SledgeConf 2022 Videos released 

I’ve uploaded the videos from the 2022 SledgeConf to the youtube channel! Feel free to take a look. This gives you a good idea of how SledgeConf works in practice. 

Planning your Cloud Migration – Jay Manning

Practical Software Estimation – Nicholas Sledgianowski

What is Web3? It’s about owning your user identity.

There is a lot of discussion of Web3 lately. Is it a scam? Is decentralized finance Web3? Will Web3 destroy Web2? In this blog post we will talk about what Web3 is now and what Web3 allows us to build tomorrow. 

What is Web3 now? 

Right now Web3 is a technology paradigm which supports two main types of services Decentralized Finance (Defi) and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). A lot of online discussion about Web3 focuses on whether NFTs are valuable or if Defi is a scam. People want Web3 to be a scam. In my opinion that is the same as looking at pets.com in 2000 and concluding that Web 1.0 was a scam.  

We are just starting to build software using Web3. And it’s going to be awhile before someone creates the Amazon.com of the Web3 era. Right now we have NFTs and Defi. NFTs are an interesting way to sell ownership of digital goods. An NFT is not a JPEG on the blockchain. Strictly speaking an NFT is a unique identifier on the blockchain. Through metadata you can add any rights to that NFT you want to. Is that useful? Are all NFTs worth $60 million? I don’t know, some people think they are valuable. And we will see what products come out of it over the rest of the decade. 

How about Defi then? There are two main Defi products I know about. Yield farming and token swapping. Yield farming is the idea that you give your tokens to a smart contract, and then the smart contract gives you interest in return. In my opinion yield farms are mostly scams. Yield farms are evolving to combine the characteristics of gambling and ponzi schemes. Does anyone really believe they can earn 10% interest per day by investing their money into Drip? I don’t think there is any real product that yield farms produce. Some claim they provide liquidity, but liquidity does not double dumb money every year. 

However, token swapping is a real product. Decentralized exchanges allow you to swap your tokens for any of the myriad cryptocurrencies out there. In seconds, with relatively low fees. That is useful in a world with incredibly large numbers of tokens.

How is Web3 different from Web2? 

Web2 is probably best exemplified by Facebook. You have a Facebook account, using that account you can post on Facebook and Instagram, message your Facebook friends, sell things on the Facebook marketplace, etc. Facebook owns your account data. If you want to rebuild your friend graph on another platform its going to take a ton of effort. And if you don’t follow Facebooks rules they can simply delete your account. In a core way you have created a digital identity using Facebook’s platform which Facebook owns. 

The key difference between Web2 and Web3 is that in Web3 you own your digital identity. Your cryptocurrency wallet is now your digital identity. Specifically, your wallet’s public key is now your digital identity. This is very different from Web2. In Web2 you use other people’s services and your identity lives in those services. You create a Facebook account using your Gmail account. Your root identity is just an entry in somebody else’s database. 

Why does owning your online identity matter? 

First of all getting banned is much less of a concern. You control your online identity via ownership of your private key. If you buy NFTs via opensea.io and subsequently are banned from opensea.io all the NFTs you bought remain your property. In contrast if you bought League of Legends skins and were banned you lose your entire investment. Does it matter if NFTs and League of Legends skins are really valuable? No, but you definitely spent money on them. And you would be pissed if your $300 JPEG was lost.

Web3 is the difference between being a guest on Facebook’s servers and being a citizen of the internet. Being a guest is nice because Facebook takes care of everything. But guests don’t get a say in how they are treated.

It is hard to tell how big of a deal owning your digital identity will be in the future. So far we have Defi and NFTs as examples. Whats good in the Defi and NFT world? My favorite is how user accounts work. You may never have used opensea.io, maybe you bought an NFT from another platform. But you can still log in to their platform. They will ask for your email, but its not required. All they need is for you to prove ownership of your public key and they can populate your account data from the blockchain. Don’t like the UI or the fees? Log out of opensea.io and find another NFT marketplace. All your NFTs will be there too. 

The process of logging in and out of websites is totally different because you own your digital identity. You don’t need to use an email to prove you are a real person. You don’t need a password because you just sign a message with your private key to prove your identity. The biggest losers of Web3 may very well be password managers. 

Conclusion

The interesting part of Web3 is that the users own their digital identities. It will be a paradigm shift in how the internet works with some control moving from software platform providers (Facebook, Google, etc) to the end users. It’s not a scam, you really will be able to control your digital identity. But Web2 is not going anywhere anytime soon. Email isn’t going to stop relying on someone else’s machine. But you might finally be able to encrypt your emails because you know your friends public keys. 

So you’re making an NFT….

Hey, everyone I’m working on an NFT project. Originally, I wanted to get programmer NFTs for the team at Guava Labs. I wanted to do something like Coders waiting for Compilers, but that didn’t have enough pizazz.  Then I was talking to some NFT artists and seeing if we could sell them a website with web3 components to tie into their NFT projects, but none of them were ready to go. So I ended up getting getting an idea and making up a mythos.

Compiler Fighters Club

Synopsis

The compiler fighters are a group of people dedicated to fighting compilers. This band of software developers, engineers, testers and hackers is taking the fight to all enemies of good code. Against them are arrayed the fearsome forces of disorder. The Infinite Bug Army, the Zero Day League, and even the compilers themselves. 

