Roundup: Bugs as features, product/project roadmaps, No Man's Sky, blockchain before it was cool
Aug. 31, 2018
Bugs as a security feature - Murray S
Security holes in a piece of software are more often than not caused by an attacker exploiting some bug that causes the system to behave in exciting and unexpected ways. The attacker then leverages this behaviour all the way up to getting root access via memory corruption or whatever, and then you've lost your server to some nefarious black hat hacker. A lot of security focus obviously goes on how to reduce bugs in your software. This academic paper instead suggests adding lots and lots of on purpose bugs that are not exploitable to act as "chaff". The theory being that increasing the bug count of your software means it takes the attacker longer and longer to probe for exploitable bugs as they waste time attempting to exploit your "chaff" bugs, which are, by design, not exploitable. Of course, these chaff bugs are added by software so you've got to hope that there's no bugs in that software meaning the bugs you're adding that you think aren't exploitable actually are exploitable.
Useful Product/Project Roadmaps - Matt T
When working on projects of scale, stakeholders often request a roadmap so that they can understand how the service will develop and where it will go in the future.
All too often, what people actually want is an absolute list of what will be developed next and when, shown as a timeline.
Despite assurances that dates won't be taken as definitive milestones, invariably as soon as it's in black and white, that's exactly what happens.
When you're delivering an agile project, particularly for a new product or service, change is an integral (and essential) part of the journey. You cannot say in a year's time exactly what you will have delivered.
This article presents an excellent model to use for generating and visualising a product roadmap, encapsulating possible scope, rough timescales and a clever work in progress limits (simulating team throughput).
I'll be using it on a project I'm working on in the coming weeks.
The Beauty of No Man's Sky - James C
I've recently got into a game called No Man's Sky since they released their latest update titled NEXT. It is a procedurally generated universe, and if you were to visit every planet in this universe for 1 second and you could somehow magically transport yourself to the next planet, it would take you 580 BILLION years to explore the entire game. The link I've included is to a screenshot posted on Reddit. This screenshot was taken using the in-game camera mode, which allows you to float freely in the game world, alter camera settings and apply filters to any screenshot you take. Yes, the screenshot you see is an in-game screenshot. So far, some of the in-game screenshots posted by players around the world have been incredible and they showcase what an amazing game this has become.
Blockchain before it was cool in the NYT - Elena T
Satoshi Nakamoto was inspired to write the whitepaper on blockchain by a timestamping service system. This was created by Haber and Stornetta. It was called Surety and it provided a cryptographic seal for a document by producing a hash of that document.
However, instead of publishing the hash to a public digital ledger, it would be published in the New York Times.
Track of the Week - Henry T
I don't know what it's about 🤷