Reading List May 24

tags: reading_list, clojure, privacy, security, data

May 24, 2020

Three new links for this week.

Why is this Website Port Scanning me?

A revealing article that shows how web apps inside the browser can scan for open ports on your local machine. This information can be used to find vulnerable points in your system and to get an idea of what applications you are running. There are a few ways to restrict this intrusion. You can install extensions that block requests to your machine, also known as localhost. Or you can run your browser inside of a behind a wall or sandbox.

Ring Introduction

Shows a modern stack for writing a web app using Clojure. It focuses on the backend by including libraries for your HTTP server and HTML rendering. It is a neat and valuable read for anyone starting out with Clojure. The code examples show what your software might end up looking like. The choices made are useful for giving us a list of libraries that already can mingle and work together out of the box!

I want to own the database that my apps use

A common problem that you or I may not spend much time thinking about is that we don’t have access to our data! What do I mean? Well think about your fitness tracker or your maps application. These have data such as how many steps I took, where I walked, and where I drive, what my driving patterns are, how much time I spend stuck in slow traffic. This information is valuable to us because we can make decisions by analyzing it. The article goes over the sad reality that we can’t actually access much of this information. There are a few projects that are working to solve this problem. But it’s also difficult to incentivize the developers to give us access to the data. It is more work for them, and may also be bad for their business if you can take your data and jump to a competitor.

Hopefully these are interesting to you!

You reach out to me at if you found these interesting, have some suggestions for future lists, or even want to discuss these ideas further.

Written by Rafi Khan who lives and works in Ottawa, building useful things and exploring everything the universe has to offer.