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A Java dev journey to full-stack: first chapter

The Motivation

I am an experienced Java developer and (surprise!) I like Java. I know it is not perfect but it works just fine for me (I enjoy type-safety and I do not consider verbosity a disadvantage, quite the opposite). I also know that some people dislike Java, which is also fine.

But recently I decided to step out of my confort zone as developer, my goal isn't to be one of the "cool kids" neither trying to monetize a new skill in the job market.
I have a quite practical motivation: I want to be able to build more (different) stuff.
That's exactly the same reason why I learnt Android development by myself a couple of years ago.

Web applications are ubiquitous, even more than native mobile apps, and thanks to cloud computing, one can easily and inexpensively release their idea/app to the World Wide Web.

I already did some Web development in the past, in the bad old days of JSP and JSF, but the process was slow and painful.

Nowadays the Web landscape has totally c…
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Avenger Bot

The Twitter API was one of the first available from a major Internet organization and it is probably the most used API worldwide, even though in the past few years Twitter has been making it tougher for developers to use it, you may check this as an example.

Not everybody is on Twitter but almost every company is, specially big telcos. Most of them even provide customer support through Twitter, and despite being usually terrible (the support), at least it is an open channel and you can share your frustration with other frustrated fellow customers.
Motivation So when one of the major telecommunications operators in Spain started aggressively chasing my mom and my whole family because someone used her name and national identity number to fraudulently buy services from them which were never paid (it seems they intentionally? have barely any security controls in place), I decided to take revenge on Twitter.

I've got very mad, Jazztel (the telco) was not interested in finding the truth…

My first day playing around with Vert.x

I have been reading quite a lot about Vert.x recently and finally the day before yesterday I sat down and spent some time exploring it by writing some code. Today I would like to present the outcome.

A little bit of history Like all Reactive frameworks/tool-kits/libraries, Vert.x is inspired by Node.js.
Back when it was released, Node.js shocked many Java developers who looked down on Javascript, on top of owning the Web client side, JS wanted to conquer also the server side!
And thanks to its non-blocking nature, Node.js performed better than typical Java application servers such as Tomcat or Glassfish.
Then the Java world reacted (pun intended) and today Vert.x is one of the most matured reactive technologies for the JVM.
First Vert.x application  When trying to build my first super-simple reactive (not really) application using Vert.x, I started following this tutorial from the lead developers of Vert.x. That's great stuff, but I found it a little overwhelming as the first hands…

How to mine a cryptocurrency just using a regular computer and a Twitter account

In the previous post I explained the idea behind the Social Ledger blockchain network, a fork from Ethereum which uses a new consensus algorithm called Proof of Social Network Identity (PoSNI).

Ok, even if that does not make much sense to you, what it means is that you can mine (create) the crypto currency used by this new blockchain network (a clone of Ether cryptocurrency) just using a regular (so far just tested on Linux) computer and a Twitter account.

I must tell you that this new cryptocurrency is currently worth zero, but Bitcoin was also worth nothing when it was launched back in 2009, so why not give a try to this since it basically requires just a little of your time?
Also, I believe it would be better if your main motivation was not to make a profit out of this, but to help researching in new solutions which could improve the whole blockchain ecosystem.

So here are the instructions, first the requisites:
- A Linux PC/laptop with connection to the internet and at least 4GB o…

Proof of Social Network Identity: a proof of concept

One of the main criticisms to blockchain technology is based on the huge consumption of electricity required by the biggest networks (e.g., Bitcoin and Ethereum).
That huge electric power consumption  comes from using Proof of Work (PoW) algorithms to prevent "double spending" which is closely related to the "51% attack".
Some other types of algorithm have been developed as an alternative to PoW, the more popular one being Proof of Stake (PoS), which basically implies that individuals with higher stake (i.e., more crypto money) have more power (i.e., are more trusted) than the rest.
Hence, PoS, creates an entry barrier for those who want to become members of the blockchain network, since one needs to own a stake in order to join the network.
The key to prevent "double spending / 51% attacks" is to use something in the block validation mechanism which is complicated or expensive enough for some malicious actor to replicate or to clone or to create (whatev…

Apology not accepted

TL;DR: After being disrespected multiple times as customer by Smartwings airlines over the years, now I can finally have my little revenge by claiming 400 euros for a delayed flight. The airline sent me an insincere and pathetic apologetic email message. Apology not accepted.

I have been a regular customer of Smartwings airlines for quite a long time already.
It was not by choice. The reason I fly with them is because it is the only airline which flies directly from Prague (where I live) to Valencia (my hometown).
Although I appreciate that they include 15 kg of check-in luggage at no extra charge, the ticket prices are quite high compared to other low-cost airlines (Wizzair and Ryanair, for example).

Also, they do not seem to care much about their customers. Several times they cancelled a flight just few days before the departure date due to "operational reasons". It would seem to me that the real reason was that they did not sale as many tickets for that flight as they expecte…

Shared Ledger Simulator

I have been interested in the shared/distributed ledger technology (a.k.a. block chain, a.k.a. the magic behind cryptocurrencies) for more than a year already but recently I had finally put real time and effort into it.

And since I believe that the best way to understand something is to get your hands dirty, that is what I have done, after I got a grasp of the core principles (or that is what I thought back then), I decided to code my own shared ledger simulator.

Initially, I also considered to look into the main existing code bases (e.g., the source code of the main/official Bitcoin client/miner or Ethereum's) since they are open source, but seeing code like thisput me off... That file is 3229 lines big!!! Plus it is written in C++.
Do not get me wrong, I truly believe Satoshi Nakamoto (i.e., whoever hides behind that name) is a genius and also a great software developer, but he/she/they for sure did not have readability as their main priority.

I also noticed that some other people h…