The New Stack Icon The New Stack

How Firecracker is going to set modern infrastructure on fire

One of the most exciting announcements from last week’s AWS re:Invent was Firecracker — an open source project that delivers the speed of containers with the security of VMs. Firecracker’s focus is transient and short-lived processes, so it differs from containers in that it’s optimized for startup speed. Why can’t we use containers? The answer is simple — slower cold start. While LXC and Docker are certainly faster and lighter than full-blown virtual machines, they still don’t match the speed expected by functions. There are also some security wins with how Firecracker is architected: Firecracker takes a radically different approach to isolation. It takes advantage of the acceleration from KVM, which is built into every Linux Kernel with version 4.14 or above. KVM, the Kernel Virtual Machine, is a type-1 hypervisor that works in tandem with the hardware virtualization capabilities exposed by Intel and AMD. There’s a lot to be intrigued by here. We should probably line up an episode on Firecracker. In the meantime, click through to go deeper on the topic.



A lightweight, auto-curried functional programming library

arare enables you to write tacit, point-free, declarative & clean code while avoiding side-effects and mutations. Internally the library itself, comprised of over 200 functions, follows the functional programming paradigm and is materialized using fundamental functional qualities such as currying, recursion, tail calls, high-order functions, referential transparency, side-effects elimination and function composition. Ships with a built-in REPL. 💪


Practical AI Practical AI #24

So you have an AI model, now what?

Fully Connected – a series where Chris and Daniel keep you up to date with everything that’s happening in the AI community. This week we discuss all things inference, which involves utilizing an already trained AI model and integrating it into the software stack. First, we focus on some new hardware from Amazon for inference and NVIDIA’s open sourcing of TensorRT for GPU-optimized inference. Then we talk about performing inference at the edge and in the browser with things like the recently announced ONNX JS.


Hired Icon Hired – Sponsored

Let top tech companies apply to you? Yes please!

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John Gruber

Electron and the decline of native apps

Mac users don’t care about mac apps like they used to. Today and the future is a web platform world with JavaScript at the center morphing into this gigantic blackhole (mainly a gravity metaphor) with everything else being pulled into its orbit. The more Mac users there are, the more Mac apps we should see. The problem is, the users who really care about good native apps — users who know HIG violations when they see them, who care about performance, who care about Mac apps being right — were mostly already on the Mac. A lot of newer Mac users either don’t know or don’t care about what makes for a good Mac app. John Gruber also quoted SwiftOnSecurity regarding Microsoft’s switch to Chromium as Windows’s built-in rendering engine, saying: This is the end of desktop applications. There’s nowhere but JavaScript.


Ferdy Christant

The state of web browsers

Should I read this 22 minute read on the state of web browsers? Sure. Count me in! Microsoft has confirmed the rumor to be true. We now have one less browser engine, and a last man standing (Firefox) in deep trouble (reasons below). … The web now runs on a single engine. There is not a single browser with a non-Chromium engine on mobile of any significance other than Safari. Which runs webkit, kind of the same engine as Chromium, which is based on webkit.


The Changelog The Changelog #326

The insider perspective on the event-stream compromise

Adam and Jerod talk with Dominic Tarr, creator of event-stream, the IO library that made recent news as the latest malicious package in the npm registry. event-stream was turned malware, designed to target a very specific development environment and harvest account details and private keys from Bitcoin accounts. They talk through Dominic’s backstory as a prolific contributor to open source, his stance on this package, his work in open source, the sequence of events around the hack, how we can and should handle maintainer-ship of open source infrastructure over the full life-cycle of the code’s usefulness, and what some best practices are for moving forward from this kind of attack.


DigitalOcean Icon DigitalOcean – Sponsored

The DigitalOcean Terraform Provider

You’ve heard of Terranform from HashiCorp — it’s the safe and predictable way to create, change, and version your infrastructure. It has become an essential part of many DigitalOcean users’ workflow. And, our friends at DigitalOcean want to ensure it receives the support it deserves! we’re so excited to release version 1.0.0 of the DigitalOcean Terraform Provider. This release marks a major milestone: the first since DigitalOcean took ownership of the project and a declaration of our commitment to support its continued development. Learn how to use Terraform with DigitalOcean.

