’s rather broad and all-encompassing when it comes to media and digital content. The National Association of Broadcasters describes it as follows:

[NAB Show is] the world’s largest convention encompassing The M.E.T. Effect, the convergence of media, entertainment and technology. With 103,000 attendees from 166 countries and 1,700+ exhibitors, NAB Show is the ultimate marketplace for solutions that transcend traditional broadcasting and embrace content delivery to new screens in new ways. From creation to consumption, across multiple platforms and countless nationalities, NAB Show is where global visionaries convene to bring content to life in new and exciting ways. (more…)

12 Things I Learned About Starting a Business (by Starting a Business)

12 Things I Learned About Starting a Business (by Starting a Business)

The first thing I learned by starting a business is that it’s best just to do something. If you have an idea for a business, and you love the idea, and you believe it to be a good idea, then just run with it. If it doesn’t turn out great, or even if it fails, learn from your mistakes, and do it better next time. If you sit around just thinking about how to do something perfectly, you’ll never do anything. So rather than sitting around thinking about how to write the perfect article about this, I’m just going to jump in and start writing!

Here then is a list, starting with the second thing that I learned by starting a business. (more…)

GraphQL Requests – Behind the Scenes with the Apollo iOS Client

GraphQL Requests – Behind the Scenes with the Apollo iOS Client

In my last post I took a look at using the Apollo iOS GraphQL client framework to access a GraphQL backend running on the Graphcool GraphQL mBaaS. Shortly afterwards Brandur Leach, an API engineer at Stripe posted “Is GraphQL the Next Frontier for Web APIs?“. In his post Brandur gives a good overview of the current API development space, compares GraphQL to other technologies, and ultimately puts his support behind GraphQL. The follow-on discussion on Hacker News is a bit mixed, with some comments in support of GraphQL along with a few dismissing it. Some advocate support for both REST-like and GraphQL APIs, given that with a sensibly designed backend, support for both is possible with too much additional work. Stripe has a popular REST API that is used by a lot of developers, given Brandur’s opinions, it will be interesting to see if they take this hybrid approach and start offering a GraphQL interface as well.

Regardless of whether GraphQL will gain more traction compared to other approaches or not, I wanted to dive a bit deeper into the client side of things and get a better understanding of how the Apollo iOS framework and apollo-codegen tool work. (more…)

How To Manually Change ASP.NET MembershipProvider Passwords

How To Manually Change ASP.NET MembershipProvider Passwords

Don’t ask me why you find yourself working in ASP.NET. I know there are more effective ways to build a site.

Don’t ask me why you’re maintaining an app written in the style of 2005. I know, but it happens occasionally frequently.

Don’t ask me why your ASP.NET app is using the MembershipProvider system. I know it’s a poor match for the needs of almost all apps and encourages security holes by design.

Don’t ask me what reason could possibly explain needing to change some passwords. Why isn’t this functionality built in to the app? I know, I know…

But you’re there. Your app is using the MembershipProvider system, which saves the passwords in the database in some kind of encrypted form. And now you have to change some passwords quickly, probably for multiple embarrassing reasons, yet the app doesn’t offer you the functionality to do so, and you don’t have the time to add that functionality and re-build and re-deploy the app.

If only it were possible to go into SSMS and change the passwords using only T-SQL.

Now you can.

(more…)

Rebuilding SXSW

Rebuilding SXSW

Now, just hold on a minute. I’m not trying to say that SXSW is broken or somehow inefficient. Stop yelling at me.

Look: SXSW has been around for about 30 years at this point. And it’s grown exponentially in that time. I started going to peripheral music events around 2010 and began attending the Interactive portion in an official capacity for Art & Logic in 2013. As a company, we’ve attended, exhibited at the trade show, and organized panel discussions on technology topics. And every single year since we’ve had a presence, the conference has expanded. More people, more crowds, more lines, more presenters, more panels, more sponsors, and more chaos. (more…)

Exploring GraphQL on iOS

Exploring GraphQL on iOS

While researching mobile backend as a service (mBaaS) offerings for a client project, I came across Graphcool which provides a GraphQL backend for mobile or web apps. I hadn’t worked with GraphQL before, but it looked interesting and wanted to see if we could put it to use in the mobile or web apps we build. To get a better feel for the tech and tools involved, I decided to update the ALAirports sample project that I’ve used in a few blog posts to use Graphcool as a backend for the airport data. (more…)