Codeschool and Angular.js

I took advantage of the long weekend to go through CodeSchool’s Shaping up with Angular.js free course. I have to say it was very well done. They very quickly get the major themes across in the video and then you apply the stuff in your browser where you can see how it actually affects the page in the preview page. Anyone who has worked on the knockout.js tutorial will recognize this style of learning. Having taken the class on CodeSchool I now feel like I know enough to actually start using Angular so I would definitely recommend the course to anyone wanting to get started with Angular. I remember that first aha moment I had when learning knockout, where it was just sort of mind blowing how much more productive you could be in that framework than just using jQuery. And I had the same sort of thing with Angular, I can see why I would prefer to use Angular over knockout as well as it seems to take the great things that knockout does and take it up to the next level. To get someone who isn’t a super front end person interested in a front end technology is an impressive feat so well done Angular.

The downside of updating your server config

So a little while back when I had been playing with Pagespeed I somehow managed to break certificate stapling on my server. So when I ran the Qualys SSL Server Test my score had fallen to a B! I messed around and tried a few things and I had no luck getting it to work. One of my friends said the site started to give weird errors under Chrome on Android. Then I was reading this CertSimple Blog entry yesterday and they mentioned the Mozilla Server Side TLS Project, which I don’t think I had heard of. Basically what it does is you enter your server version and your OpenSSL version and how aggressive you want your security settings and it will generate a sample config for you. It will tell you based on how aggressive your settings are what the minimum browser versions are. For example of of the differences between Intermediate and Modern is that they drop support for TLSv1 in Modern and only support TLSv1.1 and TLSv1.2. For most browsers this doesn’t seem to be an issue but if you are running IE that means the minimum browser version is IE 11. I debated whether I should drop TLSv1 support or not, but I figure if I keep it I can support IE back to 7, though I can’t imagine any software engineers that might check out this blog using IE anyway. For now I have kept it but one of these days I will drop it because given the rate of SSL issues with Freak and Logjam lately, it is only a matter of time before someone finds a hole in TLSv1.

As for my issue Mozilla in their example config said my ssl_certificate setting should point to my signed key plus intermediates, whereas previously I only had my signed key there. I had intermediates in the ssl_trusted_certificate with the root certificate, and that was working prior to my gzip changes but for some reason now it wants them in both places or else it does a separate download on the intermediate certificate and drops me to a B. So I am back to my coveted A+ rank, and I think the lesson I learned is one a coworker mentioned to me. They said that they put all of their config files in git so that any time they make a change if there are issues they can look at all previous revisions. In the future if I make any changes here on my server config I think I may do the same and setup a config file repository before I touch anything again just to have easy version control and knowing how to revert if things get ugly.

Angular.js first go

We had some workshops over the last couple of days at work on an intro to Angular.js. I have to say I came away from them pretty impressed with the framework. I can see why it is taking the development world by storm.

I think the controllers make it very relate able for anyone coming from the Java world as it is like dealing with Spring or Struts at that point. The way you do URL parameters in your $routeparams is just like doing any sort of rest URL parameters.

All in all after my first look at the framework I am interested in playing around with it some more. I am also happy as it is a step forward on one of my 2015 themes. Now to find some small project where I can try to incorporate what I have learned. I may also try to run through the online tutorial as well now, I feel like having messed around with it for 3 or 4 hours I should be able to knock out the tutorial pretty quickly.

AT&T Uverse vs TimeWarner Cable

I have had it with AT&T Uverse! We have been having some internet issues lately. We have been AT&T Uverse customers since 2008. I started out with 6mbit service then upgraded to 12mbit and then to 18mbit (upstream is only 1.5 mbit.) When we first got it installed it was very cheap but as the years have been going on they have been increasing the prices and not necessarily the speed. The first time they installed it they had to do like a 4 hour install which pretty much involved rewiring the house from the Node in the alley all the way to the jack they installed for the gateway. Given that my house is over 100 years old this probably isn’t too surprising. When I initially did the upgrade from 6 to 12 mbit the speed only went up to 8 mbit. They sent a tech out and he fixed the wiring apparently the first installer had done a few things wrong and he had to replace our 2-wire gateway as that also seemed to have issues. At some point I upgraded from 12 to 18mbit as the price differential was so small there was no reason not to. When we first got 6 mbit service it was amazing, videos streamed perfectly, downloads were fast I was very happy. When I upgrade to 12mbit I was blown away I was downloading songs from iTunes in 3 seconds everything was great. We could watch Netflix without having to wait to buffer again life was good. When we went to 18 I didn’t notice a big difference but everything just got a little bit better. But as time has gone on the service quality has gotten horrible, even though I still have my 18mbit clearly AT&T has some backbone issues, as I can’t hardly play a YouTube video now without it choking. I tried doing some Amazon streaming a couple of months ago and it was almost unusable.

The last straw came about a month ago. They started pulling fiber through the neighborhood to the nodes to roll out their new gigapower service. They installed a new phone pole near my house (I wish they would just bury the cables.) Something they did when they were doing that install seemed to have messed up my connection as now my UVerse is dropping the connection to the internet probably once or twice a day. I notice it sometimes in the evening but it really hits my wife a lot during the day. I was going to call the service department about it, but as I was thinking over the weekend when it flaked out again I should just compare what Time Warner is offering for my neighborhood. Low and behold what do I find but for the same price I am paying for Uverse I can get 100mbit down and 20mbit up from Time Warner Cable (assuming I spring for the cable modem.) In the past I have avoided the cable companies because they have had a tendency to overload their neighborhood nodes and people wouldn’t really get the speeds advertised. But at this point it just seems like a no brainer to switch. For one thing I can pick out my own modem and buy it. I hate the 2-Wire model that AT&T Uses for VDSL but you can’t buy your own equipment. That means you are stuck paying a rental fee for a box that is hopelessly out of date when it comes to WIFI standards and has a lot of limits what you can do in the software. With Time Warner I can spring for a nice DOCSIS 3.0 modem that will support speeds up to 300mbit when they roll it out to the neighborhood and not get dinged for it monthly. I can also buy much nicer equipment than just taking what they give out by default. I did a bunch of online searching and it seems like the biggest complaints against Time Warner Cable seem to be their customer service is lacking. Everyone seems to say the broadband is superior though. Given that I don’t tend to have a lot of need for Technical Support I am going to give them a shot at this point. I will report back with results later on and see if I am still happy with that decision or if I decide to go back to U-Verse later on. Let me know if anyone has had good or bad experiences with either of the companies just so I know what I am getting into.

WordPress auto updates

I am always a little amazed when I get an email from my blog that tells me it upgraded software versions. Even though I have had auto-updating operating systems and other software for years, something about a website updating itself just seems like a bigger deal. I am sure most people think like whatever, but I think what a cool time we live in, when all this stuff just manages itself.