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A podcast from the team at Heroku, exploring code, technology, tools, tips, and the life of the developer.

Code[ish] Heroku

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A podcast from the team at Heroku, exploring code, technology, tools, tips, and the life of the developer.

    Special Episode: Celebrating our Pride

    Special Episode: Celebrating our Pride

    Erin Allard is a Platform Support Engineer at Heroku, and she's leading a conversation with Jace Bryan (who works on the Customer Centric Engineering team at Salesforce.org), Eric Routen (a family medicine resident in the New York area), and Bryan Vanderhoof (a manager on Heroku's runtime team). Each of these individuals come from different backgrounds, but they are united together in the larger LGBTQ community. After they came out, they sought ways to support other LGBTQ individuals who were not given the same opportunities as they were. Bryan focuses on helping homeless individuals, many of whom are children kicked out of their homes for being queer; Eric helps LGBTQ youth with job preparedness and substance abuse disorders; Jace shares their story of homelessness to college degree as a means of inspiring others to never give up.


    With respect to intersectionality, each of the speakers identifies that they are but a sliver of the communities they represent. It's important for them to acknowledge their own privileges, while at the same team being an ally for voices not at the table. Everyone goes through challenging experiences, but it's important to continue to show empathy towards others who need help too. One way to do that is to continue to volunteer, or at least, reach out to communities, and learn for yourself what problems they have. Uplifting those who don't look like or feel like you is one of the aims of Pride Month.


    Links


    HRC's Glossary of Terms helps you understand LGBTQ terminology
    The Night Ministry is an organization devoted to mitigating the suffering of homeless people in Chicago
    Ali Forney Center is an organization that helps people with job preparedness
    WeAreAmplify.org focuses on advancing empowerment through education and community for underrepresented individuals
    Power Of Us Hub is an online community for Salesforce.org customers, certified partners, and staff
    Salesforce Pride 2020 provides items for purchase, with all proceeds donated to four different non-profit organizations around the globe

    74. How Dev.to Built a Community

    74. How Dev.to Built a Community

    Ben Halpern and Jess Lee are the co-founders of Dev.to, an online community dedicating to helping the developer community communicate. They've been described as a social network for software developers, where anyone from novices to experts can create a blog post to share their ideas. They worked on the site for a long time as a side project, and after they launched, the unexpected and overwhelmingly positive responded they received encouraged them to turn it into their full-time job.


    Part of what makes Dev.to so appealing is that it's been designed to be fast. The site is designed to take advantage of caching at POP centers, so that individuals around the world can access the content as quickly as possible. Since the project is also open sourced, they've been able to receive contributions from over 500 individuals, ensuring that no bug goes unseen.


    Dev.to also considers community health to not just be essential to the business, but also a value woven into the company and the product. Their focus on education and strong moderation tooling has helped them build trust in their users. Users feel safe when the site actively minimizes aggressive language. The future of Dev.to is shaped by the feedback they receive, but in many instances, they allow the community to thrive without too much administrative interference.


    Links from this episode


    Dev.to is a community of software developers getting together to help one another out.
    CodeNewbie is a supportive, international community of people learning to code.
    DevDiscuss is a podcast from CodeNewbie that shares stories from people on their coding journey.
    CodeLand Conf is a community-first remote conference.

    Special Episode: When Giving Back Saves 1000s of Jobs

    Special Episode: When Giving Back Saves 1000s of Jobs

    Greg Nokes is a Master Technical Architect at Salesforce. His focus for this interview is on two members from MX Technologies, a fintech startup that helps financial institutions: Garrett Thornburg, an engineering team lead, and Brett Allred, its CPO. A consequence of COVID has been an increase in unemployment. In response to this, the U.S. Government came out with a paycheck protection program, or PPP, to lend money to small businesses to pay their staff. The program turned out to be incredibly popular, as banks and credit unions were inundated with applications to apply for these PPP funds. Many of these loans were processed by hand, and banks turned to MX Technologies to help process these faster.


    The technical challenges were daunting, and due to the urgency of the situation, the team at MX Technologies worked on a solution over three days to try and get an app out there. Choosing Heroku as a basis for the tech stack was not a difficult decision. They were able to code something up using Rails, and an automatically scalable Redis and database system. The only concern was that because they were working with financial data, they needed to ensure that whatever system they used met rigorous security guidelines. Naturally, Heroku did, and it even passed third-party penetration tests, instilling confidence in their use by the government.


    The MX team decided to open source their app and the Terraform scripts used to generate it because they want to make sure everyone is able to benefit from this essential program. Through their efforts, they've been able to help distribute $5 billion dollars, helping to save thousands of jobs and businesses.


