New Releases and This Thing Called a Digital Nomad

Hi everyone 👋

How are you doing?

Part One: Let’s get you up-to-date.

If you’ve been following our activity on our Discord server you’ll know life has been busy.

Last week, we released RocketMap 4.1.0 (click here for full changelog), which included 4 policy updates, 2 breaking changes, 4 new features, 13 enhancements, 6 bugfixes and 3 documentation updates. It was a smooth release and brought some good stuff to RocketMap (especially –dump, which auto-uploads environment information to hastebin.com, for the heroes in our #help chat). We’re happy that all of you were happy!

Our activity is going great, even more than a year later.

RocketMap Visitors 26/09 - 09/10

We also had some fun with a fan art contest for our resident cow member of the community (“BishCow”, the bish cow). Everyone could submit their own fan art with “BishCow” as primary subject for a chance to win a copy of the Humble THQ Nordic PlayStation Bundle. One of our regulars, “Kartul”, won the contest with the following entry, hand-made by adding hundreds of Miltank (Pokémon) images on Google Maps.

A gallery of all entries is available right here!

Kartully wins!

Things aren’t always super happy and positive, this time as we decided to disclose that GoMan, a paid service that was being used by some of our users was intentionally breaking their customers’ security and privacy by downgrading HTTPS requests to HTTP to read/modify their clients’ requests.

GoMan proxies announcement

There was some backlash against the disclosure by some of the service’s users, but the positive support was overwhelming. We’d do it again in a heartbeat, it was the right decision. No ragrets.

Part Two: New & future release.

Since we’re not just a community of BishCow fan artists 😏, we did get more work done! Ha! A moment of complete surprise, I bet you’re staring at your computer screen in unreserved amazement.

🥁 … drum rolls … 🥁

(New) Release One: The Sublimely Magnificent Node.js RM Webserver Mark III.

I’ll admit, the name doesn’t really get across how awesome it is, but I couldn’t come up with a better one.

As with the Sublimely Magnificent Jecht Shot Mark III, there is no revision two, sorry!

The new version is immediately available on the private Gitlab for all “Grapefruit”-rank users on the devkat Patreon.

Compared with the previous version, which was based on Express.js + Sequelize, the new one:

  • uses restify instead of Express.js for a REST API-focused structure
  • comes with more advanced/configurable logging
  • supports HTTPS (yay security!)
  • has built-in dtrace support
  • now has built-in request throttling (default 5 req./s rate, 10 req./s burst)
  • removed Sequelize ORM in favor of the more “raw” approach with node-mysql, improving query performance by removing overhead

The Sublimely Magnificent Node.js RM Webserver Mark III is more efficient than its previous version and has a much better load profile and scaling thanks to the combination of old implementations (e.g. load limiter) with the new (request throttling).

If you’re not sure what the difference between those two is: a load limiter rejects requests when the overall server load is too high: accepting new requests queues more work while server load goes over its limit, leading to permanently delayed responses until the server crashes. Request throttling is a hard limit on the number of requests per second per IP which limits the maximum effect on server load per visitor.

Five Point Plant

source: http://ivanwlam.com

(Future) Release Two: RaidAPI.

We’ve been wanting to do something more for the Pokémon Go community as a whole rather than only improving the technical aspects of devkat and RocketMap, so we’ve decided to work on a RaidAPI.

In short, the RaidAPI is a plug-and-play community raid organization tool.

Similar to Google Analytics (or jQuery), you plug our JavaScript library into your website and you get access to all of its features. Sign up to join a raid at a specific time, sign out of a raid, get information about raid signups, …

After including the library, every website can call the internal methods directly via JavaScript, even websites that aren’t hosting RocketMap’s front-end. We wanted to be as inclusive as possible.

The RaidAPI library also includes pre-built user interfaces for all actions (sign up to a raid, see a raid’s status or signups, …), served via automatically sized modals to easily support all platforms and devices, even for non-RocketMap websites.

