Hello Monkey

Hello Monkey

Meet Fred (that’s what I’m calling him); he was sat at the back of his cage at Bristol Zoo Gardens when I went to take a photograph of him. He spotted my camera and decided he wanted a better look, in the process of examining my camera he struck a pose for me!

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Fred is a Brown Spider Monkey who lives in the Monkey Jungle at Bristol Zoo. The Brown Spider Monkey is critically endangered which is the step before being extinct in the wild. They are extremely charismatic and have very strong personalities, they live in small units of two males and two females. If you are from Bristol I strongly recommend taking a trip to Bristol Zoo to visit not only Fred but all his animal brethren.

More photos over on flickr.

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Modern Browser Security Reporting

Modern Browser Security Reporting

I have written a few articles about ‘Browser Security Headers’ in recent months; I partly wrote them to encourage me to read more on the subject myself but I hope that someone starting off on the subject will find them useful.

Rather than write another quick post on the subject I have decided to reference a new training video that Troy Hunt and Scott Helme have recently published on Pluralsight. For those who have not heard of Pluralsight before it is the largest (and in my opinion the best) online training resource for those looking to learn more about technical subjects ranging from deep dive software programming videos to more “fluffy” subjects like project management and team building (there is even a video on “How to manage a developer” which I found rather entertaining). Pluralsight offer a free trial which is long enough for you to watch a few videos and decide if you feel they are worth paying for (or asking your boss to pay for as I have done).

The great thing about Troy and Scott’s new video is the format it is presented in; the two easy talking experts are not just talking at the screen with a slide show, they are discussing the subject with each other in what Pluralsight call a “play by play”. The format allows for a technical discussion as if you were sat around your desks at work (or even in the pub). They have taken an important technical subject (Browser Security Headers) and made it easy to consume and understand without too much jargon or presumed knowledge.

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How I run melodiouscode.net

How I run melodiouscode.net

Partly for myself and partly for any interested readers I wanted to note down how melodiouscode.net works; what technologies and providers are used and for what purpose. This is not going to be a deep technical article but more of an overview and the basis for some more technical articles in the future.

Although this is a just a simple blog (for now anyway!) I have been using it to learn more about the systems that are out there to support and secure a larger website. Much of the work I have done is overkill for a small blog but I couldn’t talk about security if I wasn’t secure myself!

There are a number of components to melodiouscode.net the larger of which are listed here.

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Folders, Folders, always folders

Folders, Folders, always folders

Two of my employers’ largest clients are law firms, and being law firms they regularly receive instructions from insurance firms for claims to be processed. This is where I come in, over the years I have created (or incremented) many instruction feeds that allow the insurance firms to electronically (normally via XML) instruct the law firms to investigate a claim. These services get hit hard and often; in some cases receiving hundreds of fresh client instructions an hour, this creates a lot of data and transactional records. Storage of this data is the subject of this blog post.

Anyone who has been in a car crash and reported it to their insurer will know that it causes a lot of questions detailing every aspect of the incident. All these questions and answers (plus the schema data) can make for thousands of lines of XML (sometimes tens of thousands if the schema was badly designed!). Be it a good idea or not every service I have worked on has always had a project requirement to keep a copy of the XML in a place that is human accessable; this often ends up being the file system.

You guessed it, I am writing this quick article because I have just been bitten by a system which stored hundreds of thousands of little files in one big folder (it was not written by me).

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