Computer programming at its infancy, from the 1940s onwards, used to be a field dominated by women. As a detail-oriented job with no hard physical labor, requiring collaboration and patience — with an old-fashioned view on gender roles it makes sense. After a gradual switch over decades, today things are very much at the opposite end of the gender spectrum. Along with the automatically heightened pay and prestige such a switch (sadly) tends to bring, the men brought their masculinity into the craft, and it has always fascinated me how that masculinity manifests itself.

It’s not quite locker room talk…


Even in the most AWS native solutions utilizing serverless technologies and cloud-managed “billing by volume” services, there is usually some infrastructure that is still explicitly provisioned and billed hourly such as containerized services, bastion hosts, relational databases on RDS. Combined with test environments that fully mirror a production environment, this can lead to pointlessly running up the AWS bill by having servers on standby even on nights and weekends, when (hopefully) not much development is happening.

I’m in a hurry and want to shut down my infrastructure for the weekend, give me the goods!

Here is a simple solution for…


An article originally published in March 2017, republished due to the original site being lost

Let me tell you a story about one second in the life of a roller derby referee.

The setup: it’s the National Cup finals. It is the start of the last jam. It’s a 6-point game, between two teams that…let’s just say they have a bit of a history. I’m lining up in the middle outside pack referee position. The second we are talking about starts on the initial pass, when the pack approaches the apex between curves 1 and 2.

A jammer gets hit…


Depression is a curious disease. It’s invisible by nature. It often sneaks up on people. Many that have it don’t realize they do, because their condition has worsened so gradually they haven’t noticed it — they think their depressive thoughts are normal even though they are being held down by a mental illness. Often, to get better, this invisibility needs to be dispelled, to be able to separate yourself from the uninvited guest in your mind. Many ways of psychotherapy work by figuring out ways to give it a shape and form, to help bringing it out of the shadows.


DynamoDB is a convenient persistence solution for many use cases built on the AWS ecosystem. It is easy and fast to set up, and if you work by the various data access pattern restrictions, it’s also very performant. Backups are also very easy: you can get snapshot backups with a single mouse click or an SDK call, or you can enable Point in Time Recovery (PITR) which enables you to fall back to any point in time during the last 35 days. But there’s a small catch.

DynamoDB backups are never restored in-place — they are always restored as a…


Tracing, the process of being able to follow a single incoming request and its subsequent effects across multiple services, has been an important topic in system architecture ever since microservices have become a mainstream way of doing things. When the whole consists of small services each focused on handling specific dedicated parts, understanding the event chains behind actions occurring in individual services is critical in areas such as troubleshooting and performance optimization.

With serverless architectures, tracing becomes even more important. Because your building blocks are fundamentally at the function level, each endpoint of an API can be thought of as…


PDFs are a curious remnant of a bygone technological era — in many ways cumbersome to work with and produce, but still widely used partly exactly because of that. Their perceived immutability and interoperability still makes them necessary in many applications.

Producing them with modern tech stacks isn’t always without problems, particularly if you don’t have full control of the runtime environment, along with the low level shared libraries and fonts required, as is the case in an AWS Lambda function and their predefined runtime environments.

Sorry but I’m in a hurry actually and I got PDFs to generate, could…


DynamoDB is an increasingly relevant NoSQL persistence solution for those looking for an easy-to-manage database service in the AWS ecosystem that will scale quite well with little effort. It launched with relatively few features and has steadily added new ones here and there, so even if you have used it for a long time there might be some goodies you have missed. Here are a few of the most important ones to bring you up to speed, along with their CloudFormation templating just to illustrate how easy they are to set up.

On-Demand Pricing

Launched: 2018–11–28

Capacity handling used to be cumbersome…


The NFL has a couple of different penalties for defensive movement before the ball is snapped. Specifically there are three penalties in the same penalty family that all share the same hand signal (hands to hips) and yardage (5yd, no automatic first down): Offsides, Neutral Zone Infraction and Encroachment. Why are there so many? Why are the nuances between them so complicated that even veteran hall of fame quarterback commentators sometimes confuse them? Hopefully after reading this they will make more sense.

False Start

To understand the offsides penalties, you must understand the False Start penalty. A False Start is sudden movement…


Serverless Framework is a fantastic way to bootstrap, develop and deploy your Serverless applications, and comes with great many features out of the box. However due to the nature of Serverless development, there are a million little things you might want to do in your testing, CI or deployment pipeline that it doesn’t quite cover out of the box. That’s why the good folks over at Serverless Framework have made it very easy to extend it by implementing your own plugins.

The Serverless Framework home page has a good article on How To Write Your First Plugin For The Serverless…

Joonas Laitio

Engineer, referee, bassist. Building foundations for others to go crazy on.

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