Best of all: this is entirely optional. All internal methods are publicly accessible and can be plugged into any website or user interface.

The RaidAPI will be fully implemented in all RocketMap websites, with an opt-in option. To put everyone’s mind at easy, rest assured we don’t store any of your server’s data (e.g. gyms or raids): we only store the required data to match a user to his/her signup.

Oh, and the data isn’t limited per website!

The RaidAPI is built to work across websites: to share data, and make raid participation global, bringing a more accessible real life community to everyone around the world, on all websites in near real-time.

It’s also entirely free, for everyone!

We’re working on some experiments such as a small banner advertisement at the bottom of our own interface which makes the whole platform self-sustainable so the platform can stay free for everyone, regardless of the amount of visitors. This is still in a very early testing phase, so all options are open.

Online Communities

source: https://xkcd.com/256/

Last Part: This Thing Called a Digital Nomad.

This part is something I haven’t told a lot of people yet.

Starting next Wednesday (two days from now), I’m starting my journey and leaving my home country (Belgium) permanently.

Yup, it’s finally happening.

There are a lot of things that led me to this point, and even more things that fuel me today, but in order not to bore you to death with a wall of text, I’ll keep it short.

Let’s compare it to what the internet calls “a digital nomad”.

The idea that someone travels from country to country, staying for an undetermined amount of time to learn and live the local culture and finding exactly those things/experiences that you can’t predict beforehand.

Previously, I’ve met some great friends who I’ve learned a whole lot from, and who are still supporting me. I’ve learned from those experiences and today, I want to be open-minded enough to meet peoples from all across the world. I hope to rely on the support they give me to take steps towards a new and exciting future.

I want to learn about the things that I can’t see from my (safe) comfort zone behind my computer at home. To see what I haven’t seen and to be who I haven’t been. To experience who I can be when I let myself.

Regardless of what happens or what I learn, I know that I’ll be happy to be able to look back on everything and say I did my best.

Calvin and Hobbes: Big Sunny Field

source: Calvin & Hobbes

The past months I’ve done a lot of preparation work to make this possible, especially in my freelancing work and by working on my own projects.

I don’t want this to sound too much like a “goodbye” article, so let’s look at the future. When possible, I’m going to share those future moments with you. Whether you’ve been here for a long time or you’re new, I’ll really hope you’ll stick around.

By doing my best, I hope to encourage some of you to take important (yet hard) steps in your own life that might be holding you back. And if you have your own stories to tell, I hope you’ll share them with me as well via the comments on this article, via email or even via Twitter (@SebVercammen).

The first stops are: Sofia, Bulgaria (next Wednesday, 18/10), followed by Reykjavík, Iceland, and Vienna, Austria. These places will take up the next few months, and we’ll decide on new areas as time goes on – I want to be able to stay long enough to have experienced the local life.

I don’t know what the future will bring, but I’m excited.

As always, devkat and RocketMap will continue to be maintained and updated.

source: GIF Keyboard

Charity Fundraising: The Ocean Cleanup

Current charity donations: € 1553

End date: June 30th. Donate here.

I want to talk about something important to me.

Before I can get to my main point, I would like to share some background with you.

For too many years, my life was focused (almost exclusively) on technology. Learning to code, spending hours upon hours online each day. Exploring, learning, feeding the never-ending hunger for more information because of my excitement when I first discovered some people in an online chat who happened to be writing code. They had the ability to think of something and then actually build it. I thought it was amazing, and it absorbed me.

Problem: when you do something too much, it’s too much.

And for a long time, I forgot how to do everything else. I forgot how to human.

Computer Problems

source: https://xkcd.com/722/

Until recently.

As you might know, I freelance as a full stack developer (and software engineering), I build my own projects (startups) and I try to learn new technologies as often as I can. I try not to stand still. You would think that these things are relevant, or that they would somehow explain why/how things changed for me, but the truth is they’re not – and they don’t. But as I’ve come to notice, the most significant changes in my life have been due to the most absurd or unimaginable things possible.

