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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Last month, Amazon’s AWS released DocumentDB, a product with “MongoDB compatibility”. In this post, we will cover the differences between MongoDB’s Atlas product and Amazon’s DocumentDB.


One big difference between Mongo’s Atlas and DocumentDB is Atlas’ free tier. Atlas allows developers to get up and running with a small instance of a hosted DB without first putting a credit card number in. Additionally, the cheapest DocumentDB instance starts at a relatively steep $200/month before adding I/O costs.


One interesting aspect to Mongo’s Atlas is that it can be hosted on any of Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft’s Azure, or Google’s Cloud Platform. This provides some flexibility to companies looking to shop around to different cloud providers. In a world where we’re seeing more companies take a multi-cloud approach, being locked into one provider may be a disadvantage. …

This is kind of an old-school-looking website, but don’t let that turn you off. If you’re planning to travel via train, bus, or boat at any point during your trip this website is a must-visit. I seriously cannot recommend seat61 enough.

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This is how I described to a friend, typos included

Vamo is an awesome new website that literally plans your entire international trip for you. Yup, try it out.

Update (September 2015): Unfortunately Vamo has been shut down. The team was acquired by Airbnb.

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Rome2rio is an amazing resource for planning routes between any two (or three or four) places in the world. Simply input your start and end destinations and Rome2rio will show you all of the different ways you can get between your stops, including flying, driving, carpooling, or taking a bus/train/ferry. …


APIs, or “Application Programming Interfaces”, have revolutionized the way that we use web and mobile applications by allowing computer programs to talk to each other. Because of this revolution, software development and innovation has radically sped-up over the last 10 years, and apps integrate and communicate in fantastically new ways.


We use our laptops and mobile phones every day to communicate with our friends, family, and coworkers. But how do programs communicate with each other?

APIs, or “Application Programming Interfaces,” are the hidden backbone of our modern world which allow software programs to communicate with one another. Although most of us don’t know it, behind the scenes of every app and website we use is a mesh of computers “talking” to each other through a series of APIs. Today, the “API economy” is quickly changing how the world interacts. Everything from photo sharing, to online shopping, to hailing a cab is happening through APIs. Because of APIs, technical innovation is happening at a faster pace than ever. If you already write software, you are probably familiar with APIs. …

And why net neutrality is important

Considering the president’s announcement today, it seemed like a perfect time to publish this post.

This is a literature review I co-wrote with Vansh Jain, Saral Jalan, and Jacob Swanson for a class on effective communication for engineers at USC. It’s long, but goes into great detail about why and how America’s internet infrastructure is lacking. If you’d rather read it in pretty PDF form, you can do that here.

Abstract: America’s internet infrastructure has fallen behind the rest of the world’s. In terms of both speed and cost, broadband internet in the United States is lacking. This paper explores the importance from a social and economic perspective of having a strong internet infrastructure. A review of the technologies that can be utilized to improve the state of broadband in the United States is conducted. The history of our telecommunications networks, in addition to the current regulatory framework has put America in this detrimental position. By analyzing the technologies and methods by which certain countries and municipalities have successfully deployed high-speed broadband internet, we can make recommendations about how the United States can seek to improve its infrastructure going forward.

Note: This post is was originally written for NM3204, an E-Learning course I took while studying abroad at NUS. I adapted it slightly for Medium. Since originally writing this post I’ve also interned at Udacity as a Software Engineer, but my thinking on online courses was shaped before my internship (and, of course, these viewpoints are my own).

After hearing that I had completed 7 online courses, a professor in one of my traditional, in-person courses commented:

Wow — you are one of few people I know to have completed so many MOOC courses — would love to hear more about how you kept to each courses’…


Michael Bock

Software Engineer @Waymo, previously @Google, @YouTube, @Udacity, @EdmundsAPI, @Boeing, @USC

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