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sqlite-utils: a nice way to import data into SQLite for analysis

Hello! This is a quick post about a nice tool I found recently called sqlite-utils, from the tools category. Recently I wanted to do some basic data analysis using data from my Shopify store. So I figured I’d query the Shopify API and import my data into SQLite, and then I could make queries to get the graphs I want. But this seemed like a lot...

Pages that didn't make it into "How DNS Works"

Hello! A couple weeks ago I released a new zine called How DNS Works. When I started writing that zine (in, uh, January 2021), I originally had in mind a broader zine on “everything you need to know to own a domain”. So it had a bunch of pages on domain registration, TLS, and email. At the time I thought “I can just explain DNS in like 5 pages,...

New zine: How DNS Works!

Hello! On Thursday we released a new zine about one of my favourite computer systems: DNS! You can get it for $12 here: https://wizardzines.com/zines/dns, or get an 11-pack of all my zines here. Here’s the cover and table of contents: why DNS? I wanted to write about DNS for three reasons: DNS is everywhere! You basically...

A list of new(ish) command line tools

Hello! Today I asked on twitter about newer command line tools, like ripgrep and fd and fzf and exa and bat. I got a bunch of replies with tools I hadn’t heard of, so I thought I’d make a list here. A lot of people also pointed at the modern-unix list. replacements for standard tools ripgrep, ag, ack (grep) exa, lsd (ls) mosh (ssh) bat...

Implementing a toy version of TLS 1.3

Hello! Recently I’ve been thinking about how I find it fun to learn computer networking by implementing working versions of real network protocols. And it made me wonder – I’ve implemented toy versions of traceroute, TCP and DNS. What about TLS? Could I implement a toy version of that to learn more about how it works? I asked on Twitter if...

Celebrate tiny learning milestones

Hello! Today I want to talk about – how do you know you’re getting better at programming? One obvious approach is: make goals periodically check if you achieved those goals if you did, celebrate I kind of hate goals Goals can be useful, but a lot of the time I actually find them stressful and not that helpful. For example, here are...

How to use undocumented web APIs

Hello! A couple of days I wrote about tiny personal programs, and I mentioned that it can be fun to use “secret” undocumented APIs where you need to copy your cookies out of the browser to get access to them. A couple of people asked how to do this, so I wanted to explain how because it’s pretty straightforward. We’ll also talk a tiny bit about...

Some tiny personal programs I've written

I was talking to a friend last summer about what resources might be helpful for folks learning to program. My friend said they thought some people might benefit from a list of small and fun programming projects – the kind of thing you can do in an evening or weekend. So let’s talk about that! I like to write small programs that have some marginal...

Some things about getaddrinfo that surprised me

Hello! Here are some things you may or may not have noticed about DNS: when you resolve a DNS name in a Python program, it checks /etc/hosts, but when you use dig, it doesn’t. switching Linux distributions can sometimes change how your DNS works, for example if you use Alpine Linux instead of Ubuntu it can cause problems. Mac OS has DNS caching,...

Programming things that have gotten easier

Hello! I was talking to some friends the other day about the types of conference talks we enjoyed. One category we came up with was “you know this thing that used to be super hard? Turns out now it’s WAY EASIER and maybe you can do it now!“. So I asked on Twitter about programming things that used to be hard and are now easy Here are some...

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