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Medium Icon Medium

Crowdsourcing the evolution of text parsing with unified

unified –for the uninitiated– is an interface for processing text with syntax trees and transforming between them. Maybe you’ve never heard of it, but you’ve probably relied on it as part of your software infrastructure: [unified] has been OSS for years, but has recently gotten more traction. It’s used in fancy technology such as MDX, Gatsby, and Prettier, and used to build things like Node’s docs, freeCodeCamp, and GitHub’s open source guide. Project’s like unified are crucial to the JavaScript ecosystem, but they’re difficult to fund and support toward sustainability. Hence, the unified collective. Today, we are pleased to announce the creation of the unified collective. It’s an effort to bring together like-minded organisations to collaboratively work on the innovation of content through seamless, interchangeable, and extendible tooling. We build parsers, transformers, and utilities so that others don’t have to worry about syntax. We make it easier for developers to develop. Let’s show these maintainers some 💚 and share this around to those who should be supporting it.



Jon Marshall wants to get kids into cryptocurrency

Another beautifully designed tech product with Pentagram steering the visual design (see my post from last week) – this time aimed at introducing kids to the world of Cryptocurrency. For some reason this feels Black Mirror-esque, but what doesn’t these days? A collaboration with fintech start-up company Pigzbe, the new work wants to help “children and their families learn the principles of 21st century finance through cryptocurrency savings and hands-on play.” Sure beats settling down to all 704 pages of Thomas Piketty’s economic tome Capital. The project is currently on Kickstarter. If you have kids, maybe consider backing it? (Just don’t put all of their college savings into it and expect that to pan out.)


Away from Keyboard Away from Keyboard #9

Jeremy Fuksa is a unicorn

Jeremy Fuksa has had a rough few years. After deciding to go out on his own, his third year in business was filled with anxiety. Going back to working a full-time job may sound like a failure to some, but Jeremy doesn’t look at it that way. He talks to me about his unique skill set, dealing with anxiety and depression, and how his recent experience has taught him some great lessons.


Adam Stacoviak

The Cryptography Research Group at Microsoft released Microsoft SEAL to encrypt and secure sensitive data in the cloud

If you’ve been watching the news, you know that the latest data breach involved Marriott exposing 500 million guest reservations from its Starwood database. The kicker is that the unauthorized access to the Starwood guest database stretches back to 2014. That’s FOUR YEARS of unfettered access to this database! It’s breaches like these that helped motivate the team at the Cryptography Research Group at Microsoft to be “extremely excited” to announce the release of Microsoft SEAL (Simple Encrypted Arithmetic Library) as open source under the MIT License.



Microsoft to replace Edge with a Chromium-powered browser on Windows 10

Big rumor coming out of Redmond this week: Microsoft is throwing in the towel with EdgeHTML and is instead building a new web browser powered by Chromium, which uses a similar rendering engine first popularized by Google’s Chrome browser known as Blink. I’ve long been a proponent for browsers differentiating at the feature/integration layers and teaming up at the rendering layer, so I view this as good news. What do you think?



Remote pairing in the browser? Pssh!

Full disclosure: I am the creator and owner of Portly. Pssh works with or without Portly. But, without Portly, adding a local tunnel to your machine can be a pain. If you’re a fan of episode #90 on pair programming with Avdi Grimm, you know that pairing can be an invaluable tool for debugging, learning, and just overall better code. Unfortunately, remote pairing generally gets less enthusiasm since there’s such a learning curve to the setup, and it tends to feel inconvenient. Portly has launched a new tool called Pssh that makes remote pairing simple with just a gem and a browser. Install Pssh and run it either inside your tmux/screen session or from a vanilla shell, and your buddies can remote pair with you from their browser. > gem install pssh > pssh If Pssh is started inside a tmux or screen session, it boots up its own console for you to manage users. If started from a plain shell, it behaves just like you opened a fresh console and kills Pssh when you exit. Paired with the native Mac app from Portly, you can share a url to your session and lock it down with HTTP Authentication. Open up another browser tab to check out the changes to the local website you’re working on in real-time. Check out the homepage, the readme or the source on GitHub to learn more about Pssh and how it works. Share your thoughts and comments on Hacker News.

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