Introducing Kenny

Kenny is my tool for webmasters who run sites secured with HTTP basic authentication. Kenny can track down and show these folks where logins for their site(s) have been leaked on the public Web.

kenny-logins-ascii

Ride into the danger zone, y'all. - Kenny L.

I envisaged Kenny as a project in which I could explore several technologies:

And that's exactly what I did: Kenny is now a real thing, and all these technologies were crucial in its construction.

Kenny homepage

Webmasters can add the sites they want to track.

Add your sites

Kenny will search the public Web for logins and collect them in a list where the webmaster can test them for validity and review the source of each leak.

List of logins

I had a ball working on Kenny, and I learned a lot about some technologies I’d been itching to work with. I plan to follow up this blog post with another that goes into some details about the different tech I used, what I learned, and what was cool about them.

In the meantime, check out the source code and play with the demo on AppHarbor:

The Boy Scout Rule

One of the software development principles I live by is the "Boy Scout Rule".

The Boy Scouts of America have a simple rule that we can apply to our profession.
Leave the campground cleaner than you found it.
If we all checked-in our code a little cleaner than when we checked it out, the code simply could not rot.

Whenever I dig around in my company's rather large codebase hunting down a bug or perhaps adding a feature, I look for little opportunities to leave the files I touch a little cleaner than I found them. Ancient commented-out sections of code, unused variables, unused methods, and other detritus left behind by the organic change of a codebase are all ripe targets. ReSharper is the poker stick with which I pick up the litter around my campsite.

It's my little way of fighting back against the tendency of a codebase to decay and become noisy over time. And, not to mention, there's just something fun about deleting code. I encourage everyone to experience the joy of deletion.

DHH on Hiring Remote Workers

If we were only trying to hire in Chicago, we’d never have the world-class team we have today.

. . .

Being in the same room occasionally is great, but I would much rather work with A players remotely than B players in the same office, if that's the choice.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

TLC on Software Methodologies

The Microsoft Stack Did Not Kill MySpace, People Did

An article on the High Scalability blog provocatively titled Did The Microsoft Stack Kill MySpace? caused a bit of a flap on Hacker News today.

While perusing the article, I immediately remembered highlighting a certain passage from Peopleware, indisputably one of the great classics of our field. I grabbed my copy off the bookshelf and found the passage on page 5 under the heading The High-Tech Illusion:

The main reason we tend to focus on the technical rather than the human side of the work is not because it's more crucial, but because it's easier to do. … Human interactions are complicated and never very crisp and clean in their effects, but they matter more than any other aspect of the work.

If you find yourself concentrating on the technology rather than the sociology, you're like the vaudeville character who loses his keys on a dark street and looks for them on the adjacent street because, as he explains, "The light is better there."

I know the Internet inside out

…this is apparently what Microsoft was doing to enhance Web search at the same time that Larry Page and Sergey Brin were founding Google.

PowerShell Tip: Pipe to the Windows Clipboard

Through this blog post, I discovered the wonderful clip, which allows you to pipe to the clipboard from PowerShell (or cmd).

The IT department at my company has a weird scheme that they like to use for assigning computer names, so I find myself running a PowerShell command like this several times a week when I need to summon my cryptic computer name:

$Env:COMPUTERNAME | clip