Blockchains Explained: A Primer on Cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, and Ethereum

Blockchains are nothing new: Bitcoin’s blockchain was implemented in 2009, and research papers on blockchains date back to the early ’90s.

While I had heard about Bitcoin and blockchains, I didn’t fully understand them, and the gaps in my knowledge came to light when my grandma asked me to explain Bitcoin to her. This post is intended to explain what blockchains are, how they work, why someone would want to use them, and what’s coming up next. Read more on Blockchains Explained: A Primer on Cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, and Ethereum…

A Quick Android Snackbar Tutorial: Setup, Action Handling, and UI Customization

Android Snackbars are, unfortunately, not as tasty as they sound. But they are extremely useful for showing errors or other lightweight feedback to a user–with minimal setup required. This is a brief tutorial for setting up a basic Snackbar, adding actions, and customizing its appearance.
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Setting Up Amazon’s Dash Replenishment Services and Login with Amazon on Android

On my current project, we’re integrating Amazon’s Dash Replenishment Services (DRS) into an Android app. DRS allows “smart” devices to automatically reorder supplies from Amazon if users of the device (and accompanying apps) opt in. For example, a washing machine might order more detergent, or an electronic device might order more batteries. The order is triggered once that refillable item gets down to a certain point. 
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Ancient Stoic Wisdom for Writing Better Software

My time at a software company has shown me how much focus there is on the new: new smartphone and laptop models, new revs, new development boards, new languages, and so on. But what about the old? I’m talking really old, like “two millennia before the Unix-Epoch” old.

The Stoic philosophers Zeno of Citium, Epictetus, and Seneca spoke at length about logic, control, and truth–all terms we discuss as programmers, but with very different meanings and applications. Still, Stoic works have lasted for thousands of years. What lessons do the ancient Greeks have for an industry with an obsession for the newest, latest thing?
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Amazon Lambda Auto-Deployment For Your Alexa Skill Using AWS CLI

My latest project includes integration with Amazon’s Alexa voice service. My coworker Jordan already wrote an excellent post on how to get started writing your own Alexa Custom Skill. Amazon’s API makes it relatively easy to develop a new Skill, and with a number of languages to choose from (Python, Node.js, Java, C#, etc), developers can create a simple Skill in a weekend.

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Using Power Select to Create Interactive, User-Editable Drop-Downs

Ember Power Select is an easy-to-use, flexible and powerful component that I recently used to tackle some challenging front-end feature designs. My current project is a web portal where users can view and filter reports based on a large combination of different criteria. A recent project feature allows users to create filter combinations, save them, delete them, and name (and rename) them….all within a single dropdown. Read more on Using Power Select to Create Interactive, User-Editable Drop-Downs…

Eight Atom Editor Packages for Easier Web Development

I’ve never been one to customize my editor much: With a background in embedded systems, I wrote most of my (C) code in Notepad++. But part of agile development is embracing change. As I learned web development over the past year, I’ve started changing my editor to fit my workflow better.
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Introducing ENIAC Six: Atomic’s Room Named for the Women who Programmed the ENIAC

The various meeting spaces in Atomic’s new building will be named after designers and developers we value for their contributions to their fields, and to our history as a company. As renovation on our building continued, we realized we had an additional room to name. Atomic’s last meeting room is named after the little-known group of women who programmed the ENIAC—the world’s first all-digital, Turing-complete, general-purpose computer. Read more on Introducing ENIAC Six: Atomic’s Room Named for the Women who Programmed the ENIAC…