Microsoft Predicts 2016

Microsofts predictions for 2016. Worth a read. Lots about machine learning, big-data and encryption. All very optimistic including one guy (Lucas Joppa) who expects the human race to wake up to technology being the saviour to our impending doom. Unfortunately I fear the human race is all too desperate for a saviour – real or imagined – and that desperation can lead to a belief in false gods little better than the devil we know today. But still, there’s a huge amount that can be done to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of technology in general and so vast room for improvement. Lets hope Mr Joppa is right…

… oh, and yes, environmental impact is a non-functional characteristic.

Women in IT

If you ever wondered why there aren’t enough women working in IT, the problem appears to stem from earlier in life. The data below from ONS shows the greatest discrepancy between men and women is in Engineering & Technology and Computer Science (this from 2010 so could probably do with an update!). And whilst it isn’t mandatory to have an academic background in IT I personally prefer it when I’m scanning CVs.

Screen Shot 2015-12-19 at 10.17.42

Let’s remember that Ada Lovelace is generally regarded as the first computer programmer and was – shock! – a WOMAN!!! So, a few links to help get your daughters into IT:

Letsencrypt on Openshift

If you really wanted to know you’d have found it but for what it’s worth, this site now runs on Redhats OpenShift platform. For a while I’ve been thinking I should get an SSL cert for the site. Not because of any security concern but because Google and the like rank sites higher up if they are https and; well, this is and security is a kind of ‘thing’ if you know what I mean. But certs cost £’s (or $’s or €’s or whatever’s). Not real pricey, but still I can think of other things to spend £50 on.

But hello!, along comes A service allowing you to create SSL certs for free! Now in public beta. Whoo hooo!

It isn’t particularly pretty at the moment and certs only last 90 days but it seems to work ok. For Openshifts WordPress gear you can’t really do much customization (and probably don’t want to) so installing letsencrypt on that looks messier than I’d like. Fortunately you can create a cert offline with letsencrypt and upload it to wordpress. Steps in a nutshell:

  1. Install letsencrypt locally. Use a Linux server or VM preferably.
  2. Request a new manual cert.
  3. Upload the specified file to your site.
  4. Complete cert request.
  5. Upload certificate to openshift.


  1. Install letsencrypt:
    1. git clone
    2. cd letsencrypt
  2. Request a new manual cert:
    1. ./letsencrypt-auto --agree-dev-preview -d <your-full-site-name> --server -a manual auth -v --debug
  3. This command will pause to allow you to create a file and upload it to your website. The file needs to be placed in the /.well-known/acme-challenge folder and has a nice random/cryptic base-64 encoded name (and what appears to be a JWT token as contents). This is provided on screen and mine was called something like KfMsKDV_keq4qa5gkjmOsMaeKN4d1C8zB3W8CnwYaUI with the contents something like KfMsKDV_keq4qa5gkjmOsMaeKN4d1C8zB3W8CnwYaUI.6Ga6-vVZqcFb83jWx7pprzJuL09TQxU2bwgclQFe39w (except that’s not the real one…). To upload this to an openshift wordpress gear site:
    1. SSH to the container. The address can be found on the application page on Openshift.Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 21.45.38
    2. Make a .well-known/acme-challenge folder in the webroot which can be done on the wordpress gear after SSHing via.
      1. cd app-root/data/current
      2. mkdir .well-known
      3. mkdir .well-known/acme-challenge
      4. cd .well-known/acme-challenge
    3. Create the file with the required name/content in this location (e.g. see vi).
      1. vi KfMsKDV_keq4qa5gkjmOsMaeKN4d1C8zB3W8CnwYaUI
    4. Once uploaded and you’re happy to contine, press ENTER back on the letsencrypt command as requested. Assuming this completes and manages to download the file you just created you’ll get a response that all is well and the certificates and key will have been created.Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 21.48.09
    5. To upload these certs to your site (from /etc/letsencrypt/live/<your-site-name/ locally), go to the Openshift console > Applications > <your-app> > Aliases and click edit. This will allow you to upload the cert, chain and private key files as below. Note that no passphrase is required.Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 13.36.59You need to use fullchain.pem as the SSL cert on and leave the cert chain blank. If you don’t do this then some browsers will work but other such as Firefox will complain bitterly…
    6. Save this and after a few mins you’ll be done.

Once done, you can access the site via a secure HTTPS connection you should see a nice secure icon showing that the site is now protected with a valid cert 🙂

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 22.00.33

Details of supported browsers are on their website..

Good luck!