Automatic self-signed HTTPS for local development

From time to time when doing web development, you need to test something related to HTTPS. In some cases, the application you’re writing already supports HTTPS natively and that’s no problem. But more often (and probably better, in my opinion) is the case when you have another service (be it an AWS ELB or an nginx layer) that will terminate the HTTPS connection for you so your application doesn’t have to know how to speak HTTPS.

In those cases, how can you test functionality that specifically interacts with HTTPS?

Today I will show you autohttps, a thin nginx proxy using Docker and a self signed certificate to automatically create an HTTPS proxy in front of your application.


Audiobooks to Podcasts

I’ve recently started to listen to audiobooks again (The Aeronaut’s Windlass). If you buy books through Audible or some other setup that has their own app, it’s a straight forward enough process. On the other hand, if you have them on CD and want to play them on a mobile device… It’s a little more interesting.

I tried a few different apps that purport to do exactly what I wanted: import an audiobook as a folder full of MP3s and play them, but none that quite meet what I wanted. Since I also listen to a lot of podcasts and have more than one podcast app that I really like (I’ve used and liked both Downcast and Pocket Casts), I decided to see if I couldn’t use one of those as an audiobook player.


Generating YouTube user RSS feeds

On 4 March 2014, YouTube deprecated the v2.0 API for YouTube (source). One of the unfortunate side effects was that RSS feeds for user uploads were included in what was deprecated.

Previously, you could get an RSS feed with a link of the form:{user}/uploads For the longest time, even after the deprecation, those links still worked, but a couple weeks ago, more and more of the video feeds I was subscribed to started redirecting to YouTube Help account. As thrilling as that channel is, it’s not what I’m looking for.

Let’s fix it.


Approximating Pi with Buffon's Needle

I’m a bit late for Pi Day, but Programming Praxis had a neat problem on Friday that I wanted to check out:

Suppose we have a floor made of parallel strips of wood, each the same width, and we drop a needle onto the floor. What is the probability that the needle will lie across a line between two strips?


Generated HTML index

A simple script today to generate an HTML index listing all of the files in a given directory. This has come in handy in the past when Apache has had Options -Indexes set (disabling their automatically generated indexes) and I didn’t have the permissions to override it.