However, I can describe the things that I do, the things that I focus on, and hope that it helps to explain who I was (or am) as a person when these things happen(ed). It’s the best I can do.

I can’t remember where I’ve first read this quote, but life is what happens while you are busy making other plans(According to Wikipedia, it was Allen Saunders.)

And so I was confronted with how to human.

I met some people who are nothing like me.

I’m going to try to explain who they are – or at least the effect they’ve had on me – as best as I can, but written text isn’t the best at conveying emotion, so for the next part I hope you try to imagine it as if it would be happening to you. I hope you can open up.

They aren’t involved as much in technology, they aren’t focused on building commercial projects, we don’t work in the same fields and we’re not even from the same country. They just happen to be exchange students and they’re working to get their Master’s degree in human ecology. And I somehow just happened to meet them.

Even though I was an absolute stranger to them, they chose not to be a stranger to me. They chose to be the most honest, open, selfless and supportive people I’ve ever met or seen, more than I’ve ever seen anyone even try to be. If you would ask me, I would not be able to come up with any reason for why I would have “deserved” it or for why it ultimately happened. It just did.

Change, especially significant personal change, can be scary and overwhelming… and it was. It was so overwhelming that it hit me like a truck. It was so much, so fast.

But they didn’t mind, and they always stayed themselves.

I thought I was doing pretty well, taking care of myself. But meeting them made it clear to me that I was forgetting something important. I wasn’t standing still to seriously think about everything and everyone else. I was (unintentionally) selfish because of my inaction.

Everything

source: https://xkcd.com/968/

They taught me a lot. In so little time, they changed me.

One of the things they reminded me of, is that we should remember to care for each other more. We shouldn’t just close our eyes and act as if we don’t notice. We shouldn’t say we don’t care, just because it’s not happening to us personally. We shouldn’t distract ourselves with trivial things so we don’t have to look at the hard stuff.

Today I want to give back to them. They are the reason I’m sharing all this with you, and I’m hoping that we can make something greater together.

I want to show them that their efforts are worth something, and that everyone can change the world in their own way if they truly want to.

The birthday of one of them happens to be next Monday the 12th and I want to give this as a gift. The gift of letting them know they’re making real change, that they’re bringing positive change to a lot of lives. The gift of significant change and real impact.

And I need your help to do it.

I’m hosting a charity fundraiser for The Ocean Cleanup.

I want to give something back that helps people improve our world, to help build a better future.

In short, The Ocean Cleanup develops advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. There are over 5 trillion pieces of plastic currently littering the ocean. Ocean currents concentrate plastic in five areas in the world: the subtropical gyres, also known as the world’s “ocean garbage patches”. Once in these patches, the plastic will not go away by itself.

Ocean garbage patches

source: https://www.theoceancleanup.com/

Since 2013, The Ocean Cleanup has improved its original design and plans and has gathered over 31.5 million USD in donations.

Some past milestones (read more here):

On May 11th, they unveiled the results of two years of work: an improvement to their design that will enable them to start extracting plastic within the next 12 months. With the first deployment in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the first half of 2018, they will start cleaning up two years ahead of schedule.

The Ocean Cleanup solves an important problem on a massive scale by intelligently using their technology. It’s a solution to a real problem that can be used in a matter of months.

From today on, we’re hosting a public fundraiser to gather as many donations as we can within this month (until the 30th).

To help The Ocean Cleanup, you can donate via this link: fundraiser has ended.

(We chose to use Paypal because other payment processors, including GoFundMe, take 4%+ of all donations.)

To start, I’ve donated € 350 myself and I’m adding more in a few days. This month, I will also give away 100% of contributions that I usually receive via Patreon.

Every day, I’ll update the total amount of raised donations at the top of this article.

I just hope that you’ll consider joining us in donating. Together, we can do more than when we are alone.

Please consider sharing the article (at the top of this article are some buttons!).

 

To anyone who has helped, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. ♥