Ben: I think we’ve got a problem. Our website is boring AF. Look at ours, then look at Revolut, or Robinhood, or this random app I found.

That’s how my co-founder Ben greeted me one morning, almost 3 weeks ago. I didn’t know how to respond—but I knew he was right.

It was right after we learned that we had been accepted for a Y Combinator interview, so we started planning how to make the most out of the 4 weeks we had left.

The most important thing in the interview is to show that we understand the market and…

One of the challenges we have at Freetrade is running workflows regularly, automatically, and reliably.

These workflows keep the price charts in your app up to date, generate your monthly statements, reconcile transactions and much more, so it’s important that they run on time.

To make sure that happens, our serverless-driven approach led us to Cloud Composer, a hosted and fully managed version of the open-source workflow management platform Airflow. We picked Cloud Composer so that Google could focus on running Airflow, while we focus on building Freetrade!

Side note, to get some acronyms out of the way: Airflow calls…

I initially wrote this comparison for a friend when he asked me for an opinion on React Native vs. real native apps. I figured I might as well publish it, so here it is!

Context: There’s Android and iOS. Both platforms are mature and have established tools, IDEs, languages, practices, and dev communities.

The reasons React Native has gained popularity are:

  1. Developers who already know JavaScript or React can create mobile apps easily. …

tl;dr Switch to a local proxy server (dnscrypt-proxy) using DNSCrypt.

It’s been a dream since my first university year (fall 2016) to use whatever DNS server I wanted, without eduroam’s restrictions. In particular, I wanted to use Google’s DNS (until I found Cloudflare’s DNS), but the solution I found below has an extra benefit — the DNS traffic is encrypted, so no leaking or spoofing.

Cloudflare’s DNS vs others, speed comparison.

The Problem

Just to reiterate, the problem is that eduroam filters all DNS packets except those sent to eduroam’s own DNS. …

tl;dr Won 3rd place at a hackathon with Liber, a product for people to make automatic investments. In 48h we coded a fully working app with real UK bank accounts, deposit & withdrawal, face biometrics, and live Bitcoin price updates.

As President of HackaSoton (hackathon-focused tech & entrepreneurship student society at University of Southampton), I decided that this academic year we should not only organise our own hackathon, but also plan 2 trips to other hackathons in England and mainland Europe.

So we asked, people voted, posts were shared on Facebook, train tickets bought, and that’s how we all ended…

Yesterday I participated in UKIEPC (a subregional contest to select teams that should go to ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest) with my team of 3 hackers. Our code names were Elliot, Angela, and Mr Robot; and the team name—you guessed it— was `fsociety`.

We weren’t allowed to use internet or any digital devices so I printed ~90 pages of “cheatsheets” about Java, C++, algorithms, maths, and competitive programming in general. My teammates brought 2 heavy books on algorithmics.

And the key points are:

  • It was more fun that I expected — The problems were neither boring nor overwhelming, but challenging.

While working on our newest app, we knew we had to make it one-of-a-kind. There are tons of similar apps, but we want to be different. Better. So we’re focusing not only on UI and UX, but also on your privacy.

Data, data, data…

You know already… everybody wants your data. Well, not us. No. We’re building a product that puts you first. Less like Facebook, and more like Things.

Here’s how we’re handling this:

  • All your data stays with you. You don’t need to create an account with us. We don’t know your name. …

I’m working on my second coursework for the COMP2209 Programming 3 module at University of Southampton, which is all about functional programming principles and Haskell. For this assignment we’re given 5 standalone exercises related to Lambda Calculus and Combinatory Logic; I assume this is the base onto which we’ll be writing our own programming language in the second semester.

Having promised a friend that next time I work on an assignment I’ll use TDD, I had to live up to it, so I spent some time getting my workflow right. …

Back in September, Vlad and I attended MallorcaJS. Vlad spoke about the future of interaction—Conversation Interfaces—while I talked about the technical bits of building a chat bot. There was also a talk from Logitravel/Bluekiri, from our dear friend Iñaki.

Here are the slides for my presentation:

Needless to say, on the day of the presentation we were as excited as our friend Iñaki :)

Thanks MallorcaJS and Logitravel for the opportunity!

Alexandru Rosianu

Co-founder & CTO @

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