On Friday, October 19, 2018 I had an incredible opportunity to attend Clearwater Analytics’ Developer’s Conference (DevCon). They allowed their employees to invite a friend and thankfully, I have a great friend who works there who invited me as his guest.
The keynote speech was titled “Idaho Technology – Past, Present and Future.” It was a fantastic look at the big key players of technology in Idaho’s Treasure Valley. Simplot, Hewlett Packard (HP), Micron, T-Sheets, Metageek, Cradlepoint, and of course Clearwater were just a few of the companies I remember getting a mention. Coming from a company that was spun out from Hewlett Packard (I currently work for Perspecta), it was great to see our heritage on display. However, I couldn’t help but think: “How are we going to get Perspecta on the radar like HP is?”
I thought I would take a moment to write about a few of the seminars that I attended and what I took away from them.
Protecting Citizen Data: Risks to Idaho
Lead by local Special FBI Agent Clark Harshbarger
This was a fantastic look at online privacy and some of the tech crimes happening in the Treasure Valley. Two key takeaways:
- If you are developing software for your organization and need assistance in online forums; you and your organization are a target.
- The average bank robber usually only gets away with $1,200. A thief who figures out how to hack into an ATM could potentially make up to $200K. Also, if someone tries to get you to be the mule in an ATM heist; The code they wrote never disables the camera and it could take 45 minutes to empty the cassette (holds the money). So there are going to be lots of pictures of you available to law enforcement!
Influencing Tech Culture
Lead by Robert Whiting
I am always trying to learn how to be a better leader; a person of positive change where I work. What did I take away from this talk?
- You can have a garden that bears fruit or vegetables, but it isn’t flourishing. It’s only doing enough to get the job done.
- Any change that you think should be introduced into an organization should have manager buy off.
Mr. Whiting also recommended a few books that I am curious to check out. Two that I can remember are:
Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose – Written entirely by Zappos employees.
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration – Written by a co-founder of Pixar, Inc.
Web Application Vulnerabilities
Lead by Matt Kunzman
This was a very informative look at vulnerabilities in web applications. Mr. Kunzman also talked about OWASP standards that every web application developer should adhere to.
During the presentation he made his way into a site without anything other than the knowledge a hacker would have about websites and Google Chrome. He utilized a tool called Juice Shop. It is a self-contained site that has vulnerabilities built-in to it. You find them and it becomes sort of a game to find them all. I am anxious to download it and see if I can enhance my knowledge of vulnerabilities.
Flask is What Every Gent (and Lady) Needs – Python Web Services
Lead by Dawid Krol
While I thoroughly enjoyed the other presentations I mentioned above; this presentation and the last one I attended (Laravel, below) were my absolute favorites! During the course of 40 minutes Mr. Krol demonstrated how you can use Flask and FlaskWTF to create a fully functional CRUD (Create, Return, Update, Delete) website from scratch.
It was a very rudimentary site, of course. However, I can see some amazing potential for web applications that I have been wanting to develop. Especially apps that don’t need a very sophisticated back-end.
Laravel (PHP): Your Web App In 30 Min
Lead by Marco Rosas
In this presentation Mr. Rosas, much like the presentation Dawid Krol gave, demonstrated how you can take Laravel and Bootstrap and create a CRUD site. Again, he only had 40 minutes, and there were some technical difficulties. However, he managed to create a site that with some simple CSS styling would pass for a modern and great looking website.
I left extremely eager to download Laravel and start playing with it. I can’t decide which project I would like to use it for, but I know one of the projects on my list would benefit from its power. I think I could even get some of the projects off the ground much faster by using it.
Pictures of Boise from the Clearwater / Boise Centre Building
This was the first time I had ever been in the newly constructed Clearwater / Boise Centre building in Boise’s Downtown (BODO) district. I was extremely grateful for the opportunity to capture some quick pictures of downtown Boise from my phone. I also got a quick video of the art installation on my way in.
All said and done, I had a fantastic day. It was a great day away from the office. I am anxious to get back to work and put some of what I learned into practice.
Special thanks to both my friend and his employer Clearwater Analytics for the opportunity.