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.


Rollbar Icon Rollbar – Sponsored

Errors from the world's top 100 websites (and how to avoid them)

Jennifer Marsh writes on the Rollbar blog: When you think of the top 100 sites in the world, you think of high-traffic domains and pages coded to perfection. In fact, even the most popular sites in the world have errors hidden behind the scenes that are still visible in your browser’s developer tools … We found that most of the top 100 sites had several errors which could be easily monitored and prevented. In this post Jennifer shows you the most common errors faced by the top websites in the world and how you can avoid them.

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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.


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.


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.


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.


GoCD Icon GoCD – Sponsored

Why should you use GoCD over Jenkins?

Jekins is the incumbent option, not to mention, open source. GoCD is also open source and supports Kubernetes and can be installed with Helm Charts. GoCD provides its core value out of the box. Maybe you will add a few integration plugins to make GoCD fit better in your environment. Jenkins will require many plugins to deliver value. You will need to understand the plugins, how they interoperate, and how to upgrade them. GoCD will feel more stable. Jenkins will feel more hackable. Which is a better match to your needs and philosophy? Learn how to setup your first pipeline, or check out their enterprise plugins and support.

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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.


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.



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.)



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?


NVIDIA Developer Blog Icon NVIDIA Developer Blog

NVIDIA's PhysX project goes open source and beyond gaming

PhysX is NVIDIA’s hardware-accelerated physics simulation engine that’s now released as open source to move it beyond its most common use case in the gaming world, to give access to the embedded and scientific fields — think AI, robotics, computer vision, and self-driving cars. PhysX SDK has gone open source, starting today with version 3.4! It is available under the simple 3-Clause BSD license. With access to the source code, developers can debug, customize and extend the PhysX SDK as they see fit.


Data visualization

A color palette generator for the design 'impaired'

This “Data Color Picker” looks like a spectacular tool for any developer out there (like myself) who appreciates the value of a good color palette, but lacks the ability to put one together. You’re not alone! (This tool is for generating equidistant palettes for data visualizations, but it can most certainly be used generically.) Creating visually equidistant palettes is basically impossible to do by hand, yet hugely important for data visualizations. Why? When colors are not visually equidistant, it’s harder to (a) tell them apart in the chart, and (b) compare the chart to the key. I’m sure we’ve all looked at charts where you can hardly use the key since the data colors are so similar. You pick the “endpoint” colors and it generates all of the colors in-between. Very cool.

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