    Links from this episode


    MX Technologies helps banks and customers manage their finances
    The open-sourced SBA Load Processing Portal powered by MX.
    The U.S. Small Business Administration is responsible for distributing loans

    73. The Blockchain, Beyond Cryptocurrency

    73. The Blockchain, Beyond Cryptocurrency

    Owen Ou is an engineer at Heroku, and he is joined by two employees from AE Studio: Melanie Plaza, the Head of Technology, and Adam Hanna, an engineer. The conversation begins with a discussion of the tools used when developing with the blockchain in mind, including testing environments that mimic production systems like Ethereum. Developers in the blockchain community are constantly trying to lower the barriers to entry, and both Adam and Melanie agree that it's very easy to get started with the available tooling.


    The three take a step back from this and start talking about the origins of the blockchain and Bitcoin in particular, how it came about from a need for a decentralized system of privacy. The ultimate goal of the blockchain is to provide a repeatable and verifiable chain of anonymized information that cannot be tampered with. Each block in the blockchain is a cryptographic hash of all the data that came before it. Adam talks about how "mining" works--the incentives for people to provide computational resources to help verify the blockchain. Since all of this information is decentralized, no one can control or manipulate the history of the hashes.


    While cryptocurrencies have been used for nefarious activities in the past, Melanie is optimistic for its current and potential uses. Filecoin, for example, is a distributed file storage network on the blockchain. Residents of countries with draconian censorship laws rely on Ethereum to communicate safely with each other. Adam believes that a potential "second Internet" could arise for social conversations that's separate from the transactional, ad-driven one we currently use.


    Links from this episode


    AE Studio builds technology products that increase human agency
    Truffle allows you to spin up a development environment to compile and test your smart contracts on as if they were on the Ethereum network
    MetaMask is a browser extension which allows you to interact with your smart contracts and the Ethereum blockchain
    Merkle trees are the basis for the blockchain
    Overcoming Byzantine fault tolerance is one advantage of the blockchain
    Filecoin is an application of the blockchain for file storage

    72. Designing with Lynn Fisher

    72. Designing with Lynn Fisher

    Charlie Gleason, a designer and developer at Heroku, is joined by Lynn Fisher, a designer, CSS developer, and a software and design consultancy at &yet. Lynn went to school for Fine Arts, majoring in inter-media art. She found her unique perspective on art and design gave her a leg up in working with HTML and CSS projects in the mid-2000s, and from there, moved into working in frontend development.


    Her personal work has explored the creative possibilities of web design. A Single Div shows the incredible possibilities when drawing with a single div and CSS. The Food Place (from The Good Place), Top Chef Stats, and Dress David Rose (from Schitt's Creek) explore pop cultures through through minimal illustrations, and emphasize the flexibility of pure web development. US Flags [dot] Design is an exhaustive design guide to the flags of the United States, while Airport Codes demystifies the IATA three-letter airport code. Their discussion probes these projects, and how Lynn balances her work responsibilities with her creative (and time-consuming) artwork.


    Links from this episode


    A Single Div, a compilation of CSS drawing experiments
    Dress David Rose, which features illustrations of every shirt, sweater, and jacket David Rose wears on Schitt's Creek
    Lynn's portfolio refreshes, since 2007
    The Food Place, which includes all the food, drink, and restaurants you remember from the television show “The Good Place”
    Airport Codes, which helps you to make sense of those three-letter airport codes
    US Flags [dot] Design, a design guide for the flags of the United States
    WhyAZ, a microsite of reasons it's awesome to live and work in Arizona
    Top Chef Stats, an exhaustive compilation of stats and facts across many seasons of Top Chef
    Hollywood Age Gap, which shows the age difference in years between movie love interests.
    Jen Simmons and Rachel Andrew provide guidance on using CSS Grid
    Heroku Hanafuda cards collaboration, and the award in Japan

    Special Episode: Celebrating Technology, Asian Heritage, and Our Communities

    Special Episode: Celebrating Technology, Asian Heritage, and Our Communities

    Brian Chan and Vikram Sreedhar are Asian Americans and Anna Chan is British born Chinese and they are all working in various roles across Salesforce. Each of them grew up in different parts of the world and with varying interest in a career in tech. They discuss their journeys into a STEM career and ultimately how they ended up at Salesforce.


    One of the consequences of the COVID-19 situation has been an increase in the amount of racism aimed at members of various Asian communities. Because of these, each of the speakers has felt an increased responsibility in helping members of their community and others around them. This takes the form of donation, volunteering, or even just educating people on why their behavior could be interpreted as being hostile. What drives them in this work is the goal of raising awareness for these problems and helping improve the diversity for future generations entering tech.


    They conclude with some words of encouragement for people who want to start helping people in their community, whether they come from an Asian background or not. They also provide advice for those coming into tech on how to prepare themselves for success.


    Links from this episode


    FIRST Robotic inspires young people to be STEM leaders innovators by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build technology skills
    Phenomenal Woman brings awareness to social causes
    Salesforce has a variety of equality groups of which Asiapacforce is just one.

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