The Compiler Fighter Club is an NFT project exploring the meaning behind ‘fighting the compiler’. We hope to create a fun set of collectible NFTs and identities for all the hackers out there. 

Portraits

I am trying to figure out a way to let people have NFT characters created based on them. The really big NFT projects so far have mostly relied on computer generating 1000s of NFTs. Generated art is neat, but at this point do we need more computer generated projects? Maybe if someone did a ML GAN style NFT run it would be unique. And why 

Characters 

Compiler Fighters

The Compiler Fighters are a group of misfit web developers, software engineers, software testers, sysadmins, hackers, and anyone with the will to fight the compiler. Most Compiler Fighters align with the software engineer or IT stereotype. But as Compiler Fighters are a misfit group in the real world as well as in the NFTs we expect to see body builders, metrosexuals and all kinds of crazy characters. 

Compiler Fighters should be dressed in attire appropriate for professional programers at work. Since dress codes are rare in the industry that means anything from t-shirts and flip flops to suits. Although, few hackers would be caught dead in a suite. 

Compiler Fighters are typically armed with whatever weapons they can salvage from their offices when the forces of disorder attack. This includes nerf guns, pool cues, nerf swords, and anything else hackers are known to carry. Artistic license is encouraged in the armament of Compiler Fighters. 

Infinite Bug Army

The Infinite Bug Army is a force of bugs which seek to sow disorder wherever they can. The Infinite Bug army does not include any humans and some people even question if computer bugs are alive at all. Nonetheless they are fearsome foes. 

I’ll make sure to include an NFT of the original bug, a moth which got trapped in a relay in old school computers. 

Bug Army NFTs can be anything from images of bugs to images of code containing common or meme worthy software bugs. 

Zero Day League

The Zero Day League is a collection of software vulnerabilities, bugs and hacks. Examples include Heartbleed (https://heartbleed.com), ShellShock, StageFright, etc. Thematically they should all probably be actual zero days in the initial launch. Meaning serious bugs that were exploited in the wild before being announced publicly such that there were zero days of warning before people were hacked. 

Compilers of Doom 

The compilers of doom are a force of software compilers which have risen up against the forces of order. They seek to overturn the software universe and end the era of human machine cooperation. 

Compilation errors are one area to explore for Compilers of Doom cards. Anyone with coding experience will recognize compiler errors from different programming languages. 

Whats next?

I’m having a great time with the concept. I’ll keep building out the mythos and some character ideas. Then we will work with some artists to do an initial release. I’m hoping to launch with some thematic NFTs and of course the Guava Labs team NFTs which was the original inspiration.

Seviipay – cryptocurrency payments for everyone

I’m working on a new project. Seviipay is a software as a service project through which I hope to make blockchain integration easy for everyone. It is in free alpha launch right now and you can check it out at www.seviipay.com

Why blockchain integration? And why now?

I first got involved with Ethereum back in 2015 before the network went live. It was a fun toy then and I spent some time getting the test version running on my gaming desktop in college. Then I got bored of it and stopped paying attention until the 2017/18 bubble. The story would have ended there except one of my friends did a NFT project this spring and I decided to buy one of them to support him. That led me to seeing the UI at opensea.io, veefriends.com and other web3 applications. Let me tell you the user experience has come a long way in the last six years.

Web3 applications have serious advantages over the traditional web. Digital identity is a billion dollar business in the traditional web, for web3 everyone has access to identity built in. There are no accounts and no signups in web3. Your ethereum wallet is your account on every web3 site. You don’t need to remember passwords for hundreds of websites, you just use your wallet to verify your identity and you are done. 

Payments in web3 are comparable in ease of use to ApplePay, possibly superior. Your browser wallet has the ability to authorize payments instantly. No need to enter your address and worry that you typed the wrong data in. Additionally, you never need to worry about your credit card number being stolen after you place an order at a random website. Making a payment via the Ethereum network does not leak secret payment information. 

I’m super excited about the potential of web3 to improve identity and payments on the internet. The idea behind Seviipay is to make top level web3 UX easy to access while also providing ways to link actions on the blockchain to the rest of the world. 

You can use Seviipay to setup a payment button on your website. Then get an email when anyone places an order. I’m working on a Zapier integration so that you can get a slack message or automatically add someone to a teachable course when they make a purchase. 

RSS still works and is pretty awesome

Despite it being the age of social media, I get a lot of my content via RSS. I have the mac Reeder app which lets me subscribe to blogs. It is nice because without RSS I will see a blogger on Hacker News or reddit, enjoy their post and then their next post won’t be on the front page so I won’t see it. RSS fixes that because I can read their post and if I enjoy it, subscribe to their RSS feed. 

Most blogging software supports RSS natively. WordPress comes with RSS by default and so does Ghost. I find it pretty easy to use and really enjoy how it lets me control my ‘feed’ without influence from any algorithms or anything. 

Why not just subscribe to the email list? Well, I’ve found that I use my email inbox for different things than my RSS feed. When I’m going through emails, reading a long form email breaks my flow. Whereas when I’m going through my RSS feed I’m planning on reading longer form content.